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The Cambridge Companion to Descartes (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (edition 1992)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0521366968, Paperback)"Descartes is still rightly called the father of modern philosophy," John Cottingham explains in his introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Descartes, for "without Descartes's philosophy, the very shape of the problems with which we still wrestle, about knowledge and science, subjectivity and reality, matter and consciousness, would have been profoundly different." Thus it is not only the philosophy of Descartes that is illuminated by the 14 essays contained herein, but also the philosophical predicament of today.
The contributors are among the most eminent scholars of Descartes's philosophy, including Cottingham, Roger Ariew, and Stephen Gaukroger (whose biography of Descartes should not be missed). Not all of the essays discuss Descartes's philosophy, however. Indeed, as Daniel Garber remarks, "in the seventeenth century Descartes was at very least equally well known for his mechanistic physics" as for any of his philosophical writings. The essays on his scientific work in algebra, psychology, and physiology are also fascinating. Still, at the heart of the Companion are the essays on Descartes's metaphysics. Peter Markie's careful discussion of the most famous sentence in philosophy--"cogito ergo sum"--is especially rewarding. Also worthwhile is Louis E. Loeb's thoughtful exploration of the Cartesian circle, which Descartes raises in his Meditations by arguing from God's existence to the trustworthiness of clear and distinct beliefs while also relying on the trustworthiness of such beliefs in order to prove that God exists. --Glenn Branch
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:25 -0400)
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