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Discourse on the Method and the Meditations

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  16,724 ratings  ·  251 reviews
I perceived it to be possible to arrive at knowledge highly useful in life; and in room of the Speculative Philosophy usually taught in the Schools, to discover a Practical, by means of which, knowing the force and action of fire, water, air, the stars, the heavens, and all the other bodies that surround us, as distinctly as we know the various crafts of our artizans, we m ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 1st 2008 by Cosimo Classics (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
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
'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
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
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
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,
Jack Bates
May 20, 2008 Jack Bates rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
Derek Davis
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
Bola Shokry
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
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
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.
Paul Gibson
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
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
Brent McCulley
It is has been really fun to interact with Descartes, finally, through primary sources. As my BA in History and my Mdiv in theology, it seems I am finally catching up on all the philosophy 101 texts that all my frie read so long ago. Descartes method has been critiqued innumerable times over since the publication of Method and Meditations, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard's critique come to mind in the foremost, nevertheless this work stands as a monumental pillar as the entrance into modern philosophy ...more
Again, not a philosophy buff, but rather a student taking an intro to philosophy course.

Of course, Descartes would be included in my intro class. Descartes time and time again has been called the father of modern philosophy.

One thing I enjoyed about his Meditations, is that he writes not as himself but as if he were the reader. The thought process flows (or rather, is supposed to flow) the the sense that it tracks one's train of thought.

That sounds great in theory, however, I had an incredibly d
I remember thinking in my psychology class that since the human being is aware, what would happen if suddenly there were no such thing as awareness? Would the world exist as we know it, or is everything simply a product of our minds processing sensory information? If there was no awareness, would there be a world at all? Similar question to the one about the tree falling in the forest. At the time I hadn't realized there was actually a book written about the topic. Rene Descartes' famous maxim, ...more
Mike Chronley
Even if it were not a founding part of modern Western thought, Descartes could be required reading for how to examine and build a personal philosophy. So often people have a hard time separating the details of life from their personal axioms. Descartes lays out an awesome road map for starting from nothing and arriving at deeper understandings of the world purely by looking inward.

This was the book that put me into 'annoying college freshman who just learned philosophy' mode and also my first en
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.
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.
Joan Sebastián Araujo Arena
En el curso de Teorética I, nuestra profesora no podía evitar burlarse de Descartes de vez en cuando. No dejó de señalar en ninguna de sus clases que el argumento ontológico no era suyo sino de san Anselmo, y avanzaba rápido realizando grandes omisiones al mismo tiempo que nos decía: «todo lo que obviado, deberían leerlo ustedes».

Avanzamos a través del resto de la obra, las propias Meditaciones metafísicas, y finalmente llegamos a la conclusión de que, luego de haber usado la duda metódica ―expr
I studied some chaptersof it in college, I haven't read all of it. But I liked it.
Jul 10, 2007 Seth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brittany Petruzzi
Excellent work; wretched consequences.
Wow, that took a long time. Note that strictly speaking it's been even longer as I've repeatedly tried to read the darn thing before, in German, starting in the mid-1990s. Make of that what you want...

The short summary of my experience with this book is "Discourse yay, Meditations nay!" and I could leave it at that. But because you started reading this review, you should probably get a little more from me.

First it's important to remember that this was written a long time ago. And for THAT alone,
Having just finished MOLLOY by Beckett, and finding a correlation with Descartes' DISCOURSE, I decided it was time to re-read Descartes.

The father of the famous proposition, Cogito ergo sum, Descartes changed Western Philosophy, and some think not for the better. He famously divided us into Mind and Body, and philosophers have been trying to put us back together ever since, the seemingly intractable Mind-Body Problem [].

Descartes decided that he wanted to
I am reviewing this book after a reread, and my impression of this work hasn't changed much since the first go-round. This is a book that can never be dismissed as antiquated because we will never stop asking the questions it draws from us. How do we know what we know (or say we know)? If we approach this question with honesty and openness, we must confess that much of what we claim to know has been printed in a book by someone we have never met, or spoken to us by a person standing in front of ...more
Discourse on Method is sort of boring. Meditations on First Philosophy is more interesting yet more fallacious (those two qualities go together more often than they don't).


There's too much to say about Descartes for a GR review. I'll just say that (1) Descartes caused me a great deal of anxiety and skepticism as a teenager; (2) I don't completely agree or disagree with him on the soul; (3) he gets the straw man treatment from every pop sci writer and I find that infuriating;
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All About Books: Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes 68 37 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
  • Discourse on Metaphysics & Other Essays
  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • Five Dialogues: Euthyphro/Apology/Crito/Meno/Phaedo
  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonius
  • Pensées
  • Metaphysics
  • Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Ethics
  • Naming and Necessity
  • The New Organon
  • The Problems of Philosophy
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...
Meditations on First Philosophy Discourse on Method The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (Volume I) Selected Philosophical Writings Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings

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“I think therefore I am” 9 likes
“[...] 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.” 7 likes
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