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Meditations on First Philosophy (Hackett Classics) 3rd Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0872201927
ISBN-10: 0872201929
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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: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We are 1641, Descartes or "the thinking thing", as he calls himself, is meditating about the existence of a god + telling apart soul and body. Medieval follies apart, the fun here comes from his ingenious methodology building the argument. First, he admits being aware of his ignorance therefore prone to errors. Second, he claims to be able to free his mind from senses and prejudices; also ready to demolish his own opinions given new evidences. Then he goes about defining what information his senses are providing to conclude that, in a senseless mind-set, the idea of god is still with him. I’m reading this in 2016, we know humans can’t reach such senseless state but Descartes is still very entertaining.
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Format: Paperback
Rene Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy is arguably the starting point for much of modern western philosophy. This short work comprises approximately 60 pages. Potential buyers should note that it does not include the "Objections and Replies" portion that is available in some other editions.

Although there are many important and helpful philosophical works, Meditations is probably one of the few must read for students of philosophy. Cress' translation does a commendable job of allowing readers to interact with this significant historic text. In Meditations Descartes touches on many key philosophical questions, the role of scepticism, the existence of God and mind-body dualism. This short 17th Century text is by no means an exhaustive examination of these issues - its value is largely the historical context it provides. Its arguements have, however, held up remarkably well over time.

Overall a true classic - I highly recommend it. This short book is a handy reference and good value. Some readers, however, may wish to consider purchasing Meditations as part of a broader collection.
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If your looking for the philosophy book where you can establish that you "are" because you "think" then this is what your looking for. Although he does go on to establish more than just that later on. It was a very interesting read on more introspective philosophy, definitely worth your time, plus it isn't that long in length either.
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