Title: Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa...
Publisher: Chez Charles Angot, Paris
Publication Date: 1668
Book Condition: Very Good+
4to (223 x 160mm). 303pp., [xxiii, of tables]. Over 100 fine woodcut diagrams throughout, several full-page. Woodcut printer’s device to title; (small tear to title at upper right margin, slighty browned; slightly rubbed, corners bumped). From the collection of J. Richard D.M. Ex Bibliotheca (18th-century armorial rubber stamp to title and p. 3) possibly French, 1638-1739. Early Illustrated Edition of Descartes’ Discourse on the Method, one of the most influential works in the history of modern philosophy, and important to the evolution of natural sciences. This work features Descartes’ famous line "I think therefore I am," which he wrote in French (Je pense donc je suis) thereby reaching a wider audience in his country than that of scholars. The Discours was originally published in Leiden in 1637. Published also in Paris, the same year as this edition, is an edition by Bobel and De Gras. Descartes started his line of reasoning by doubting everything, so as to assess the world from a fresh perspective, clear of any preconceived notions. In the Discourse, Descartes tackles the problem of skepticism, which had previously been studied by Sextus Empiricus, Al- Ghazali and Michel de Montaigne. The Discourse, divided into six parts, was intended as an introduction to three of his works Dioptrique, Météores and Géométrie. His statements of the elementary laws of matter and movement in the physical universe, the theory of vortices, and many other speculations threw light on every branch of science from optics to biology; all this found its starting-point in the Discourse. La Géométrie contains Descartes’ first introduction of the Cartesian coordinate system. Together with his Meditations on First Philosophy (Meditationes de Prima Philosophia), Principles of Philosophy (Principia philosophiae) and Rules for the Direction of the Mind (Regulae ad directionem ingenii), the Discourse forms the base of the Epistemology known as Cartesianism. The Discours "was Descartes’ first published work, the much-talked about ‘World’ or ‘Cosmos’ having been suppressed or destroyed on his hearing of the condemnation of Galileo in 1632. In 1636, however, when 40 years of age, he felt that it was time to bring his views before the public and publish them abroad. Descartes endeavored to preserve the anonymity of his work with scrupulous care but in the end he found himself compelled to avow his authorship" (Osler 928). Descartes’ Discourse, thoroughly a foundational work in the history of modern philosophy, this augmented edition with many fine woodcuts, remaining fresh and bright. Bookseller Inventory # D4760
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