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Meditations on First Philosophy: In Which the Existence of God and the Distinction of the Soul from the Body Are Demonstrated [Hardcover]

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Item description for Meditations on First Philosophy: In Which the Existence of God and the Distinction of the Soul from the Body Are Demonstrated by Rene Descartes & Deena Weinberg...

Many other matters respecting the attributes of God and my own nature or mind remain for consideration; but I shall possibly on another occasion resume the investigation of these. Now (after first noting what must be done or avoided, in order to arrive at a knowledge of the truth) my principal task is to endeavour to emerge from the state of doubt into which I have these last days fallen, and to see whether nothing certain can be known regarding material things.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: BN Publishing
Pages   102
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.55" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.58 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 25, 2008
ISBN  9562916189  
ISBN13  9789562916189  

Availability  51 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 01:26.
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More About Rene Descartes & Deena Weinberg

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Rene Descartes(1596-1650), French philosopher and mathematician, is generally regarded as the founder of modern philosophy.
Desmond Clarkeis professor of philosophy at Unviersity College, Cork."

Rene Descartes was born in 1596 and died in 1650.

Rene Descartes has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy
  2. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  3. Penguin Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern

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Reviews - What do customers think about Meditations on First Philosophy: In Which the Existence of God and the Distinction of the Soul from the Body Are Demonstrated?

Difficult Read  Apr 4, 2008
This book was translated from old French. It was in English but I could barely make sense of it and i'm into these kinds of books. I don't know whether it was his style that I didn't like or it was just plain hard to read. Could be because it was written so long ago.

This book has words from the 1500's that no one uses anymore. The book discusses the soul and the body. Physics, Astronomy , Medicine and Science. This is 100 pages of heavy stuff. If you are very patient, interested in Philosophy and very smart you may like this book..

Had to write a school term paper  Jan 7, 2008
I had to write a school term paper. I chose Mediation. After researching it a bit, I changed the paper's subject. I only looked through this book I have not read it.
The best introduction to modern philosophy in a reliable and cheap edition!  Sep 1, 2005
Descartes' meditations really is the place to start for thinking through the philosophical obsessions of the modern era -- the value of skepticism, the nature and extent of knowledge, the relation between mind and body, the role of theology in a rational account of the universe, subjectivity vs. objectivity, the primacy of the subject, freedom, etc.

This is a book that can be read for these themes even by those who are encountering it for the first time without guidance. At the same time this is a book that rewards reading and rereading, not only in the sense that you should read it more than once but that you should come back to it again and again after you have read the other classical works of philosophy that both preceeded it and that it paved the way for. After a serious study of Kant, for example, you may find that you can come back to Descartes and see that much of the work of Kant's critical project was already prepared for in this little treatise. That is not to say that Kant is not original, but that part of Kant's genius is in thinking through and making explicit the scope of the philosophical landscape that was first mapped out in the Meditations.
Classic of Modern Western Philosophy  Aug 19, 2005
Rene Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy is arguably the starting point for much of modern western philosophy. This short work comprises approximately 60 pages. Potential buyers should note that it does not include the "Objections and Replies" portion that is available in some other editions.

Although there are many important and helpful philosophical works, Meditations is probably one of the few must read for students of philosophy. Cress' translation does a commendable job of allowing readers to interact with this significant historic text. In Meditations Descartes touches on many key philosophical questions, the role of scepticism, the existence of God and mind-body dualism. This short 17th Century text is by no means an exhaustive examination of these issues - its value is largely the historical context it provides. Its arguements have, however, held up remarkably well over time.

Overall a true classic - I highly recommend it. This short book is a handy reference and good value. Some readers, however, may wish to consider purchasing Meditations as part of a broader collection.

The Father of Modern Rationalism Errs in Fundamental Ways  May 10, 2005
Rene Descartes, a great mathematician, surely a creative genius in the field, used his prodigious intellect to answer some of the great questions like how do we know, what can we know, what is the difference between thinking and sensing, and many other questions following from these basic ones. However, in doing so, he painted himself and generations of philosophers into a philosophical corner from which he and others have been trying to extricate themselves for hundreds of years. This philosophical cul-de-sac, this "corner," is known as Dualism.

Using the "method of doubt," Descartes concluded that there were two worlds, the world of mind and the world of the senses. The world of senses could be deceived, nay, easily deceived, whereas the world of mind could not be deceived because it was based on indubitable truths and understandings. These truths and understandings are indubitable because they are "clear and distinct" such as the fact that "I think." The thought "I think" is clear and distinct because it cannot be doubted as such. Whether I am deceived or not about what I perceive or think, there is always an "I" thinking. So even when in error there is an I...thinking.

For Descartes, other ideas are clear and distinct in our minds because God puts them there. For example, the idea of a perfect, immutable, eternally existent God is clear and distinct because God Himself places the idea of him into our minds. Our own finite minds could not even conceive of this God, let alone conceive of Him in a clear and distinct way just because our minds are finite; thus we must have a clear and distinct understanding of Him because He places that thought in our minds.

In sum, there are two worlds: an outside world which cannot be known clearly and distinctly, which is relegated to the realm of imperfection and confusion by the method of doubt, and an inside world (non-material) which can be known clearly and distinctly in two ways:
(1)the thinking I is known by eliminating everything except the I through the method of doubt; and (2) God is known because He put the idea of Himself into my mind. Thus, "Dualism"arises.

To write a full exposition of the problem of Dualism would, I think, require a lengthy treatise or monograph so I shall briefly list some of the problems with this theory at this point.
A. The mind is often telling us to move towards or away from various experiences and places; likewise various bodily sensations will effect our thinking. Dualism thus does not account for the influence or interaction of mind on the body or vice-versa.
B. Dualism does not really satisfactorily rule out that a body cannot think or that bodily motions are not thought. May it not be that body is implicated in some way in our thinking even though when I think or say "I think" I am not aware of that bodily involvement? Does the "I think" necessarily exclude the idea of extension? It's never demonstrated.
C. Has the idea of God really come from God? Has He put it in our minds? Does not our conception of Him also depend upon our books, our friends, our institutions, etc.?
Though an angel is more perfect than we, we might have an idea of an angel without the angel having caused it in us.
D. If the idea of God comes into our minds from God, why is it that many peoples in the world do not have the idea of the Christian Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in their minds when they "think" of God?
E. Why does an atheist agree about the existence of a triangle (which is understood for Descartes in an a priori sense just like the way we experience God), but not about the existence of God?
F. Why cannot that which we perceive clearly and distinctly also be doubted? What can we ever embrace if clarity and distinctness are our criteria for knowing?
G. Since the mind according to Descartes can only comprehend God in a manner that is "utterly inadequate," how can one "investigate with sufficient clarity and distinctness" what or who God is as Descartes proposes to do?"
H. Why is it better to know of God's existence by a purely inferential criterion (He put the idea in my mind) rather than by the scholastic method of going back to a Cause of all existent things, the basic Prime Mover? Does not the scholastic method have the advantage of not being self-referent nor depending on a mere inference to justify God's existence?
I. How does it follow from the fact that one is unaware that anything else belongs to one's essence that nothing else really belongs to one's essence?
J. The mind is affirmed in Descartes by a process of negation of bodily knowledge. However, there is no real exposition of the mind's operations.
K. Why is there no discussion of morals in the dualistic scheme proposed by Descartes? Is this not a serious omission?
L. Why does the idea of an immutable, eternal God need a cause? The idea of a triangle is immutable and eternal, but does not need a cause.
M. Descartes has described an insecure universe. Rationalism is king. In his version of the universe, mathe-matics is king, but empirical understandings are built on shifting sand, and are always untrustworthy. Descartes' God has created an almost unintelligible material world. Yet, this goes against both our observations and against the dependability of scientific conclusions.
We observe a regularity of seasons and of day and night following each other, and many other regularities besides. Science observes and defines law-like operations in the material world that cannot be observed by the unaided eye; yet that knowledge produces remarkable and consistent results. Does not this suggest more certainty in empirical knowledge than Descartes would be prone to accept?

N. Descartes' rationalism verges on solipsism because of the unreliability of shared, "outer" experience.

With so many areas for possible objections, I think it would be fair to say that Descartes' Dualism is more problematic than helpful.

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