This volume provides new translations of René Descartes’s two most important philosophical works. The Discourse offers a concise presentation and defense of Descartes’ 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 21st century as they were in the 17th. 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.
COMMENTS on Meditations on First Philosophy
“Broadview Press has produced an excellent translation of Descartes’s famous Meditations on First Philosophy. It is accurate, philosophically sensitive, and it rivals any of the translations currently available. Andrew Bailey’s introduction of the text, and his biography of Descartes, is a real plus, and will serve students well.” — Kurt Smith, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
“A very helpful translation. The language is clear, and the supplementary material and notes lay out a cross-section of the interpretive debates, and provide tips for how a reader might approach them.” — David Cunning, University of Iowa
“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