A Beginner's Guide to Descartes's Meditations

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9781405158558: A Beginner's Guide to Descartes's Meditations

A concise and readable guide to Descartes's Meditations geared toward beginner philosophy students (at A-level, or on undergraduate degree courses) and general readers.


  • Offers clear explanations of the central themes and ideas, terminology, and arguments in the Meditations
  • Features in-depth discussion of Descartes’ correspondence with his contemporaries
  • Illustrates arguments and ideas with useful tables, diagrams, and images
  • Includes a glossary of difficult terms as well as helpful biographical and historical information
  • Includes references to further readings, films, and literature that contain similar philosophical themes
  • Will form part of a series of Guides designed specifically for A-level philosophy students by an experienced teacher and founder of the popular website Philosophy Online

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From the Back Cover:

René Descartes’s Meditations on the First Philosophy is undeniably one of the most important works in Western philosophy. First published in 1641, it contains the bulk of Descartes’s central philosophical opinions, making it an ideal introduction to the founding father of modern philosophy.

A Beginner’s Guide to Descartes’s Meditations offers a concise and readable summary of the Meditations, geared toward students embarking on their studies (at A-level, or on undergraduate degree courses) and general readers. Well-illustrated with tables, diagrams, and images, it provides a clear explanation of the seventeenth century text’s central themes, ideas, and terminology. The guide balances critical analyses of Descartes' main arguments with discussion of his correspondence with his contemporaries (the Objections and Replies) and subsequent criticism. It also provides references to further readings, films, and literature that contain similar philosophical themes. A glossary of difficult terms and relevant biographical and historical information make A Beginner’s Guide to Descartes’s Meditations an ideal companion for those new to the study of philosophy.

About the Author:

Gareth Southwell taught at Swansea College of Further Education between 1998 and 2005, where he also developed online learning materials and educational websites. In his spare time, he developed PhilosophyOnline, the popular resource for both teachers and students. A graduate in English and Philosophy from Swansea University, Southwell is an assistant examiner for AQA, and is about to complete a PhD in philosophy. He also works as a freelance illustrator and has regularly published caricatures in The Philosophers' Magazine.

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