Synopses & 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 and field research. It is also explicitly the life of Descartes, in the flesh and blood, not a compendium of technical analyses of philosophical positions found in life and works biographies so dear to contemporary professional philosophers. In this sometimes idiosyncratic and iconoclastic book, impeccably researched but amazingly readable, Watson brings Descartes and his milieu to life as has never been done before. Cogito Ergo Sum is certain to be the standard life of Descartes against which all future biographies will be judged.