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Discourse on Method (Focus Philosophical Library) Paperback – November 1, 2007
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From the Back Cover
The Focus Philosophical Library publishes clear, faithful editions enabling access for modern students to the essential ideas and wisdom of the world’s greatest thinkers.
This is an English translation of Descartes' seminal discourse, with an original essay by Richard Kennington. This text provides readers with a close translation, notes, and a glossary of key terms to facilitate access to ideas as they originally were presented and to make the translator's work transparent.
Richard Kennington (1921–1999) was a professor of philosophy at The Pennsylvania State University and Catholic University of America. His teaching was centered largely on seventeenth-century thinkers such as Bacon and Descartes.
Pamela Kraus teaches at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland.
Frank Hunt teaches at St Johns College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
About the Author
Pamela Kraus teaches at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. She is coeditor (along with Frank Hunt) of Richard Kennington's "On Modern Origins: Essays in Early Modern Philosophy" (Lexington, 1004).
Frank Hunt teaches at St Johns College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is coeditor, along with Pamela Kraus, of Richard Kennington's "On Modern Origins in Early Modern Philosophy" (Lexington, 1004).
Top Customer Reviews
The interpretive essay contained in this volume is also included in the collection of Kennington's essays entitled "On Modern Origins" (also highly recommended).
(My initial review incorrectly stated that the editors neglected to include the standard Adam-Tannery pagination in the body of the text. As a comment to my review notes, this pagination is embedded in the text. My mistake!)
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about his own form of mystical experience, seeing this as almost a kind of revelation that all past knowledge would be superseded, and all problems would eventually be solved by human intellect.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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best translation I've read. Good supplemental material as well.Published 20 months ago by Joseph Dyer
Book is great for those who seek knowledge, this book will change the was you perceive things if you understand it.Published on August 9, 2009 by Christopher M. Rivas