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Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  501 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Here is a brilliant new translation of Descartes's Meditations, one of the most influential books in the history of Western philosophy, including the full texts of the Third and Fourth Objections and Replies, and a selection from the other exchanges. Discovering his own existence as a thinking entity in the very exercise of doubt--in the famous formulation cogito, ergo sum ...more
Paperback, 279 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published November 28th 1986)
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René Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy is a book I picked up for two reasons. The first is that a friend had been reading and enjoying his work, the second is that I have developed an interest in philosophy due to my university units. I am currently undertaking one literature unit on the 'Philosophies of Hell and Heaven' which is rather fascinating (though I disagree with many points). I figure that if I wish to understand a wide variety of views, I must read about those opinions and ph
Aug 09, 2007 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Oh Descartes, we have an interesting relationship, you and I. You are a necessary step in Philosophy classes, and yet I abhor you. So you get 3 stars.
Mar 28, 2012 Gregory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About 25 pages from the end of my first reading, will prob reread this within the season. Funny how this book for me, is understood better through the objections and the replies. Also funny, how a short book reads like a long book, Would love to read this in French, if I only knew French: Delicately Strong, and Strongly Delicate, A book to really get lost in, I am certainly pleasantly lost in this book. Such eloquence- - -.

I did finish and my only regret is That I do not know how to read French
Kyle van Oosterum
This is certainly a fundamental work for philosophy in terms of its epistemological and metaphysical implications, which can be simply summarised in that timeless proposition: "cogito ergo sum." Descartes can be seen as an explorer, navigating mathematics (having invented the Cartesian coordinate system) and freeing philosophy from religious institutions. Even though this work is largely centred around God, it does not necessarily invoke the Christian God in any way whatsoever.

Descartes points
Dec 12, 2008 Zach added it
i hope to come back and read the the objections and replies soon, for i enjoyed reading Meditations.
here are a few thoughts i wrote out about them.

Doubting Descartes

The method of doubt used in Meditations brings the text to such proximity to doubt that doubting the text’s veracity readily suggests itself as an approach for understanding the text. This would likely have vexed Descartes, who suggested that the methods employed in Meditations would eventually be considered by all who could closely
Feb 09, 2009 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this two stars originally; because past the second meditation I thought Descartes' arguments became ridiculous. However, after a discussion with my philosophy teacher today, I decided that I needed to re-evaluate my opinion.

The third Meditation primarily discusses arguments concerning the existence of God, and despite the fact there are some large gaps in what Descartes says, the questions he asks are important; it's the conclusions that he draws from them that mean I can't possibly justi
Kim Annabella
Oct 13, 2007 Kim Annabella rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I sleepwalked through this, not a fan. cartesian dualism you go to hell and you die...well for anyone dumb enough to believe that mind body interactions require the direct intervention of "god" when your god is sd;lkghfdlgh;sdfh I am not getting into an argument with myself about this, thus endeth the review.
Dylan Popowicz
Ultimately disappointing. After years of referring to Descrates principle motto, "Je pense donc je suis", it is disheartening to realise that what came from this radical base, what was built upon it, was simply the same and common version of reality--Renee just reworded it under the pretence of doubt.

To be fair, the historical importance of this work is not to be take for granted. Here we have the moment in which Modern Philosophy is said to be born. If with the frail corner-stone of God's (unp
Apr 16, 2013 Blake rated it really liked it
His proof that God exists leaves me unconvinced, but his intent to "destroy all my former opinions" in order to build a real knowledge based on careful thought and your own intellect (and not a blind acceptance of preconceptions etc.) is a terribly ballsy move.
And the Objections and Replies are well worth the read. They help put Descartes thought in cultural and intellectual context... and he gets pretty pissed off with some of his objectors whom he feels are completely misreading him. An origi
John Doe
Oct 25, 2013 John Doe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Philosphy is almost never written in the first person singular. In doing so, Descartes invites us to take up the "I" and situate ourselves in his reasoning. His aim is to challenge his *learned* ideas and to decide what he really believes. I think everyone should try this!
Billy Sheppard
May 25, 2015 Billy Sheppard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a great read. I has heard the old saw, "I think therefore I am," so many times I thought I knew what I needed to know about Descartes. I heard "Meditations on First Philosophy" as an audiobook, and found myself grinning at the style and religious tone of the introduction. Descartes isn't the dry philosopher I thought sure he would be. The cultural context of any philosopher needs be part of the understanding, and Descartes' words communicate beautifully in a music of a bygone ...more
Jan 12, 2012 Libyrinths rated it really liked it
Descartes attempts to prove that mind exists, therefore he exists, therefore God exists -- in far more detail than he did in the Discourse.

I really liked this particular edition, translated and annotated by Michael Moriarty. I found the Objections and Replies section invaluable for getting a better understanding of what Descartes had laid out. And Moriarty gives selections, for which I was grateful after getting into some of them. He did a superb job of selecting, noting whether one of Descartes
David S. T.
Apr 10, 2012 David S. T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read two editions of the Meditations now, first this one and later the Hackett version from Cress. Overall while both were adequate and understandable, this was overall superior. It contains a great translation, an excellent 50ish page introduction, numerous footnotes (including many instances where the french version differed from the Latin one) and then about 60 pages from the Objections and Replies (while I've not read all of the Objections, for a non-philosopher such as myself this sele ...more
May 02, 2014 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this for my Intro to Philosophy class the second semester of my freshman year. I mainly remember the first meditation and the proof of our existence because we humans are able to think ("I think therefore I am.") and the evil demon/illusion of this world bit before that. I like to reference that part sometimes to see if anyone catches it but usually people don't. :( That's probably why the students I worked with in the library thought I was weird... haha
I had to read this for PHL100Y1Y, Introduction to Philosophy, and good god, that cover looks hideous on goodreads. Even in real life it's ugly, but at least it's subdued and not bright neon.

Okay, Descartes. So far he might be my favourite read - the way he writes is just kind of funny. It's nearly stream of consciousness, but just in logical terms. Plato had dialogues, Aristotle lectures, and Boethius let us in on his therapy session, but no, Descartes actually shows us his arguments and conclus
Feb 19, 2016 Dmk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Such a useless edition of Descarte's Meditations.

It begins with lonf-ass essay which is really boring and which fails in it's purpose to prepare one before reading the Meditatons.

In midle of book there are Meditations on itself and they are of course great.

And then Objections and Replies. After beatyful, accesible, well-toled philosophical books comes just bunch of ... what exactly? There is almost no commentary, it seems like just bunch of random complains to Descartes work, sometimes followed
Oct 01, 2014 AvidReader1987 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fic
Dreadful! Descartes shouldn't have asked for Objections if all he was going to do is say no you're wrong and have tantrums!
Silvio Curtis
Dec 19, 2012 Silvio Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Descartes tries to demonstrate that through introspection we can become perfectly certain that we, God and the physical world exist. Such an ambitious book couldn't fail to be a stimulating read, even though I didn't agree with anything past "I think, therefore I am" (actually a quote from Discourse on Method, I think, but the same concept is in this book). Takes the form of six short but intense meditations in first person present for the reader to follow along with.
Jul 09, 2014 Earl rated it it was amazing
It would be nice to look back and see how these philosophers, which have become household names, really talk about what they think. My second reading of Descartes gave me a new perspective not just of his thought but also of his life as a mathematician and philosopher, as well as the historical context in which he is situated in.

But actually, the real reason for reading this is to prepare for Jean-Luc Marion.
Jan 16, 2008 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophers, people that want to be bored to death
Shelves: 2008
I loathed this book. I actually question what I was thinking picking it up. About the only thing I did take from it is that we generally bastardize the translation of Cogito Ergo Sum, I think therefore I am. The translation is closer to "I am thinking, therefore I exist." Close to the same thing...but not quite.
Jan 18, 2009 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think two stars would be a bit stingy: there's lots of good meat here, if you can tolerate the repetition, and his philosophy really did change the way people thought (and indeed think).

The arguments that "prove" the existence of God are just laughable though, so probably skim over that!
Mar 22, 2007 Meara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I'm a big fan of the first meditation but after that... not so much. I just don't think that the reasoning pans out but I think everyone should read this book at least once. If only to calm their minds while on a wicked acid trip that yes, you do exist... well, I do at least ;c)
Jake A. D. Bornheimer
Arguments (obviously) don't hold up, but a neat read nonetheless.
Feb 12, 2008 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another encounter with Descartes once again leaves me assured that his thought is utterly divorced from reality.

Note that this is one of the texts modern Western philosophy built itself up upon. What does that say about the philosophical project?
JP Martinez
Jun 06, 2007 JP Martinez rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Not a big fan of Descartes. Of course the whipping boy of Modern Philosophy. Perhaps reading this would be helpful in understanding the History of Philosophy and tracing the origins of the development of Modern Philosophy.
Mar 05, 2013 Henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, school
Nice edition, it contains a portion of the Objection and Replies plus footnotes where the original Latin and French edition differ from each other. A good read for both school and anyone interested in Descartes.
Aug 05, 2011 Keegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Radically inspiring. I have hatched at least two secret plans in response to my first reading of this.

I can guarantee that I will be unable to shut up about it if you mention Descartes in person.
Jan 01, 2008 Josie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the most accessible major work of philosophy. When I read the Meditations, I see myself in Descartes role in front of the fire place asking myself whether I am awake or asleep ...
Trinity School Summer Reading
If Plato and Socrates are the beginning of philosophy (full stop), Descartes and this book are the beginning of modern philosophy. This is an excellent edition with a terrific introduction.
Sarah Riehl
Feb 22, 2016 Sarah Riehl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dickholes
Shelves: phil
descartes isn't as totally wrong-headed as many *cough gilbert ryle cough* claim; a lot of his reasoning is pretty solid. that's not to say that he isn't sometimes hopeless confused.
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  • Pensées and Other Writings
  • Protagoras/Meno
  • The Idea of a University
  • Bonaventure
  • The First and Second Apologies (Ancient Christian Writers)
  • Creeds of the Churches: A Reader in Christian Doctrine from the Bible to the Present
  • Introducing Derrida
  • On God and Christ, The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius: St. Gregory of Nazianzus
  • Four Histories ("Richard II", "Henry IV Part One", "Henry IV Part Two", "Henry V")
  • Discourse on Metaphysics & Other Essays
  • The Ethics/Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect/Selected Letters
  • Aristotle: Selections
  • Introducing Baudrillard (Introducing)
  • Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
  • The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations
  • The Rise of Modern Philosophy
  • On the Apostolic Preaching
  • The View from Nowhere
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
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