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Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  20,864 Ratings  ·  301 Reviews
Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy
Paperback, Fourth Edition, 103 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Hackett Publishing Co, Inc (first published 1637)
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Very unfortunate hair notwithstanding,

Rene “I think, therefore I exist” Descartes was one of the most influential contemplators in the history of philosophy and was instrumental in fomenting the modern modes of intellectual exploration known as deductive reasoning and the scientific method. While he was certainly not alone in the wilderness championing the transformation of knowledge accumulation methods, he was definitely among the significant trail-blazers dropping bread crumbs for the partic
Camille Stein

No pueden ser verdaderos todos nuestros pensamientos.


Las almas más grandes son capaces de los mayores vicios, así como de las mayores virtudes; y los que andan muy despacio pueden llegar mucho más lejos, si van siempre por el camino recto, que los que corren y se apartan de él.
Feb 03, 2015 Jonfaith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
It is a fault which can been observed in most disputes, that, truth being mid-way between the two opinions that are held, each side departs the further from it the greater
his passion for contradiction.

Back in my salad days I had a friend who taught Medieval Philosophy. We wound up moving the class of such to a pub. This appeared very progressive. He once enlightened us with his proof of the Absence of God. His premise was that God was so vast and so central. God couldn't possibly share any qual
Aug 19, 2009 Lewis rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
'I think therefore I am' Probably the most quoted philosophical reference around today. But people generally don't know what it means!
Descartes is reputed as the Father of Modern Philosophy, the bringer of new ways of thinking, of revising our beliefs. Though a blatant sexist, speciesist and bigot he was a man of his time. His philosophy however was not.
Imagine an evil genius, he has your brain in a jar somewhere and is manipulating it to make you believe all that you perceive around you. You ca
Mar 19, 2008 Tim rated it really liked it
In the Discourse Descartes is charming, down-to-earth, and his investigation of skepticism is exciting, fun and profound at the same time. That’s a rare combination in philosophy, at least in my experience - only Plato and Chuang Tzu come to mind as similar in this respect (maybe Nietzsche, but he’s such a ninny). Although Descartes’ skepticism is arguably a borrowing from ancient philosophy, his turning it into a method of investigation appears to be original, and it was enormously important in ...more
Kyle Muntz
Jan 22, 2013 Kyle Muntz rated it liked it
Descartes was the one of the best but mostly the worst of philosophers. His philosophy is extremely relevant historically but hasn't aged as well as Hume, Locke, Schopenhauer or Spinoza, mostly because it was so deeply Catholic. I read this when I was about 15 and thought it was brilliant, but now, despite a few good arguments, the thing feels like a skyscraper built out of toothpicks. Unlike Hume or Locke (who feel fairer than the others I mentioned, since they were closer to being his contempo ...more
Cassandra Lê
An interesting book, but I read only partly for my philosophy class. Will definitely re-read the full part some other time.
Jan 11, 2008 Ben rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, academic
Written after I read this as a junior in college:

René Descartes spent much of his life in travel, studying the great works of philosophers and scientists. After the majority of his formal learning was completed, Descartes began writing prolifically. The Discourse on Method, written in Holland, and finished in 1637, was written not long after his previous works of, Rules for the Direction of the Mind (1629), and Treatise on the World (1633) were completed. In accompaniment to Discourse on Method,
Jan 29, 2013 Caleb rated it it was ok
I've been rereading this while rereading LOTR, and I cannot help hearing Descartes as Morgoth, Sauron, Saruman, or any number of other characters who look at reality as something to be conquered and bent to one's will.
Jack Bates
May 20, 2008 Jack Bates rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Philosophers
A great edition of one of the most significant philosophical works in modern times. This discussion of the method for which Frances Bacon was missing is one of the most enlightening reads an individual can embark upon. I would recommend this as required reading for any middles school child through high school and on in to college. This is also a book that should be revisited from time to time. Life experience will definitely influence how much a reader gets from this work as the more the reader ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Timothy rated it it was ok
Dude talks about robots more than I would have expected. There's also one point in the Discourse where he pretty forcefully tells you to close the book and not start reading again until you've dissected a cow.
Yuganka Sharan
Modern western philosophy begins with Descartes. Do you afford to miss the opening ceremony?

Descartes has been called the father of modern philosophy. And it is not without sufficient reason.

A little background is necessary to realise the enormity of what he did – the “method” he introduced.

In Discourses, fully titled ‘Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences”, Descartes discusses what pushed him towards his quest for a new way of thinking
Aug 28, 2010 Anita rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010, philosophy
Descartes starts out in his Discourse questioning if we have have good sense, how we reason, if schooling helps us learn,and what the written word does for the mind. He doesn't answer all of these but seems to believe that knowledge leads to knowledge and that we will always question everything. He says that we need to know world history and customs in order to respect that whch is different from ourselves while being careful not to forget our own customs when removed from them.

The most importan
Bola Shokry
Oct 03, 2012 Bola Shokry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
مقال عن المنهج كُتِب عام 1637 بواسطة رينيه ديكارت أبو الفلسفة الحديثة وباعثها والفيلسوف الأشهر على الإطلاق بعد المعلم الأول أرسطو والأباء المؤسسين للفلسفة الإغريقية القديمة.

هدف ديكارت الوصول للـ"يقين" وأخذ من "الشك" طريقا للوصول لليقين المنشود.

تأمل ديكارت فوجد أن للمعرفة سببين وهما البداهة والقياس, وفي تأمله في العلوم وجد أن الرياضيات هي العلم الأقوى يقينا لأنه مؤسس على بديهيات, والبديهيات وهي المعارف البسيطة التي لا يراود العقل فيها شك مثل ان مجموع زوايا المثلث يساوي قائمتين.

فعزم ديكارت أن يؤسس
Erik Graff
Jan 20, 2009 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophy students
Recommended to Erik by: a teacher
Shelves: philosophy
I enrolled in Loyola University Chicago's graduate program in philosophy after two years of dead-end jobs upon completion of seminary. The motivation was primarily intellectual. Previous study had served to raise questions more than answer them and some knowledge of the history and thought of the modern West had served to raise questions about their foundations. More specifically, the study of continental depth psychologies had indicated a philosophical as well as an empirical basis for them. My ...more
Derek Davis
Apr 13, 2013 Derek Davis rated it really liked it
Descartes did much to lift philosophy and, especially mathematics, from the rigid yet scattershot approach of the middle ages. The "Discourse" is a sort of how-to guide to critical thinking, while the "Meditations" put the stress on what he has discovered through use of the method.

In a nutshell, the method is to remove all prejudices of inquiry from your mind, as much as is humanly possible, so that you start with a clean mental slate upon which you enter the most fundamental, unquestionable tru
Chris Schaeffer
Aug 03, 2009 Chris Schaeffer rated it it was amazing
I read this concurrently with 'The God Delusion,' a book which repeatedly and grossly mischaracterizes Descartes' ideas. Look, Descartes came out with a lot of wrong conclusions. He started from some pretty outdated premises and went from there. But he wasn't stupid. I hate that received wisdom I encountered all throughout college and afterwards that Descartes was some bozo whose drool spelled out "mind body dualism" and that's all there is to know about him. The Meditations have this incredible ...more
J. Sebastian
Feb 18, 2017 J. Sebastian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
I read this at the same time as a few other friends, and I discovered that there were different ways to approach the Discourse on Method. One friend preferred to read as a scientist, finding in the Discourse the beginnings of a method for proper scientific investigation; a second was the philosophical reader who enjoyed Descartes' demolition of his thinking and the following reconstruction of the 'house' from the ground up, to his triumphant declaration of cogito ergo sum.

As for myself, I found
Zaman Ali
Mar 05, 2017 Zaman Ali rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
There are doubts about thing but because we could think and have intellect that's why our mind is real because if we could think that makes it not to doubt and when we have the mind to understand then it our thinking that makes us real. And according to Descartes we are imperfect but God is perfect and makes us as we are and with this idea he is popular in theology and these ideas makes this book worth reading.
Apr 29, 2013 bugen rated it really liked it
Combined notes on both texts.


I. The premise is introduced that reason is naturally equal in all, and truth is to be found by conducting it correctly. Descartes attempts to show how he himself has attempted this, not to dictate how everyone should.

II. The method. Descartes wished to rebuild the very foundations upon which his opinions and views were formed. He decided to do this by systematic doubt. The key point is to never accept as true anything that is not known to be evidently so.

Paul Gibson
Nov 14, 2013 Paul Gibson rated it liked it
Descartes has some interesting words to say but I can't agree with his conclusions.
I agree that God seems infinite but to define God negates infinity; definite can't be infinite. This is a contradiction that negates the value of God as infinite.
Perhaps I misunderstand him but moments later he says something like this, "I should not have the idea if an infinite substance because I am a finite being, unless it were given to me by some substance that is infinite."
I disagree. Like so many things in
May 24, 2012 Brian rated it it was ok
Shelves: re-read, philosophy
Likeable and guilty.

Descartes reminds me of me as a high school student: we are totally unreliable in what we can know but somehow we can built everything else on the foundation "I exist"?

The guy was brilliant and clear, but he comes off as a tragic version of Augustine. Both are intimate philosophers that go into the soul (I'm thinking of Augustine's On The Trinity) and come to belief in God. The difference is subtle, but important: Descartes' foundation is trying to find a firm foothold in t
Jennifer Mcbain
Finding this book really hard going- compulsory for my current studies and need to be alert to read- lose concentration easily. Having said that, when I am engrossed, it's beautiful to understand something so foreign to me. And it is fascinating.
Jun 10, 2007 Colleen rated it liked it
Not exactly pleasure reading, but it is interesting that in an attempt to prove the existence of a god, he only managed to prove that he exists. Oh yeah, and thanks for the mind-body problem D, thanks a lot.
Aug 28, 2013 Stephie rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Jan 20, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: academic-books
I studied some chaptersof it in college, I haven't read all of it. But I liked it.
Brittany Petruzzi
Jul 10, 2012 Brittany Petruzzi rated it really liked it
Excellent work; wretched consequences.
Jul 10, 2007 Seth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: well, you would have to have a high IQ
I cannot comment on this book. I am, upon honest reflection, inadequate to say anything.
Revue en français juste en dessous !

Descartes wanted a new philosophy, a righter one, to allow to distinguish what is true from what is false, a philosophy which you could be sure it was true as mathematics.
To do that, he applies a method we can briefly sum up by doubting everything and starting from scratch, without bias nor preconception, so he can build his theory on a solid basis. From here, he plans to determine a first basic truth, then use it to determine a se
Travis Mallett
Having been familiar with Decartes' Meditations on First Philosophy, one of my favorite philosophical treatises, I here review only the Discourse, published by Easton Press. The Easton Press printing and binding are unparalleled by none, as usual. It's a pleasure to hold this book and to read it. Regarding the Discourse, I felt somewhat disappointed as Descartes seems to ramble a lot, not focusing too much on clear and distinct reasoning. It seems to double as a sort of autobiography, a method o ...more
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All About Books: Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes 68 38 May 03, 2014 02:26AM  
More organic method to the argument version 2 1 9 May 01, 2013 06:49PM  
Follow up questions: 1 7 Apr 28, 2013 02:55PM  
Arguement for the existence of God 1 11 Apr 27, 2013 11:15AM  
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
  • Discourse on Metaphysics and Other Essays
  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
  • Ethics
  • Being and Time
  • The Nicomachean Ethics
  • The New Organon
  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
  • Utilitarianism
  • Philosophical Fragments
  • The Enneads
René Descartes, also known as Renatus Cartesius (Latinized form), was a highly influential French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer. He has been dubbed the "Father of Modern Philosophy," and much of subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which continue to be studied closely. His influence in mathematics is also apparent, the Cartesian coordinate system that is ...more
More about René Descartes...

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“[...] the diversity of our opinions, consequently, does not arise from some being endowed with a larger share of reason than others, but solely from this, that we conduct our thoughts along different ways, and do not fix our attention on the same objects. For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellences, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it.” 15 likes
“I think therefore I am” 10 likes
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