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Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of Rene Descartes

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  43 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
Descartes's motto was that a life well hidden is well lived. Much of his own life is obscure to us now, which has led to tales of the great philosopher lying in bed meditating each morning until eleven, writing verses for a Queen, and so on. Many of these myths are exploded in Cogito Ergo Sum, the first biography published since 1920 based on extensive original archival an ...more
Paperback, 375 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published April 30th 2002)
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Tlaura
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This beautiful book has made me feel all mushy about Descartes, something I never would have felt possible. It's irreverent and laugh-out-loud funny in parts, like when Watson drily comments regarding Descartes' missing three years tooling around Germany during the start of the Thirty Years War that "previous biographers have helpfully placed him in several battles". After surveying the evidence, Watson concludes (pretty compellingly) that Descartes likely spent most of those three years in Pari ...more
Mark Haag
Oct 04, 2009 rated it liked it
To begin, this is a Life of Descartes, not primarily a philosophical biography, even though Watson is a Professor of Philosophy.

Watson is an engaging writer-he puts himself inside Descartes' life and times. More than that, he doesn't edit his thinking process overmuch-he includes old anecdotes, family jokes, and snarky comments-upon reading Descartes detailed description of a live dissection of a dog's beating heart, Watson merely comments "Man's Best Friend". That is good stuff, and there's lo
...more
Andrew Pessin
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is really wonderful. It's beautifully written and gives you a very powerful feeling for the great man himself, and it happens to be very funny at times as well. It focuses more on the man than on his work, though you will get some discussion of his philosophy as well as of why he was so influential. ....
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That book sucks 2 6 Feb 26, 2011 11:34PM