Synopses & Reviews
I perceived it to be possible to arrive at knowledge highly useful in life; and in room of the Speculative Philosophy usually taught in the Schools, to discover a Practical, by means of which, knowing the force and action of fire, water, air, the stars, the heavens, and all the other bodies that surround us, as distinctly as we know the various crafts of our artizans, we might also apply them in the same way to all the uses to which they are adapted, and thus render ourselves the lords and possessors of nature. from Part VI of Discourse on the Method Sometimes called the father of modern philosophy, French mathematician, scientist, and writer RENE DESCARTES (15961650) continues to have a deeply profound impact on our modern world. His thinking on how the mind works and what is it capable of has profoundly impacted our understanding of ourselveshe summed up his philosophy with the phrase I think, therefore I am, which still thrills usand his influence extends to our own experiments with modern computing and artificial intelligence. Here, in one volume, are two of the great thinkers most significant works: Discourse on the Method was written in French and first published in 1637 under the full title Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciencesits treatise on the value of doubt and skepticism when studying the natural world laid the foundation for the modern scientific method as we still employ it today. Meditations, originally subtitled In which the existence of God and the immortality of the soul are demonstrated, was written in Latin and first published in 1641here, Descartes considers that nature of the human mind, how we can know whatwe know, and the essence of material things. Essential reading for understanding both todays science and todays philosophy, these foundational works are here presented in the 1901 edition of the 1850 English translations by Scottish poet, philosopher, and historian JOHN VEITCH (18291894).