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The Philosophical Writings of Descartes' (3 Volumes) by Rene Descartes (Author), John Cottingham (Translator), Robert Stoothoff (Translator), Dugald Murdoch (Translator)

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The Philosophical Writings of Descartes' (3 Volumes) by Rene Descartes (Author), John Cottingham  (Translator), Robert Stoothoff (Translator), Dugald Murdoch (Translator)
   
   
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'The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1'
By René Descartes (Author), John Cottingham  (Translator), Robert Stoothoff (Translator), Dugald Murdoch (Translator)

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'The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 2'
By René Descartes (Author), John Cottingham  (Translator), Robert Stoothoff (Translator), Dugald Murdoch (Translator)

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'The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 3'
By René Descartes (Author), John Cottingham  (Translator), Robert Stoothoff (Translator), Dugald Murdoch (Translator)

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Description:

These two 1985 volumes provide a translation of the philosophical works of Descartes, based on the best available Latin and French texts. They are intended to replace the only reasonably comprehensive selection of his works in English, by Haldane and Ross, first published in 1911. All the works included in that edition are translated here, together with a number of additional texts crucial for an understanding of Cartesian philosophy, including important material from Descartes' scientific writings. The result should meet the widespread demand for an accurate and authoritative edition of Descartes' philosophical writings in clear and readable modern English.


"The translators deserve our appreciation, and everyone who studies or teaches Descartes--to any degree or at any level--should adopt their lucid rendition. We have a new industry standard." William Edward Morris, Teaching Philosophy.
 
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More than Bacon, Rene Descartes must be considered as the founder of modern philosophy. A French Catholic philosopher well versed in medieval thought, Descartes also studied mathematics. However, he gradually turned away from the classical formulations of medieval philosophy in order to seek a new foundation for certitude upon the wake of his famous method of Cartesian doubt which led him to the assertion 'I think therefore I am' (cogito ergo sum). This most famous dictum is, in a sense, the foundation of modem philosophy in that it posits the cognitive act of the individual ego and human reason independent of revelation as the ultimate criterion of the truth and even the foundation of exis- tence. This is why many consider him as the father of modem rationalism. Descartes' famous works Discourse on the Method and Meditations on Prime Philosophy, as well as the Principles of Philosophy, which contain his cosmology, are models of French prose and have had immense influence upon modern thought.

Descartes asserted the famous dualism according to which reality consists of two dimensions or two substances, one being the world of extension or matter and the other the world of consciousness or thought. Henceforth, European philosophy has always had difficulty in understanding the relation between the two. Later philosophers have continuously asked how can one substance which is the mind know the other which is the world of matter. It is from this radical dualism that has issued the later division of much of modem philosophy into the camp of the materialists and that of the idealists, or those who consider the mater- ial substance to be real and the other unreal or on the contrary, those who believe the world of the mind or "idea" to be real and the second unreal. In any case, the role of Descartes in the foundation of modem philoso- phy is immense. Moreover, his mathematicization of space and the discovery of many important mathematical ideas, especially descriptive geometry, were also very influential in the rise of modern science although his physics was totally rejected by Newtonian physics which became accepted as the norm a generation after Descartes. 

Note: 'The Great Books of the Western World' recommends Descarte's philosophy writing: 'Rules for the Direction of the Mind', 'Discourse on the Method', 'Meditations on First Philosophy', 'Principles of Philosophy', 'The Passions of the Soul'.
 
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