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One of the most outstanding books ever written on philosophy. It touches the questions of God and the human soul logically and seeks truth in science. This literary piece of art is written with a distinct and carefully chosen voice of narrator which leads the reader through the meditation. Magnificent and incredible!
Descartes' ideas not only changed the course of Western philosophy but also led to or transformed the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, physics and mathematics, political theory and ethics, psychoanalysis, and literature and the arts. This book reprints Descartes' major works, Discourse on Method and Meditations, and presents essays by leading scholars that explore his contributions in each of those fields and place his ideas in the context of his time and our own. There are chapters by David Weissman on metaphysics and psychoanalysis, John Post on epistemology, Lou Massa on physics and mathematics, William T. Bluhm on politics and ethics, and Thomas Pavel on literature and art. These essays are accompanied by others by David Weissman and by Stephen Toulmin that introduce the idea of intellectual lineages, discuss the period in which Descartes wrote, and reexamine the premises of his philosophy in light of contemporary philosophical, political, and social thinking.
Of all the works of the man claimed by many as the father of modern philosophy, the MEDITATIONS, first published in 1641, must surely be Rene Descartes' masterpiece. This volume consists of not only a new translation of the original Latin text and the expanded objections and replies, but also includes selected correspondence and other metaphysical writings from the period 1641-49.
Meditations I and II are part and parcel to Ren� Descartes' larger work, "Meditations on First Philosophy." The First Meditation, subtitled "What can be called into doubt", opens with the Meditator reflecting on the number of falsehoods he has believed during his life and on the subsequent faultiness of the body of knowledge he has built up from these falsehoods. He has resolved to sweep away all he thinks he knows and to start again from the foundations, building up his knowledge once more on more certain grounds. He has seated himself alone, by the fire, free of all worries so that he can demolish his former opinions with care.The Meditator reasons that he need only find some reason to doubt his present opinions in order to prompt him to seek sturdier foundations for knowledge. Rather than doubt every one of his opinions individually, he reasons that he might cast them all into doubt if he can doubt the foundations and basic principles on which the opinions are founded.Everything that the Meditator has accepted as most true he has come to learn from or through his senses. He acknowledges that sometimes the senses can deceive, but only with respect to objects that are very small or far away, and that our sensory knowledge on the whole is quite sturdy. The Meditator acknowledges that insane people might be more deceived, but that he is clearly not one of them and needn't worry himself about that.However, the Meditator realizes that he is often convinced when he is dreaming that he is sensing real objects. He feels certain that he is awake and sitting by the fire, but reflects that often he has dreamed this very sort of thing and been wholly convinced by it. Though his present sensations may be dream images, he suggests that even dream images are drawn from waking experience, much like paintings in that respect. Even when a painter creates an imaginary creature, like a mermaid, the composite parts are drawn from real things--women and fish, in the case of a mermaid. And even when a painter creates something entirely new, at least the colors in the painting are drawn from real experience. Thus, the Meditator concludes, though he can doubt composite things, he cannot doubt the simple and universal parts from which they are constructed like shape, quantity, size, time, etc. While we can doubt studies based on composite things, like medicine, astronomy, or physics, he concludes that we cannot doubt studies based on simple things, like arithmetic and geometry.
This edition contains Donald Cress's completely revised translation of the Meditations (from the corrected Latin edition) and recent corrections to Discourse on Method, bringing this version even closer to Descartes's original, while maintaining the clear and accessible style of a classic teaching edition.
The aim of this edition is to present to English readers all the philosophical works of Descartes which were originally intended for publication. More than one valuable translation of the treatises which give a general view of Descartes' system has already appeared. But certain others which are quite indispensable for a thorough comprehension of his views have not yet been made accessible to English readers. The chief of these are probably the "Rules for the Direction of Understanding" and the "Passions of the Soul."
This is the second of a new two-volume edition of the works of Descartes in Penguin Classics. This volume is designed for students who approach Descartes from the point of view of his philosophy of science. Includes DISCOURSE ON METHOD, the most accessible and well-known of his discussions of scientific method; the first seven chapters of the earlier, unpublished work, THE WORLD; as well as a selection of Descartes' correspondence and his replies to his critics.