Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Publication Date: August 5, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781554815548 / 1554815541
  • 160 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Broadview eBooks are available on a variety of platforms. To learn more, please visit our eBook information page.

Note on pricing.

Request Exam Copy

Examination copy policy

Availability: Worldwide

Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy

  • Publication Date: August 5, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781554815548 / 1554815541
  • 160 pages; 5½" x 8½"

This volume provides new translations of René Descartes’s two most important philosophical works. The Discourse offers a concise presentation and defense of Descartes’s method of intellectual inquiry—a method that greatly influenced both philosophical and scientific reasoning in the early modern world. Considered a foundational text in modern philosophy, the Meditations presents numerous powerful arguments that to this day influence debates in epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of religion. Descartes’s timeless writing strikes an uncommon balance of novelty and familiarity, offering arguments concerning knowledge, science, and metaphysics (including the famous “I think, therefore I am”) that are as compelling in the twenty-first century as they were in the seventeenth. Ian Johnston’s translations are modern, clear, and thoroughly annotated, ideal for readers unfamiliar with Descartes’s intellectual context. An approachable introduction engages both the historical and the philosophical aspects of the text, helping the reader to understand the concepts and arguments contained therein.


Praise for Bailey and Johnston’s Descartes editions:

“Ian Johnston’s new translation of Descartes’s famous Discourse on Method will stand with the best and most readable translations now available in English. For readers coming to Descartes’s work for the first time, Andrew Bailey’s introduction nicely situates the text both philosophically and historically.” — Kurt Smith, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

“Descartes was living and writing at a tumultuous time, and Bailey does a nice job of sketching the intellectual environment into which the Meditations was launched, while pre-emptively warding off a number of common misunderstandings of Descartes’s aims.” — Seth Bordner, University of Alabama

“Ian Johnston’s translations of the Discourse on Method and Meditations are clear and accessible to students while remaining true to the original texts.” — Lisa Shapiro, Simon Fraser University

Introduction to Descartes

Translator’s Note

Introduction to the Discourse

Discourse on Method

  • Part One
  • Part Two
  • Part Three
  • Part Four
  • Part Five
  • Part Six

Introduction to the Meditations

Meditations on First Philosophy

  • Dedication to the Sorbonne
  • Preface to the Reader
  • Synopsis of the Six Following Meditations
  • First Meditation: Concerning Those Things Which Can Be Called into Doubt
  • Second Meditation: Concerning the Nature of the Human Mind and the Fact that It Is Easier to Know than the Body
  • Third Meditation: Concerning God and the Fact that He Exists
  • Fourth Meditation: Concerning Truth and Falsity
  • Fifth Meditation: Concerning the Essence of Material Things, and, Once Again, Concerning the Fact that God Exists
  • Sixth Meditation: Concerning the Existence of Material Things and the Real Distinction between Mind and Body


Andrew Bailey is Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean of Arts at the University of Guelph. He is editor of The Broadview Introduction to Philosophy.

Ian Johnston is Professor Emeritus at Vancouver Island University; he has translated numerous works from Greek, French, German, and Latin.

  • • Modern translations of both works, written in clear English that is faithful to the original texts.
  • • Includes an accessible introduction situating the Discourse and the Meditations in the broader context of Descartes’s life and work.
  • • Notes on the structures of the texts, important background information, and common misconceptions are provided to assist the student reader.
  • • Footnotes are included to clarify unfamiliar terms and references.
  • • Numbers in the page margins provide reference to the standard Adam & Tannery edition.

For a sample of the introduction to Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, click here.

For a sample of Ian Johnston’s translation of Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, click here.

You may also like…