Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings
Descartes was prepared to go to any lengths in his search for certainty - even to deny those things that seemed most self-evident. In his Meditations of 1641, and in the Objections and Replies that were included with the original publication, he set out to dismantle and then reconstruct the idea of the individual self and its existence. In doing so, Descartes developed a language of subjectivity that has lasted to this day, and he also took his first steps towards the view that would eventually be expressed in the epigram Cogito, ergo sum ('I think, therefore I am'), one of modern philosophy's most famous - and most fiercely contested - claims.
The first part of a two-volume edition of Descartes' works in Penguin Classics, the second of which is Discourse on Method & Related Writings, this edition includes extensive selections from the Objections and Replies, Part One of The Principles of Philosophy, Comments on a Certain Manifesto and related correspondence from 1643 to 1649.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650), generally regarded as the founder of modern philosophy, was born in La Haye (now called Descartes) near Tours, and educated at the Jesuit College of La Fleche. Like many of his contemporaries he contested the value of an education based on Aristotelianism and, after leaving college, attempted to resolve the sceptical crisis of his age by devising a method of reasoning modelled on the rigour and certainty of mathematics.
If you enjoyed the Meditations, you might like Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, also available in Penguin Classics.
- Paperback | 256 pages
- 129 x 198 x 15mm | 191g
- 01 Sep 1999
- Penguin Books Ltd
- Penguin Classics
- London, United Kingdom
- notes, index
Other books in this series
25 Nov 2008
17 Jun 2011
Back cover copy
Of all the works of the man claimed by many as the father of modern philosophy, the Meditations (1641), must surely be Rene Descartes' masterpiece.
The six Meditations and accompanying selections from the Objections and Replies provide a definitive statement of what Descartes intended as the foundations of his whole philosophy. His project was to resolve the epistemological questions brought about by the prevailing scepticism of his age; to build, from the basis of self-awareness (Cogito, ergo sum), through the notion of a benevolent God, to a systematic and novel approach to metaphysics, and to construct a secure starting-point for science.
The first part of a new two-volume edition of the works of Descartes in Penguin Classics, this volume consists not only of a new translation of the original Latin text and extensive selections from the Objections and Replies, but also includes relevant correspondence from the period 1643-49, Part One of The Principles of Philosophy and Comments On a Certain Manifesto, as examples of Descartes' other metaphysical writings from the period 1641-49.
Table of contents
Further ReadingMeditations on First PhilosophyLetter of Dedication to the Sorbonne
Preface to the Reader
Summary of the Following Six Meditations
Objections and Replies (Selections)The Principles of PhilosophyLetter to Princess Elizabeth
Part One: The Principles of Human KnowledgeDescartes' Correspondence: Selections, 1643-9Comments on a Certain ManifestoNotes
About René Descartes