A Discourse on the Method

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Oxford University Press, UK, Jan 12, 2006 - Philosophy - 160 pages
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Descartes's A Discourse on the Method of Correctly Conducting One's Reason and Seeking the Truth in the Sciences marks a watershed in European thought; in it, the author provides an informal intellectual autobiography in the vernacular for a non-specialist readership, sweeps away all previous philosophical traditions, and sets out in brief his radical new philosophy. - ;'I concluded that I was a substance whose whole essence or nature resides only in thinking, and which, in order to exist, has no need of place and is not dependent on any material thing.' Descartes's A Discourse on the Method of Correctly Conducting One's Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences marks a watershed in European thought; in it, the author provides an informal intellectual autobiography in the vernacular for a non-specialist readership, sweeps away all previous philosophical traditions, and sets out in brief his radical new philosophy, which begins with a proof of the existence of the self (the famous 'cogito ergo sum'), next deduces from it the existence and nature of God, and ends by offering a radical new account of the physical world and of human and animal nature. This new translation is accompanied by a substantial introductory essay which draws on Descartes's correspondence to examine his motivation and the impact of his great work on his contemporaries. Detailed notes explain his philosophical terminology and ideas. - ;...what sets this edition apart is its substantial introduction...its copious explanatory notes...The translation is clean and clear. Overall the work is to be recommended. - Roger Ariew, Modern Languages Review, vol 102, part 1;'The care and accuracy of Ian Maclean's new translation are immediately apparentThis edition is remarkable for the ample introductory material which will be of great use to beginners and specialists alike[it] displays impeccable erudition and exemplary clarity.' s - ;The challenge for any translator, as Maclean acknowledges, is to make it accessible to a new generation of readers, without anachronism if possible. This objective is achieved admirably in this edition by informed and confident choices in English...and the addition of explanatory notes when necessary. - French Studies

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About the author (2006)


Ian Maclean is a Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Oxford.

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