The Discourse on the Method for Reasoning Well and for Seeking Truth in the Sciences offers a concise presentation and defense of René Descartes’s method of intellectual inquiry — a method that greatly influenced both philosophical and scientific reasoning in the early modern world. 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 new translation of the original French text is 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.
“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’s Discourse on Method is incredibly rich: it motivates readers to think critically, it introduces Descartes’s ethics as well as his metaphysics, and it aims to show the power of reasoning well. Ian Johnston’s translation is clear and accessible to students while remaining true to the original text.” — Lisa Shapiro, Simon Fraser University