Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies by René Descartes
René Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy is a book I picked up for two reasons. The first is that a friend had been reading and enjoying his work, the second is that I have developed an interest in philosophy due to my university units. I am currently undertaking one literature unit on the Philosophies of Hell and Heaven which is rather fascinating (though I disagree with many points). I figure that if I wish to understand a wide variety of views, I must read about those opinions and philosophers are often a key to understanding theories and ideas.
Descartes work here is slightly different to any other philosophy work I have touched in the last while however. It is broken up into a series of meditations each one touching on a particular thought and following a logical sequence. He attempts to begin by intellectually breaking down anything he has claimed to believe in the past, in order to address the ideas of the reality of God and everything associated with such. He then concludes with a series of objections to his philosophical conclusions and the replies to these objections, making it a work that rebuts as much as it discusses.
It is hard to follow Descartes at times. Much of this is likely due to translation. But what is easily grasped is that he believes we all need to come to our own conclusions about God through thought and not mere theology - that the nature of the spiritual, of God and religion is as much connected to the intellectual as anything else. To some degree its a similar conclusion as that reached by Nietzsche, only Nietzsche rejects spirituality and religion altogether.
So, if you want an older staple of philosophy, I recommend reading this. I will no doubt be delving back into Descartes mind time to time in order to better understand the concept of intellectually thinking about my own revelations of God and humanity. But in the meantime I shall move on to other works and see what they consider.
Rene Descartes – Meditations, Objections and Replies - Prof. Yakir Levin
Meditations, Objections, and Replies
The title may contain a misreading by the printer, mistaking animae immortalitas for animae immaterialitas , as suspected by A. The book is made up of six meditations, in which Descartes first discards all belief in things that are not absolutely certain , and then tries to establish what can be known for sure. He wrote the meditations as if he had meditated for six days: each meditation refers to the last one as "yesterday". In fact, Descartes began work on the Meditations in The book consists of the presentation of Descartes' metaphysical system in its most detailed level and in the expanding of his philosophical system, first introduced in the fourth part of his Discourse on Method Descartes' metaphysical thought is also found in the Principles of Philosophy , which the author intended to be a philosophy guidebook.
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Oh Rene, your Meditations have become one of the most important leaps into modern science ever recorded. And while I'm not completely sold on your views, I think that they are very interesting, and Meditations, Objections, and Replies. This edition features reliable, accessible translations; useful editorial materials; and a straightforward presentation of the Objections and Replies, including the objections from Caterus, Arnauld, and Hobbes, accompanied by Descartes' replies, in their entirety. The letter serving as a reply to Gassendi--in which several of Descartes' associates present Gassendi's best arguments and Descartes' replies--conveys the highlights and important issues of their notoriously extended exchange. Roger Ariew's illuminating Introduction discusses the Meditations and the intellectual environment surrounding its reception. A thing that thinks.