Meditations on First Philosophy/ Meditationes de prima philosophia
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This bilingual edition of Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy is aimed both specifically at serious students and professors of philosophy, and generally at anyone motivated by a strong philosophical interest.



Publié par
Date de parution 30 janvier 1990
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9780268161118
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

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Ren Descartes
Meditationes de prima Philosophia

Meditations on First Philosophy
Introduced, edited, translated and indexed by George Heffernan
University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
All Rights Reserved
Published in the United States of America
Copyright 1990 by University of Notre Dame
Reprinted in 2003, 2007, 2013
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Descartes, Ren , 1596-1650.
[Meditationes de prima philosophia. English Latin]
Meditations on First Philosophy = Meditationes de prima philosophia / Ren Descartes ; edited, translated and indexed by George Heffernan. - Bilingual ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-268-01380-2 (alk. paper)
ISBN 0-268-01381-0 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. First philosophy-Early works to 1800. 2. God-Proof, Ontological-Early works to 1800. 3. Methodology-Early works to 1800. 4. Knowledge, Theory of-Early works to 1800. I. Heffernan, George. II. Title. III. Title: Meditationes de prima philosophia.
B1853.E5H44 1990
ISBN 9780268161118
This book is printed on acid-free paper .
This e-Book was converted from the original source file by a third-party vendor. Readers who notice any formatting, textual, or readability issues are encouraged to contact the publisher at .
Meinen Kollegen, den Mitgliedern des Philosophischen Seminars der Universit de Notre Dame du Lac, gewidmet: Denn was k nnte unwissender sein als zu glauben, man wisse das, was man nicht wei ? Und was k nnte unphilosophischer sein als zu meinen, man sei philosophisch, wenn man es nicht ist?
Introduction to this Edition
Meditationes de prima philosophia
Meditations on First Philosophy
Sapientissimis clarissimisque viris
To those most wise and distinguished men
Praefatio ad lectorem
Preface to the reader
Synopsis sex sequentium Meditationum
Synopsis of the following six Meditations
Meditatio I. De iis quae in dubium revocari possunt
Meditation I. Concerning the things that can be called into doubt
Meditatio II. De natura mentis humanae: qu d ipsa sit notior qu m corpus
Meditation II. Concerning the nature of the human mind: that it be more known than [the] body
Meditatio III. De Deo, qu d existat
Meditation III. Concerning God, that he exist
Meditatio IV. De vero falso
Meditation IV. Concerning the true and the false
Meditatio V. De essenti rerum materialium; iterum de Deo, qu d existat
Meditation V. Concerning the essence of material things; and again concerning God, that he exist
Meditatio VI. De rerum materialium existenti , reali mentis a corpore distinctione
Meditation VI. Concerning the existence of material things, and the real distinction of the mind from the body
Selected Bibliography
Introduction to Ren Descartes
Meditationes de prima philosophia
Descartes Youth, Education and Early Years
Ren Descartes, the celebrated Continental rationalist and arguably the very first philosopher to try to realize the ideal of epistemic foundationalism by grounding the theory of rationality rigorously and systematically in the notion of evidence , was born on March 31, and baptized on April 3, 1596, at La Haye (now Descartes ), near Tours, France. Although he had the advantage of being born into an old and well-established family-his father Joachim, for example, was a parliamentary counsellor at Rennes-, so that he would never have to earn a living, he also had the disadvantage of having shaky health as a child-as a student at La Fl che, for example, he was to receive special permission to lie in until quite late in the day-, so that he would later report that doctors did not even expect him to live long enough to reach adulthood.
While the exact dates are not known with any real reliability, Descartes attended the Jesuit Coll ge Royal at La Fl che in Anjou from 1606 to, probably, 1614, motivated by, as he would put it in the Discours de la m thode , the desire to acquire a clear and assured knowledge of all that which is useful for life ( une connaissance claire et assur e de tout ce qui est utile la vie [I, 6]). In the First Part of the Discours , which also contains a highly interesting portrait of the philosopher as a young man , Descartes praised the school itself as l une des plus c l bres coles de l Europe ( 6), yet blamed some of the things that he claimed to have learned there, including that philosophy provides the means to speak seemingly truly about all things and to let oneself be admired by the less wise ( que la philosophie donne moyen de parler vraisemblablement de toutes choses, et se faire admirer des moins savants [ 7]). It was at La Fl che, by the way, that Descartes also acquired that proficiency in the Latin language which was later to make it possible for him to write his major philosophical works in that medium, that is, the Regulae ad directionem ingenii , the Meditationes de prima philosophia and the Principia philosophiae .
One event in particular cannot but have made a deep impression on the young Descartes during his schooldays at La Fl che. For the Coll ge had been founded in 1603/04 by King Henry IV of France (1589-1610 [a convert to Catholicism {1593}]), who on April 13, 1598, had issued the Edict of Nantes, thereby giving the Huguenots (French Protestants) equal political rights with the Catholics, but by no means guaranteeing them unqualified freedom of religious worship. On May 14, 1610, Henry was assassinated by a fanatical Catholic. On June 4 of that year the dead King s heart was ritually transferred to the college at La Fl che. On June 6, 1611, there were ceremonies at the school commemorating the anniversary of that occasion. In that connection there took place the recitation of a memorable poem- On the Death of King Henry and on the Discovery of some New Planets or Stars Revolving around Jupiter, made the previous Year by Galileo -marking both the death of the Founding King and some of the astronomical advances of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), who in 1610 had published Sidereus nuncius ( The Starry Messenger ), recording his discovery of four satellites revolving around the planet Jupiter. Already the signs seemed to indicate that Descartes would live during a time of substantial religious as well as scientific-and that meant philosophical-change and, maybe , even of progress. But at the time one just could not yet know whether, as there had been a Renaissance and a Reformation, there would also be an Enlightenment, that is, an Age of Reason.
To conclude his formal education Descartes took a baccalaur at as well as a licence in law at the University of Poitiers (November 9-10, 1616). One of the most important things that Descartes appears to have learned during his academic education, however, was precisely the lesson expressed by Seneca s ironic remark that non vitae, sed scholae discimus ( Epistulae ad Lucilium , CVI, 12). Disillusioned by theoretical studies to the point of despairing of the originally sought clear and assured knowledge - de penser qu il n y avait aucune doctrine dans le monde qui f t telle qu on m avait auparavant fait esp rer ( Discours , I, 6)-, and resolving henceforth to turn his attention to himself and to the world in order to find such knowledge- de ne chercher plus d autre science que celle qui se pourrait trouver en moi-m me, ou bien dans le grand livre du monde ( ibid ., 14)-, he left France and embarked on his travels in 1618. The first place he went was Holland, where he became acquainted with the respected mathematician Isaac Beeckman, who got him interested in mathematical as well as in scientific and philosophical matters.
There Descartes also composed his first work, a short treatise on music, namely, the Compendium musicae (December, 1618), which remained unpublished during his lifetime.
Descartes Dreams and Philosophical Mission
Now this was the time of The Thirty Years War (1618-1648 [cf. Discours , II, 1: l occasion des guerres qui n y sont pas encore finies ]), and the Catholic Descartes, still in Holland, first joined the forces of Prince Maurice of Nassau (he did so under an assumed name, M. du Perron , Perron being the name of a small fief that he owned in Poitou). But then, having traveled to Germany, Descartes was associated with the army of Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria. In 1619 he went to Frankfurt to attend the coronation of King Ferdinand of Bohemia as Kaiser Ferdinand II of the Heiliges R misches Reich Deutscher Nation (August 28). The official festivities of this occasion lasted from July 20 to September 9. Upon trying to return to Bavaria, he found himself held up by the bad weather of the approaching winter, and on November 10 he was staying in the now famous po le or stove-heated room somewhere, probably, in the vicinity of Ulm on the Danube River (cf. Discours , II, 1: J tais alors en Allemagne ; cf. ibid ., III, 6)-with no one and nothing between himself and his pens es ( ibid .).
It was then and there that Descartes had a vision of a new mathematical, scientific and philosophical system. According to his biographer, Adrien Baillet ( La vie de Monsieur Des-Cartes [Paris: Horthemels, 1691; Hildesheim: Olms, 1972 (Photographic Reprint)], Book I, Chapter 1 [supposedly based on material from Descartes early notebooks]), Descartes had-following a day of very intense philosophical meditation which left him in a state of great mental agitation ( j tais rempli d enthousiasme )-t

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