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Discourse on Method and the Meditations (Classics) [Mass Market Paperback]

Rene Descartes
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Jun 1998 Classics
René Descartes was a central figure in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. In his Discourse on Method he outlined the contrast between mathematics and experimental sciences, and the extent to which each one can achieve certainty. Drawing on his own work in geometry, optics, astronomy and physiology, Descartes developed the hypothetical method that characterizes modern science, and this soon came to replace the traditional techniques derived from Aristotle. Many of Descartes' most radical ideas - such as the disparity between our perceptions and the realities that cause them - have been highly influential in the development of modern philosophy.

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Discourse on Method and the Meditations (Classics) + Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings (Penguin Classics) + The Republic (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1 edition (16 Jun 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140442065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140442069
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 289,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Epictetus (c. 55-135 AD) was a teacher and Greco-Roman philosopher. Originally a slave from Hierapolis in Anatolia (modern Turkey), he was owned for a time by a prominent freedman at the court of the emperor Nero. After gaining his freedom he moved to Nicopolis on the Adriatic coast of Greece and opened a school of philosophy there. His informal lectures (the Discourses) were transcribed and published by his student Arrian, who also composed a digest of Epictetus' teaching known as the Manual (or Enchiridion).

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Good sense is the most evenly shared thing in the world, for each of us thinks he is so well endowed with it that even those who are the hardest to please in all other respects are not in the habit of wanting more than they have. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discourse on Method and the Meditations 19 April 2008
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This may not have been made clear before but this book actually contains two seperate books as mentioned in the title.

'Discourse on method' is the book in which Descartes first utters the maxim which is generally acknowledged to be the foundation of all modern philosophy: "I think therefore I am". This first book is mainly about his realisation that all perceived truths are to be taken with a grain of salt and provides a step by step method on how to live your intellectual life so as to avoid mistruths which the subjective view of things can provide. It is fairly interesting in some parts but largely boring in others. It is worth a read but nothing compared to 'The meditations'.

'The Meditations' is Descartes' masterpiece, it is also his most famous. It is in this book that he gives his account of the infamous, all powerful deceptive demon which tricks us to the point that we cannot trust any information presented to us. Descartes also provides his version of the ontological argument for God which is easily understandable compared to other more confusing versions. However, you would be mistaken in thinking that this book is limited in the ideas it has to offer. The arguments that Descartes puts forward is numerous but they are all extremely interesting and anyone would benefit from reading them. I highly recommend this book.

As for any further reading I would suggest Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding", something by Hume or if you are up to the challenge then "Ethics" by Spinoza which builds on what Descartes says and confronts the problem of the interaction between mind and body if they are to be thought of as separate entities.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
With such works as 'The Republic' (Plato), the 'Metaphysics' (Aristotle), 'A Treatise of Human Nature' (David Hume) and the 'Critique of Pure Reason' (Immanuel Kant), Descartes' 'Meditations' is one of the seminal achievements in Western philosophical thought. Composed over six days in 1641, they consider, among other things, the existence of the self, the existence of God and the basis of human belief. Rene Descartes (1596-1650) has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and the 'Discourse On Method' and the 'Meditations'- among his most studied texts- clearly demonstrate why. Descartes, writing in the first person, offers us a telling insight into his composition of the 'Meditations', and gives us clues as to what feelings and emotions he experienced in writing them. John Locke (1632-1704), the father of the British Empiricist movement (the belief that all knowledge is based on experience) spoke in 'An Essay Concerning Human Understanding' (1690) of how new concepts are often ignored for that very reason- that they are new, and often defy convention. Yet Descartes' 'Meditations'- riddled not with new ideas but with new ways of looking at familiar ideas- have stood the test of time. They are six thoughtful, beautifully-written essays which leave us with much to contemplate through their remarkable originality. F.E. Sutcliffe offers a lucid translation that amplifies Descartes' genius, through his clear presentation of the Frenchman's ideas and concerns.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Condition 16 Dec 2012
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book arrived in great condition, although I have realised that this is an older publishing of the book, so the language is a bit more difficult. It was a great read nevertheless.
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