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Discourse on Method Paperback – June 1, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0915144839 ISBN-10: 0915144832 Edition: Later Printing

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Pub Co Inc; Later Printing edition (June 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915144832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915144839
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,775,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)

From the Publisher

Library of Liberal Arts title. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Thomas on February 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
This edition contains Richard Kennington's very precise translation of the Discourse along with an interpretive essay. This essay is a close reading of the text in which Kennington attempts to bring out the underlying intention of Descartes' thought, hidden beneath what appear to be nods to traditional ideas of morality and metaphysics. His ideas are provocative, but even if he's wrong, his careful arguments deserve consideration.

One significant drawback of the translation: the editors neglected to include the Adam-Tannery pagination in the body of the text. This is indeed unfortunate, since this is the scholarly standard for citations and useful for finding the same passage in other editions.

The interpretive essay contained in this volume is also included in the collection of Kennington's essays entitled "On Modern Origins" (also highly recommended).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TheIrrationalMan on May 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
A landmark in the history of philosophy and a founding text for modern scientific method, by which is meant cautious scepticism, disinterested enquiry, taking absolutely nothing on trust, but instead subjecting everything to the searching knife of criticism. This is a key text, if you wish to learn to be self-reliant and to develop the powers of your individual mind. Astonishing -- an enduring contribution of a man who was, and is most likely to remain, the greatest thinker in history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Rene Descartes is often considered the founding father of modern philosophy. A true Renaissance man, he studied Scholastic philosophy and physics as a student, spent time as a volunteer soldier and traveler throughout Europe, studied mathematics, appreciated the arts, and became a noted correspondent with royals and intellectual figures throughout the continent. He died in Sweden while on assignment as tutor to the Queen, Christiana.

Descartes 'Discourse on Method' is a fascinating text, combining the newly-invented form of essay (Descartes was familiar with the Essays of Montaigne) with the same kind of autobiographical impulse that underpins Augustine's Confessions. Descartes writes about his own form of mystical experience, seeing this as almost a kind of revelation that all past knowledge would be superseded, and all problems would eventually be solved by human intellect.

In the Discourse, Descartes formulates logical principles based on reason (which makes it somewhat ironic that this came to him almost as a revelation). Descartes had some appreciation for thinkers such as Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes, but he thought that Bacon depended too much upon empirical data, and with Hobbes he disagreed on what would be the criteria for ascertaining certainty.

Descartes was a mathematician at heart, and perhaps had a carry-over of Pythagorean mystical attachment to mathematics, for his sense of reason led him to impute an absolute quality to mathematics; this has major implications for metaphysics and epistemology. Descartes method was a continuation in many ways of the ideas of Plato, Aristotle and the medieval thinkers, for they all tended toward thinking in absolute, universal terms in some degree.
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