Synopses & Reviews
"It is not enough to have a good mind; it is more important to use it well" René Descartes was a central figure in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. In his Discourse on Method he outlined the contrast between mathematics and experimental sciences, and the extent to which each one can achieve certainty. Drawing on his own work in geometry, optics, astronomy and physiology, Descartes developed the hypothetical method that characterizes modern science, and this soon came to replace the traditional techniques derived from Aristotle. Many of Descartes’ most radical ideas—such as the disparity between our perceptions and the realities that cause them—have been highly influential in the development of modern philosophy. This edition sets the Discourse on Method in the wider context of Descartes’ work, with the Rules for Guiding One’s Intelligence in Searching for the Truth (1628), extracts from The World (1633) and selected letters from 1636-9. A companion volume, Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings, is also published in Penguin Classics.
The age of Newton marks one of the great turning points in intellectual history, and Descartes has a key place at its very heart. Designed for students who approach Descartes from the point of view of his philosophy of science, this is the second of a new two-volume edition of the works of Descartes in Penguin Classics. Descartes did major research in optics, geometry, astronomy, and physiology, although (partly because Galileo had just been condemned by the Inquisition) he published nothing until he was over forty. The Discourse forms the preface to his first coLLection of scientific papers, outlining a new method based on hypothesis and deduction, which effectively replaced Adstotelian techniques. This edition puts the work in context by including extracts from Descartes' correspondence, the Rules for Guiding One's Intelligence, and The World -- a posthumously published summary of his physical theories.
In the PENGUIN CLASSICS series, the second book in a two volume edition of the works of the seventeenth century French philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes. It includes the discussion on scientific method, DISCOURSE ON METHOD as well as a selection of correspondence and letters to critics.
Includes bibliographical references (p. xxxv-xxxvi) and index.
Table of Contents
Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Desmond M. Clarke
Note on References to Descartes
Discourse on the Method for Guiding One's Reason and Searching for Truth in the Sciences
Selected Correspondence, 1636-9
The World, or a Treatise on Light (Chapter 1-7)
Rules for Guiding One's Intelligence in Searching for the Truth