Download A Discourse on the Method (Oxford World's Classics) by René Descartes PDF

By René Descartes

"I concluded that i used to be a substance whose complete essence or nature is living in basic terms in considering, and which, with the intention to exist, has little need of position and isn't depending on any fabric thing.'

Descartes's A Discourse at the approach to appropriately engaging in One's cause and looking fact within the Sciences marks a watershed in ecu idea; in it, the writer offers a casual highbrow autobiography within the vernacular for a non-specialist readership, sweeps away all past philosophical traditions, and units out in short his radical new philosophy, which starts with an explanation of the lifestyles of the self (the recognized 'cogito ergo sum'), subsequent deduces from it the lifestyles and nature of God, and ends by way of providing a thorough new account of the actual global and of human and animal nature.

Readership: scholars of philosophy, glossy Western philosophy, the Englightenment, seventeenth-century background, the heritage of notion, glossy languages

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Additional info for A Discourse on the Method (Oxford World's Classics)

Sample text

As for what you tell me of Galileo’s experiments and observations, I deny them all; but I do not conclude the motion of the earth to be any less worthy of credence . . (AT . –) The similarity to the attitudes expressed by Mersenne in  quoted above is striking. Descartes then refers to the work of a priest, just possibly Mersenne himself, but more plausibly Ismaël Boulliau (–), who had indicated that he wanted to use Descartes’s physical explanations of the heavens, and whose cosmology was Copernican: I am astonished that a man of the Church should dare to write about the motion of the earth, whatever excuses he may give for doing so.

Normally this would be done by a lecturer presenting the work of another writer; but there are precedents of selfpresentation from the ancient world which were known to his contemporaries: one of these was afforded by the ancient Greek medical writer Galen, whose account of his own work is made up of a very un-Cartesian mixture of argument, polemic, anecdote, autobiography, and digression. Some Renaissance authors also produced works at the end of their lives which offered such an introduction. The famous Dutch humanist Erasmus was one of these; another was Girolamo Cardano (–), who is closer to being a model for Descartes, in that his name was not already widely known when he produced the first version of the De libris propriis, a treatise on his own writings, and who, like Descartes, sought to write a radical new account of the whole of philosophy; but there is no indication that Descartes ever read much of his work attentively32 (although he had almost certainly heard of him, if only through Gabriel Naudé, who in the turbulent Paris of the s was his defender against charges of magic, and eventually the editor of his autobiography).

Xlvi  publishing, and then to make him change his mind. Conventionally enough, Descartes claims that it is everyone’s duty to benefit their fellow men if they can; he aspires to offer an example of reaching the truth through the secure grounding of principles, and the careful checking of further conclusions by engaging in observations and experiments which settle which of various possible alternative interpretations is to be preferred. His answer to the question of which branch of learning he is setting out to serve is ambitious: he suggests that his work will contribute to metaphysics, mathematics, mechanics, and physics.

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