Briefly: Descartes' Meditation on First Philosophy
The SCM Briefly series is a series of summarized texts that are commonly used on theology and philosophy A level and Level One undergraduate courses in the UK. As students are less likely today to come to these subjects with language experience, the Briefly series, summarising the meaning of the original texts, is a painless and quick way to get to grips with what the philosophers were writing about. The language throughout is modern and approachable, but the books manage to avoid dumbing down by including line by line analysis and short quotes to give students a feel for the original. In addition, each book begins with an introduction, providing a context for the writer and his writings, a short summary as well as the detailed summary and each book also contains a glossary of terms. Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy , published in 1641, was designed for the philosopher and for the theologian. It consists of six meditations, Of the Things that we may doubt, Of the Nature of the Human Mind, Of God: that He exists, Of Truth and Error, Of the Essence of Material Things, Of the Existence of Material Things and of the Real Distinction between the Mind and the Body of Man. However, many scientists were opposed to Descartes' ideas, even in his own lifetime. Although famous as a mathematician, his mechanics of how the world exists, were proven not to be possible by Newton. This did not stop his ideas being championed in Europe for over a hundred years. His philosophy is one that students cannot be without and this Briefly provides a thorough and accessible guide to one of his most important works.
By: David R. Law