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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and wide-ranging guide to the influential French philosopher
This is a stimulating introduction to the life and work of Descartes which successfully interweaves an historical account of his life with clear and concise explanations of his philosophical work. Sorrel manages to squeeze a lot into the book, covering not only Descartes' obvious philosophical output - the Discourse and Meditations - but also his scientific and...
Published on 15 April 2010 by Steve

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14 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended as an introduction
This book is both short and easy to read. Its a good starting point for those who are trying to grasp a framework about Descartes and what he did.
The author has put a lot of effort into breaking down the book into short chapters - this makes the book manageable and keeps you interested. Each chapter covers a new area.
Published on 11 Oct 2001 by adrian.murphy@swisslife.co.uk


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and wide-ranging guide to the influential French philosopher, 15 April 2010
This is a stimulating introduction to the life and work of Descartes which successfully interweaves an historical account of his life with clear and concise explanations of his philosophical work. Sorrel manages to squeeze a lot into the book, covering not only Descartes' obvious philosophical output - the Discourse and Meditations - but also his scientific and mathematical work - and presenting these in the context of the political and ideological background of the time.

Some of Descartes' arguments can be quite abstract (e.g. the argument for the existence of material objects) but Sorell does an impressive job of summarising these for the newcomer. The book is well-organized - more-or-less chronologically to his life - and with a mere 100 odd pages split into 20 very short chapters, this is an easily manageable and enjoyable read that should keep the interest of the beginner. Some of the books in this series can be a bit hit-and-miss, but if you want to know more about Descartes and his ideas, I would recommend this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ghost of Descartes is still with us, 6 April 2011
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
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Descartes is one of the most influential Western philosophers, and this book is a useful first introduction to his life and ideas. The strength of the book is in positioning Descartes' writing primarily within the political and ideological currents of his time, and showing how exactly he's been forced to edit and finesse his writings in order to please the censorship and his critics. This helps explain why some of his works were not as straightforwardly written as one might have liked. The other reason has probably to do with the sheer ambition of Descartes' chief enterprise, to discover one sure method of arriving at explanations and solutions of the most pressing scientific and philosophical problems of the time. The enormity of this scope meant that some of these methods would necessarily be to vague to be of any practical use in mathematics or physics, and within a generation after Descartes' death Newtonian gravitation completely prevailed. However, in the realm of philosophy, Descarts' thought managed to be of interest until the present day.

This book is very well written, and if you are interested in finding out more about Descartes, it would be a worthwhile first read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 16 May 2013
By 
Ms. T. Hoekstra "Trijnie12" (England) - See all my reviews
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Very quick delivery and the item was in prime condition. Brilliant seller. Wanted this book because of Descartes used to live in Holland and had some interesting stuff to say about my country.
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14 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended as an introduction, 11 Oct 2001
This book is both short and easy to read. Its a good starting point for those who are trying to grasp a framework about Descartes and what he did.
The author has put a lot of effort into breaking down the book into short chapters - this makes the book manageable and keeps you interested. Each chapter covers a new area.
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