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Meditations on First Philosophy (Hackett Classics) [Paperback]

Rene Descartes , Donald A. Cress
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 1993 0872201929 978-0872201927 3rd

Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy, the fundamental and originating work of the modern era in Western philosophy, is presented here in Donald Cress's completely revised edition of his well-established translation, bringing this version even closer to Descartes's original, while maintaining its clear and accessible style.


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Meditations on First Philosophy (Hackett Classics) + Plato: Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo (Hackett Classics) + An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: with Hume's Abstract of A Treatise of Human Nature and A Letter from a Gentleman to His Friend in Edinburgh (Hackett Classics)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The new version of Cress's translation of Descartes's Meditations has attained an unusually high degree of readability . . . and at the same time, of fidelity to the original.--Roger Ariew, University of South Florida, and Marjorie Grene (1910-2009), Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

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Product Details

  • Series: Hackett Classics
  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company; 3rd edition (October 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872201929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872201927
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Modern Philosophy April 30, 2004
Format:Paperback
Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy is one of the few works of philosophy that absolutely every educated person needs to read at least once. This is required reading for anyone interested in philosophy or its history, and honestly I don't see how this work can be ignored by anyone interested in the history of ideas. It's also a work that I'd recommend to anyone who wants to be introduced to philosophy by reading the work of a great philosopher. And don't worry: it shouldn't take you more than an afternoon to read through it. But you can, of course, spend the remainder of your life thinking about the ideas contained in this work.
The Meditations 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.
The First Meditation is Descartes's implementation of his method of doubt.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Philosophy Starts Here 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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Descartes' meditations really is the place to start for thinking through the philosophical obsessions of the modern era -- the value of skepticism, the nature and extent of knowledge, the relation between mind and body, the role of theology in a rational account of the universe, subjectivity vs. objectivity, the primacy of the subject, freedom, etc.

This is a book that can be read for these themes even by those who are encountering it for the first time without guidance. At the same time this is a book that rewards reading and rereading, not only in the sense that you should read it more than once but that you should come back to it again and again after you have read the other classical works of philosophy that both preceeded it and that it paved the way for. After a serious study of Kant, for example, you may find that you can come back to Descartes and see that much of the work of Kant's critical project was already prepared for in this little treatise. That is not to say that Kant is not original, but that part of Kant's genius is in thinking through and making explicit the scope of the philosophical landscape that was first mapped out in the Meditations.
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