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Meditations on First Philosophy: with Selections from the Objections and Replies (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

René Descartes , Michael Moriarty
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 May 2008 Oxford World's Classics
'It is some years now since I realized how many false opinions I had accepted as true from childhood onwards...I saw that at some stage in my life the whole structure would have to be utterly demolished' In Descartes's Meditations, one of the key texts of Western philosophy, the thinker rejects all his former beliefs in the quest for new certainties. Discovering his own existence as a thinking entity in the very exercise of doubt, he goes on to prove the existence of God, who guarantees his clear and distinct ideas as a means of access to the truth. He develops new conceptions of body and mind, capable of serving as foundations for the new science of nature. Subsequent philosophy has grappled with Descartes's legacy, questioning many of its conclusions and even his basic approach, but his arguments set the agenda for many of the greatest philosophical thinkers, and their fascination endures. This new translation includes the Third and Fourth Objections and Replies in full, and a selection from the rest of these exchanges with Descartes's contemporaries that helped to expound his philosophy. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Meditations on First Philosophy: with Selections from the Objections and Replies (Oxford World's Classics) + Principles of Human Knowledge: AND Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (Classics) + Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (8 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192806963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192806963
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 2.5 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Michael Moriarty is Centenary Professor of French Literature and Thought, Queen Mary, University of London.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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I have such good reason for offering this work to you, and I trust that you will have such good reason for taking it under your protection, once you understand my intention in writing it, that I could recommend it here in no better way than by saying briefly what my aim was. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Descartes' Revolution 26 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback
Gripped by the overwhelming forces of destructive scepticism, Descartes (in a bid to discover what it actually is that we can know) builds a foundationalist epistemology that revolutionised epistemological thought. Plato's epistemology, for example, was (right or wrongly) based on the assumption that knowledge and perception is possible and it's just the differentiation of these two realms of enquiry that is important. Descartes, however, rejects this by realising that what he thought he could know (via rationale and especially via perception) could just be the product of an Evil Daemon; feeding us thoughts, experiences and memories. What then could he know, if anything at all?

From this point, Descartes utilises his pristine rationale to formulate his Cogito argument. The Cogito (through revolutionary, yet, flawed logic) suggests that the 'I' we so liberally refer to must exist, in some form, and we can be absolutely certain of this. Hence the famous Latin phrase 'Cogito Ergo Sum', in French 'Je pense donc Je suis' and in English 'I think therefore I am'. From this underlying philosophical brick, he builds a grand house of statements and principles that we can know: including geometrical and mathematical truths.

Descartes' Meditations is a brilliant introduction to epistemological philosophy and is even more important for experienced philosophers. It's a book worth reading if solipsism and scepticism are destroying your soul and a generally incredible book to get ones philosophical stone rolling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of modern philosophy 26 Nov 2011
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In his Meditations Descartes tries to discard everything that he thinks he knows about what he is, and builds from the foundations up using his famous methodical doubt. Taking in what it is to be human, the Cogito principle, Cartesian duality, the existence of god, and the nature of error, he finally reaches a point where he can be secure about what it is possible to know in a clear and defined way.

Written in 1641, Descartes didn't have the full support of the theological colleges, and this edition helpfully attaches the Objections made to his Meditations, and Descartes' own replies.

For us, the kind of circular reasoning that Descartes demonstrates might not stand up, and certainly we have a very different view of the connection between mind and body following neuroscientific knowledge and ongoing research. But Descartes is important for the scientific methodolgy he tries to instil, and the fundamental nature of the questions he asks, even if some of our answers might be different.

His style isn't always the easiest to understand, as he tends to ramble and be quite repetitive - but for anyone wanting to get a handle on either modern philosophy or the Enlightenment and the ideas which followed, Descartes is fundamental.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect condition 21 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great, just as described. Introduction also gives information on Descartes, advice on how his works should be read and an outline of the key issues he brings about.
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