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Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) Paperback – April 18, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0521558181 ISBN-10: 0521558182 Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy
  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Revised edition (April 18, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521558182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521558181
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"By far the best available English translation of the fundamental philosophical text." www.wordtrade.com/philosophy1 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Even if he is dreaming or being deceived by an all-powerful evil demon, he can be sure that he exists.
ctdreyer
This translation of Descartes "Meditations on First Philosophy" is an excellent rendition of one of the most important works of Western Philosophy.
Geoffrey Zenger
It seemed more focused on the method than the actual conclusions, which is great for those who completely disagree with what Descartes has to say.
Ben

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the preferred choice of teachers and scholars seeking an English language translation of this central text of philosophy. Not only is the text extremely readable, this translation comes with an excellent introduction written by a highly regarded scholar in the field of Descartes scholarship. If you're looking for a first-rate translation of the Meditations (and a great introduction to the writings of one of the best philosophers of the early modern period), you can't go wrong with this choice. Although it is a little more expensive than some of the other available translations, I recommend it above all others.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By ctdreyer on February 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy has had an incalculable influence on the history of subsequent philosophical thinking. Indeed, according to nearly every history of philosophy you're likely to come across, this work is where modern philosophy begins. It's not that any of Descartes's arguments are startlingly original--many of them have historical precedents--but that Descartes's work was compelling enough to initiate two research programs in philosophy, namely British empiricism and continental rationalism, and to place certain issues (e.g. the mind-body problem, the plausibility of and responses to skepticism, the ontological argument for the existence of God, etc.) on the philosophical agenda for a long time to come. Moreover, Descartes was capable of posing questions of great intrinsic interest in prose accessible to everyone. So the Meditations is a work of value to both newcomers to philosophy and to those with a great deal of philosophical background.
This is an excellent edition of the Meditations for students for a number of reasons. First, it's the same translation of the Meditations (and of the relevant passages from the Objections and Replies) that appears in the Cottingham, Stoothoff, and Murdoch three-volume edition of the philosophical works of Descartes, which is quickly gaining wide acceptance as the best edition of Descartes's work in English. Second, it includes a selection of important passages from the objections and replies to Descartes's Meditations. So this volume allows you to see some of the most serious objections to Descartes's work that were made by his contemporaries along with his responses to those objections. Finally, this edition includes some helpful introductory material.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By philosophy student on September 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
I leave it to the reader to determine the merits of Descartes' thinking; that this work is seminal is obvious and needs no exegesis (nor does explanation of the text do any good for those who have yet to read it). The Cambridge edition is in my opinion the best out there for the English speaking world. It is a clean, literal rendering that does a great job of capturing the Latinate sense of Descartes' terminology in English with minimal obfuscation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hi, I want to write a review of this real quick because I just finished it and I think it would be interesting to come back and see what I thought if I better understand this some day. What can I say? This is Descartes Meditations, and this is really sensational philosophical writing. People say this is the beginning of Western philosophy and far be it from me to question that.

This was published in 1641, this is old. I wanted an introduction to reading whole books of philosophy after being briefly introed to the genre of thought in a college intro class (mostly it was about abortion and pollution, maybe nature). The first two meditations are an excellent such intro. Descartes shocks you with a real cornerstone of philosophy, I think therefore I am. Stupendous. He mentions he needs one solid foundation on which o move the world and this is it.

Pretty much it's all working fine, relatively true, until we get to the third meditation--and what a doozy! By far the hardest part of the book, the most difficult to read outside the last half of the sixth meditation, the third focuses strictly on proving the existence of God. If I'm to be honest, this is why I bought the book. Well, Rene comes up short, very short. Of course if you were to consider this theologically, the great perfection of God would not be understandable through the science of thought that is philosophy, because as a being he is so grand and BEYOND our understanding. But Descartes tries anyway.

If you think about it as a mild mannered regular Joe, Descartes just simply fails to put any proofs positive on the table. He gets closer in the fifth meditation, about His existence. Existence is precluded in perfection.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Greg on March 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
In the 17th century, the world underwent dramatic and incredible changes. The Scientific Revolution was gathering pace, Europeans had experienced the Reformation and the Renaissance, and boundaries and horizons in all areas were being expanded and changed at a breakneck pace.

Into this time of upheaval comes Descartes, one of the greatest Philosophers to ever live anywhere in the world. While 'modern' philosophy, which broke off its roots from Scholasticism, does not necessarily begin only with Descartes, it is true in Descartes the agenda of post-Scholastic philosophy is most clearly and beautifully expressed in logical terms.

Descartes's project is to take into account the implications of the scientific revolution for philosophy; for Descartes, it is no longer religious authority or pure philosophical speculation which tells us the most accurate truths about the cosmos, but science based on observation and the use of mathematical and logical methods employed by the aid of natural human reason.

Descartes sets into motion an astonishing project into motion; to basically remove Scholasticism and its corrupt and inept attempts to understand the universe and replace it with a complete and unified system of knowledge, based on certain truths clear and knowable to anyone, whatever their class or background.

Descartes, following a plan of 'meditation', withdraws from the senses and attempts to consider the universe as it is to the intellect. Descartes carefully invokes several skeptical doubts about our knowledge, the existence of the external world, and our own existence and attempts to set out what he felt was true and what is not. The famous phrase 'Cogito ergo sum' is one result, though Descartes's overall system and arguments are more complex.
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