Discourse on Method and the Meditations (Classics) Mass Market Paperback – 16 Jun 1998
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Audio CD, Audiobook, Unabridged
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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. This combination ... makes the work especially suitable for classroom use. --Roger Ariew, University of South Florida, and Marjorie Grene (1910-2009), Virginia Polytechnic Institute An excellent edition and the price is fair. --Alan Soble, University of New Orleans --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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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Top Customer Reviews
'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.
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
I found this book to be in parts hilarious. Some of the cutting humour had me in stitches. On the whole though I was mostly unimpressed as it failed to sustain this level of wit... Read morePublished on 7 April 2003 by Andrew Wilson
Descartes is the father of modern philosophy - its true. His meditations came to him while he sat for several days in a giant oven - its true. Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2000