I would also have added a word of advice concerning the way to read this book, which is I would like it first to be read rapidly in its entirety, like a novel, without the reader forcing his attention too much or stopping at the difficulties which he may encounter in it, simply to have a broad view of the matters I have treated in it. And after that, if the reader judges that these matters merit examination, and is curious to know their causes, he can read the book a second time, in order to notice the sequence of my reasonings.
Descartes, "Letter from the Author," The Principles of Philosophy
For Katie: adeo venusto, ut nil supra
['charming beyond compare': Quotation from Terence, Andria]
Scientist, mathematician, traveler, soldier--and spy--Rene Descartes was one of the founders of the modern world. His life coincided with an extraordinary time in history: the first half of the miraculous seventeenth century, replete with genius in the arts and sciences, and wracked by civil and international conflicts across Europe. But at his birth in 1596 the world was still dominated by medieval beliefs in phenomena such as miracles and spontaneous generation. It was Descartes who identified the intellectual tools his peers needed to free themselves from the grip of religious authority and in doing so he founded modern philosophy. In this new biography, A. C. Grayling tells the story of Descartes' life, and places it in his tumultuous times--with the unexpected result that an entirely new aspect of the story comes to light.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:50 -0400)