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Descartes: A Very Short Introduction
     

Descartes: A Very Short Introduction

by Tom Sorell
 

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René Descartes (1596-1650) had a remarkably short working life, and his output was small, yet his contributions to philosophy and science have endured to the present day. He is perhaps best known for his statement 'Cogito, ergo sum'. By a mixture of 'intuition' and 'deduction' Descartes derived from the 'cogito' principle first the existence of a material world.

Overview

René Descartes (1596-1650) had a remarkably short working life, and his output was small, yet his contributions to philosophy and science have endured to the present day. He is perhaps best known for his statement 'Cogito, ergo sum'. By a mixture of 'intuition' and 'deduction' Descartes derived from the 'cogito' principle first the existence of a material world. But Descartes did not intend the metaphysics to stand apart from his scientific work, which included important investigations into physics, mathematics, psychology, and optics. In this book Tom Sorrell shows that Descartes was, above all, an advocate and practitioner of a new mathematical approach to physics, and that he developed his metaphysics to support his programme in the sciences. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Much previous literature on Descartes treats his dualistic metaphysics as if it were disconnected<-->in a manner analogous to his problematic mind-body split<-->from his natural philosophy. As part of a series complementing the International Research Library of Philosophy, this volume reflects the trend in recent Descartes studies to affirm the increasing convergence of the history of science and the history of philosophy. While most of the 27 selections collected from 1983-96 readily resonate with standard English language Cartesian commentaries, several translated essays from French and Italian contributors befit Descartes' pivotal role in Western intellectual history. The nine-branched organizing schema includes essays pondering: method; metaphysics and Cartesian metaphysics; meditation and doubt; 'cogito ergo sum'; ideas, truth, and judgement; God; mind and body; matter and motion; and ethics and anthropology. Lacks a subject index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780191606564
Publisher:
OUP Oxford
Publication date:
10/12/2000
Series:
Very Short Introductions
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
798,719
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Tom Sorell is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex. He is the author of Hobbes (1986), Moral Theory and Capital Punishment (1987), Scientism (1991), and editor of The Rise of Modern Philosophy (1993) and The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (1995).

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