Abhandlung über die Methode des richtigen Vernunftgebrauchs und der wissenschaftlichen Wahrheitsforschung

by René Descartes

Other authorsKuno Fischer (Translator), Hermann Glockner (Editor)
Paperback, 1988



Call number

CF 3004 M592



Stuttgart Reclam 1988


'I concluded that I was a substance whose whole essence or nature resides only in thinking, and which, in order to exist, has no need of place and is not dependent on any material thing.'Descartes's A Discourse on the Method of Correctly Conducting One's Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences marks a watershed in European thought; in it, the author provides an informal intellectual autobiography in the vernacular for a non-specialist readership, sweeps away all previousphilosophical traditions, and sets out in brief his radical new philosophy, which begins with a proof of the existence of the self (the famous 'cogito ergo sum'), next deduces from it the existence and nature of God, and ends by offering a radical new account of the physical world and of human andanimal nature.This new translation is accompanied by a substantial introductory essay which draws on Descartes's correspondence to examine his motivation and the impact of his great work on his contemporaries. Detailed notes explain his philosophical terminology and ideas.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jpsnow
This work contains his famous "cogito, ergo sum" after which he seems to leap to other conclusions, including God, that do not necessarily follow. He lived for 8 productive years in wartime Holland, where he was able to isolate himself by moving frequently. He did not publish some of his works,
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having seen the effect for Galileo of publishing great discoveries. This may also have influenced some of his proofs of God: causality implies that something created all of this and I have imperfections; hence there must be something greater than me. He also advocated the power of one master workman in science as in other crafts, and perhaps saw himself as destined to make all of the discoveries along the paths he was pursuing. He observed that what led to knowledge was not so much good sense as pursuit of it through mental effort. He observed that, while giving his mind somewhat of a grounding, formal schooling served mostly to disclose his ignorance and that of those around him. His philosophical method includes regarding as false anything only probable and yet he notes that learned philosophers have debated for years without finding truth in the same matters. Amidst all of this, he is also able to make such practical observations as one regarding fashion: that what pleased people 10 years ago will again please them 10 years hence, and yet be ridiculous today.
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LibraryThing member mjklin
Interesting first part where he "debunks" the previous history of philosophy; but what was all that stuff about the motion of the blood and heart towards the end?
LibraryThing member chriszodrow
This book marks the shift in philosophical speculation, from the Nature-Grace ethos of the Medieval age to that of Nature-Freedom of the Enlightenment. Descartes essentially put an X through the then standing assumptions regarding knowledge. Agree or disagree, this book defines much of Western
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thought to this day.

This is an important book. Funny, most of the really powerful and long-lasting ideas have been in brief books like this one.
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LibraryThing member SkjaldOfBorea
Together with Bacon's New Organon, this small, lucid book is the methodological foundation of the entire scientific revolution - the "birth" of modern science during the 17th century - & perhaps even of technology as such. The celebrated & hypnotic mantra "nous rendre comme maîtres & possesseurs
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de la nature" - to acquire command of all nature by the radically cautious & methodical acquisition of knowledge that Descartes outlines - became a programme, a prize, an obsession, & decided, for good & evil, the size & shape of our universe.
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LibraryThing member Aimapotis
Absolutely fundamental to understand Descartes philosophy
LibraryThing member jculkin
Like a warm bath for the mind, and takes about as long - parts 1-4 at least. Reading it in English, I wonder if he is so straightforward and readable in French. Parts 1-4 are eloquent and minimal, and certainly worth re-reading - meditations of reason. Part 5, home to the famous 'cogito ergo sum'
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line, is pretty tedious after the first page and that very quote. Just skip part 6. The introduction - despite being longer than the actual text - is worth reading. It sets the scene and gives the historical context. Interesting to note that it was originally published in French, so perhaps the line we know him by should rather be 'je pense donc je suis'. If it had ended on that line, I would rate it 5.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

77 p.; 16 cm


3150037670 / 9783150037676
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