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The Method, Meditations, and Philosophy of Descartes

By René Descartes / M. Walter Dunne / 1901


Print: $48.95


The Method, Meditations, and Philosophy of Descartes contains three of Descartes most important works: Discourse on the Method, Meditations, and selections from Principles of Philosophy. Together, these three books make up the core of Cartesian epistemology. In the Discourse on the Method, Descartes lays out his method for acquiring knowledge by way of an autobiographical sketch of his own intellectual development. In Meditations, Descartes structures his method for arriving at certain knowledge in the form of six meditations that take place over six days. In Principles of Philosophy, Descartes gives a thorough summary of his philosophical system and shows how that philosophy is the basis for his scientific system.

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Key Features

  • Provides a thorough introduction to the work of Descartes
  • Discusses the most prominent works that form the basis of Cartesian epistemology
  • Includes a special introduction that covers the life of Descartes, providing context for his works


  • Introduction
    • Descartes—His Life and Writings
    • Philosophy Preceding Descartes in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries
    • The Cogito Ergo Sum—Its Nature and Meaning
    • Cogito Ergo Sum—Objections to the Principle
    • The Guarantee of the Principle
    • The Criterion of Truth
    • The Ego and the Material World
    • Innate Ideas
    • Malebranche
    • Spinoza—Relations to Descartes
    • Development of Cartesianism in the Line of Spinoza—Omnis Determinatio Est Negatio
    • Hegelian Criticism—the Ego and the Infinite
  • Discourse on Method
    • Various Considerations Touching the Sciences
    • The Principal Rules of the Method
    • Certain Rules of Morals Deduced from the Method
    • Reasons Establishing the Existence of God and of the Human Soul
    • The Order of the Physical Questions Investigated by Descartes; His Explication of the Motion of the Heart, and of Some Other Difficulties Pertaining to Medicine; the Difference between the Soul of Man and That of Brutes
    • What Is Required in Order to Greater Advancement in the Investigation of Nature; Reasons that Induced Descartes to Write
  • The Meditations
    • Of the Things Which We May Doubt
    • Of the Nature of the Human Mind; and that It Is More Easily Known Than the Body
    • Of God: That He Exists
    • Of Truth and Error
    • Of the Essence of Material Things; and, Again, of God, That He Exists
    • Of the Existence of Material Things, and of the Real Distinction between the Mind and Body of Man
  • The Principles of Philosophy
    • Of the Principles of Human Knowledge
    • Of the Principles of Material Things
    • Of the Visible World
    • Of the Earth

Product Details

  • Title: The Method, Meditations, and Philosophy of Descartes
  • Author: René Descartes
  • Translator: John Vietch
  • Publisher: M. Walter Dunne
  • Publication Date: 1901
  • Pages: 371
  • Christian Group: Roman Catholic
  • Resource Type: Collected Works
  • Topic: Modern Philosophy

About René Descartes

René Descartes (1596–1650) was born in La Haye en Touraine, Indre-et-Loire, France. He was a mathematician, philosopher, and writer. He is known both as the father of modern philosophy and as the father of analytical geometry. He is best known for his statement “cogito ergo sum” or “I think, therefore, I am.” Descartes studied at Jesuit College Royal Henry-Le-Grand and the University of Poitiers, where he earned a degree in law. He traveled back and forth between France and the Netherlands throughout his life, writing most of his important works in the Netherlands. Following Galileo’s condemnation by the Roman Catholic Church in 1633, Descartes decided to postpone the publication of his Treatise on the World for nearly four years (and even then he separated it into a number of different books). During this time, he carried on an extensive correspondence with Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia. Descartes was invited to Stockholm to tutor Queen Christina of Sweden. He died there of pneumonia and, as a Roman Catholic living in Protestant nation, was buried in a graveyard for unbaptized infants. His remains were later transferred to Paris. Pope Alexander VII placed the works of Descartes on the banned books list in 1663.