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Key Philosophical Writings

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René Descartes (1569-1650), the 'father' of modern philosophy, is without doubt one of the greatest thinkers in history: his genius lies at the core of our contemporary intellectual identity. Breaking with the conventions of his own time and suffering persecution by the Church as a consequence, Descartes in his writings - most of which are philosophical classics - attempte René Descartes (1569-1650), the 'father' of modern philosophy, is without doubt one of the greatest thinkers in history: his genius lies at the core of our contemporary intellectual identity. Breaking with the conventions of his own time and suffering persecution by the Church as a consequence, Descartes in his writings - most of which are philosophical classics - attempted to answer the central questions surrounding the self, God, free-will and knowledge, using the science of thought as opposed to received wisdom based on the tenets of faith. This edition, the most comprehensive one-volume selection of Descartes' works available in English, includes his great essay, Discourse on Method.


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René Descartes (1569-1650), the 'father' of modern philosophy, is without doubt one of the greatest thinkers in history: his genius lies at the core of our contemporary intellectual identity. Breaking with the conventions of his own time and suffering persecution by the Church as a consequence, Descartes in his writings - most of which are philosophical classics - attempte René Descartes (1569-1650), the 'father' of modern philosophy, is without doubt one of the greatest thinkers in history: his genius lies at the core of our contemporary intellectual identity. Breaking with the conventions of his own time and suffering persecution by the Church as a consequence, Descartes in his writings - most of which are philosophical classics - attempted to answer the central questions surrounding the self, God, free-will and knowledge, using the science of thought as opposed to received wisdom based on the tenets of faith. This edition, the most comprehensive one-volume selection of Descartes' works available in English, includes his great essay, Discourse on Method.

30 review for Key Philosophical Writings

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ramzzi Fariñas

    Rene Descartes is an elegant prose writer, but so excessive in considering this and that, that prince, this honorable person and what-not. After reading Key Philosophical Writings, I know that I can champion Descartes for modernizing philosophy from the decay of religious superstitions and Aristotleian drive of the sciences as he clearly dismissed. He believed that thought is integral to truth, even before the sense can have a grasp of the reality in which this truth resides. He errs though, for Rene Descartes is an elegant prose writer, but so excessive in considering this and that, that prince, this honorable person and what-not. After reading Key Philosophical Writings, I know that I can champion Descartes for modernizing philosophy from the decay of religious superstitions and Aristotleian drive of the sciences as he clearly dismissed. He believed that thought is integral to truth, even before the sense can have a grasp of the reality in which this truth resides. He errs though, for narrowing his philosophy in the question of measurement, which for him is closely related to all things, whether natural or corporeal, especially for using it to prove that humans exist with the thought of a god, and therefore this god exists. For I believe, the mind is a versatile medium, and what thoughts conjured here and there, can only be a memory or mere imagination from past recollection such as tradition. His main maxim though, cogito ergo sum, is well acknowledged, for such duality of the human figure represents the internal and external, yet with his rhetoric which is serpentine and repetitive, he does not well put in a clear understanding how the division and relation of both mind and body works in one explanation, except for his primary context of thought and thinking—of rationality before the sense—and god here, god there, yet he considers the existence of god benevolent enough it is not rational to keep it be scrutinized by the other side, of the atheist intellegentsia, invoking only emotional resentment that a godless intellectual has no right. Hence, Descartes is nothing but a philosopher of his time, blinded by the passions of travelling and solitude—with the relentless theism intact. He was never been communal to see a bigger picture of a rational mind, and too isolated to accept that his god, his rationality, can only live to few people now, the same with the time he lived to write it all down.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David

    The first 'proper' philosophy book I ever read. I found his Discourse on Method absolutely unputdownable. I felt at the time that all my bearings had gone and was going through a major crisis - delayed adolescence, possibly, although I was in my early twenties. Or perhaps it was premature mid-life crisis. Whatever. I'd been reading some CS Lewis on Christianity, but there just seemed too much wishful thinking and rationalisation in it, so I read Russell's History of Western Philosophy and liked The first 'proper' philosophy book I ever read. I found his Discourse on Method absolutely unputdownable. I felt at the time that all my bearings had gone and was going through a major crisis - delayed adolescence, possibly, although I was in my early twenties. Or perhaps it was premature mid-life crisis. Whatever. I'd been reading some CS Lewis on Christianity, but there just seemed too much wishful thinking and rationalisation in it, so I read Russell's History of Western Philosophy and liked the intellectual honesty there, the sticking to known facts rather than being swept away on a sea of unfounded dogma. Then I picked this book up, and it was something of a revelation - begin reconstituting yourself by doubting everything except the fact that you exist. It felt to me that I was sweeping aside a rotten old worm-infested building and laying the foundations for something more solid and stable. His writing style is exquisite, by the way.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cliff Hays

    The first half of this book contains "Rules for the Direction of the Mind", "Discourse on the Method", and "Meditations on First Philosophy"; and honestly the first half is all I've read (and reread, and reread, etc.) This is some of the most logically thought out and clearly expressed philosophy you will find anywhere. Not only that, it covers all manner of significant topics such as the existence of things, our own existence, our own perception of our existence, God's existence, the extent to The first half of this book contains "Rules for the Direction of the Mind", "Discourse on the Method", and "Meditations on First Philosophy"; and honestly the first half is all I've read (and reread, and reread, etc.) This is some of the most logically thought out and clearly expressed philosophy you will find anywhere. Not only that, it covers all manner of significant topics such as the existence of things, our own existence, our own perception of our existence, God's existence, the extent to which it is possible to doubt, and so on. Reading this you will find that "I think, therefore I am" misses many of Descartes' most important and skillfully executed arguments. I highly recommend it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    William Schram

    This book was pretty interesting. Most people that are into philosophy have heard of Rene Descartes and his Cogito Ergo Sum solution to the Evil Deceptive Genius. It has some selections from a lot of different Descartes pieces. It contains Rules For The Direction of the Mind, Discourse On the Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, Objections and Replies, Principles of Philosophy, Notes Directed Against a Certain Programme, The Passions of the Soul, and The Search After Truth. A few of the piece This book was pretty interesting. Most people that are into philosophy have heard of Rene Descartes and his Cogito Ergo Sum solution to the Evil Deceptive Genius. It has some selections from a lot of different Descartes pieces. It contains Rules For The Direction of the Mind, Discourse On the Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, Objections and Replies, Principles of Philosophy, Notes Directed Against a Certain Programme, The Passions of the Soul, and The Search After Truth. A few of the pieces are simply excerpts while others are more complete. Along with the philosophical works are an Introduction to Descartes and a Biography on his life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    yórgos

    σκέφτομαι, άρα υπάρχω. 'i almost decided to burn all my papers or at least let no one see them (όταν πληροφορήθηκε την καταδίκη του γαλιλαίου από την ιερά εξέταση). 'we ought to submit to the divine authority rather than to our own judgement even thought the light of reason may seem to us to suggest, with the utmost clearness and evidence, something opposite.' 'at the same time, recalling my insignificance, i affirm nothing, but submit all these opinions to the authority of the catholic church, and σκέφτομαι, άρα υπάρχω. 'i almost decided to burn all my papers or at least let no one see them (όταν πληροφορήθηκε την καταδίκη του γαλιλαίου από την ιερά εξέταση). 'we ought to submit to the divine authority rather than to our own judgement even thought the light of reason may seem to us to suggest, with the utmost clearness and evidence, something opposite.' 'at the same time, recalling my insignificance, i affirm nothing, but submit all these opinions to the authority of the catholic church, and to the judgement of the more sage.' σκέφτομαι, άρα υπάρχω άρα ας τα έχω καλά με την εξουσία.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    One of the easier and more accessible philosophical treatises. This compendium includes both 'Discourse on the method' and 'Meditations on first philosophy' which are essential to get an insight into Cartesian Duality. One of the easier and more accessible philosophical treatises. This compendium includes both 'Discourse on the method' and 'Meditations on first philosophy' which are essential to get an insight into Cartesian Duality.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter Moss

    The book gives you an insight into the mind of a 16th century deeply devout Catholic man. His approach to discovering the truth was reasonable, with an exception of course when it comes to the question of God. Basically, he gives God an exception from the rules of logic, by saying that God exists because we believe or want to believe that he exists. Circular logic. As a result, the book is boring because he goes back to God on almost every single page. It almost feels like he was trying to convi The book gives you an insight into the mind of a 16th century deeply devout Catholic man. His approach to discovering the truth was reasonable, with an exception of course when it comes to the question of God. Basically, he gives God an exception from the rules of logic, by saying that God exists because we believe or want to believe that he exists. Circular logic. As a result, the book is boring because he goes back to God on almost every single page. It almost feels like he was trying to convince the Catholic censors reading this book that he is not an atheist.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Samba Muthui

    Philosophy at its best

  9. 4 out of 5

    Qing Wang

    Too out-dated to be of interest. Lots of the things once deemed as with definite certainty have changed and the arguments based on them read weak and ridiculous now. Read the first 300 pages with great patience in the hope of finding something worth reading, at last decided it's a waste of time. Quickly went over the remaining 100 pages. Too out-dated to be of interest. Lots of the things once deemed as with definite certainty have changed and the arguments based on them read weak and ridiculous now. Read the first 300 pages with great patience in the hope of finding something worth reading, at last decided it's a waste of time. Quickly went over the remaining 100 pages.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wersly

    THE OG PHILOSOPHER SPEAKS! Discourse on the Method > Meditations on First Philosophy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    The father of Duel-ism. Interesting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Clint

  13. 5 out of 5

    Serendipity

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ambivalenza

  15. 5 out of 5

    Imran

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vidyadhar Durgekar

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rahul

  18. 4 out of 5

    João Filipe

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rick

  21. 4 out of 5

    Esther Huszar

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kory

  24. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Correia

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Robinson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gilson Landry S. Brasil

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jerry p Sortini

  29. 5 out of 5

    Konstantinos

  30. 4 out of 5

    Phil Greaney

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