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René Descartes (1596–1650)

Author of Meditations on First Philosophy

453+ Works 17,363 Members 127 Reviews 24 Favorited

About the Author

Best known for the quote from his Meditations de prima philosophia, or Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), "I think therefore I am," philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes also devoted much of his time to the studies of medicine, anatomy and meteorology. Part of his Discourse on the show more Method for Rightly Conducting One's Reason and Searching for the Truth in the Sciences (1637) became the foundation for analytic geometry. Descartes is also credited with designing a machine to grind hyperbolic lenses, as part of his interest in optics. Rene Descartes was born in 1596 in La Haye, France. He began his schooling at a Jesuit college before going to Paris to study mathematics and to Poitiers in 1616 to study law. He served in both the Dutch and Bavarian military and settled in Holland in 1629. In 1649, he moved to Stockholm to be a philosophy tutor to Queen Christina of Sweden. He died there in 1650. Because of his general fame and philosophic study of the existence of God, some devout Catholics, thinking he would be canonized a saint, collected relics from his body as it was being transported to France for burial. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
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Works by René Descartes

Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) 3,914 copies
Discourse on Method (1637) — Author — 2,702 copies
The Essential Descartes (1969) 206 copies
Principles of Philosophy (1967) 144 copies
Descartes Selections (1927) 139 copies
Descartes : Oeuvres et lettres (1953) — Author — 63 copies
Philosophical Letters (1970) 25 copies
Descartes (1979) 24 copies
The World (1979) 22 copies
Valda skrifter (1990) 14 copies
Le passioni dell'anima (2003) 12 copies
The Works of Rene Descartes (2010) 12 copies
Os Pensadores: Descartes (1973) 11 copies
Teoksia ja kirjeitä (1994) 11 copies
De uitgelezen Descartes (1999) 11 copies
Il Mondo. L'uomo (1996) 8 copies
Ausgewählte Schriften (1980) 6 copies
René Descartes (1991) — Author — 6 copies
René Descartes (1960) 5 copies
As Paixões da Alma (2009) 4 copies
Principios da Filosofia (2009) 4 copies
Segno e linguaggio (2000) 3 copies
Choix de lettres 112696 (1993) 3 copies
Oeuvres choisies, Morale (1955) 2 copies
Brief over de liefde (2007) 2 copies
Correspondance t.1 (2013) 2 copies
Correspondance t.2 (2013) 2 copies
Selected Writings (1995) 2 copies
Lettres sur l'amour (2013) 2 copies
Opere 1 copy
Méditations 1 copy
O Discurso do Método (1990) 1 copy
Treatise On Man — Author — 1 copy
Tra utopia e realtà (2005) 1 copy
Сочинения (2006) 1 copy
Dioptryka (2018) 1 copy
Lettere 1619-1648 (2015) 1 copy
O discurso do método (1989) 1 copy
Lettres (2005) 1 copy
Cartas 1 copy
Selections (1955) 1 copy
El discurso del Metodo (1974) 1 copy
Oeuvres complètes (2015) 1 copy
Cogito ergo sum (2013) 1 copy
Briefe 1 copy
Selections 1 copy
List do Voetiusa (1998) 1 copy
Lumea 1 copy
Il discorso sul metodo (1637) 1 copy

Associated Works

The European Philosophers from Descartes to Nietzsche (1960) — Contributor — 440 copies
Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings (2002) — Contributor — 291 copies
Western Philosophy: An Anthology (1996) — Author, some editions — 188 copies
The World of Mathematics, Volume 1 (1956) — Contributor — 125 copies
Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology (2004) — Contributor — 74 copies
Materialism and the mind-body problem (1971) — Contributor — 70 copies
The Range of Philosophy: Introductory Readings (1964) — Contributor — 53 copies
The Sheed and Ward Anthology of Catholic Philosophy (2005) — Contributor — 28 copies
Philosophy now : an introductory reader (1972) — Contributor — 24 copies
Britannica Great Books: Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza (1990) — Contributor — 19 copies
Philosophical Issues: A Contemporary Introduction (1972) — Contributor — 17 copies
Descartes par lui-même (1956) — Contributor — 8 copies
Wijsgerige teksten over de wereld (1964) — Contributor — 2 copies


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Descartes, René
Legal name
Descartes, René
Other names
Cartesius, Renatus
Date of death
Burial location
Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, France
Country (for map)
La Haye en Touraine, France
Place of death
Stockholm, Sweden
Cause of death
Maladie (Pneumonie)
Places of residence
La Haye en Touraine, France
La Flèche, France
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Poitiers, France
Franeker, Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands (show all 17)
Leyden, Netherlands
Deventer, Netherlands
Harderwijk, Netherlands
Utrecht, Netherlands
Amersfoort, Netherlands
Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Oegstgeest, Netherlands
Santpoort, Netherlands
Egmond aan den Hoef, Netherlands
Egmond Binnen, Netherlands
Stockholm, Sweden
University of Poitiers (1616)
Jesuit College, La Fleche
Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia (correspondent)
Queen Christina of Sweden (student)
Armée du duc Maximilien de Bavière (1919|1623)
Ecole de guerre de Maurice de Nassau, Price d'Orange, Pays-Bas (1918|1919)
Short biography
René Descartes, the French philosopher, mathematician, and writer, is known as the father of modern philosophy and the father of analytical geometry. He was a pioneer of rationalist thought and a key figure in the Scientific Revolution of the 16th-17th centuries in Europe; his influence is still felt today. He's perhaps best known in our day for the statement, "cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am), found in his Discourse on the Method (1637) and Principles of Philosophy (1644).



Best thing I've read by Descartes so far
bookonion | Mar 13, 2024 |
AnkaraLibrary | Mar 6, 2024 |
Even though he purports to sweep the slate clean and start from scratch it doesn't feel like it. He starts with "I think therefore i am" and i am quite content with that but then out of nowhere he produces perfection, imperfection, dependency, composition and other concepts which without first analysing and defining he uses to construct God and other things. That really baffled me for it didn't feel at all like a rigorous approach. Though when i think about it it doesn't seem possible to define things without having some things already defined so the whole clean slate approach is not possible in the absolute. He had to start somewhere, with some precepts but i just don't like the precepts he chose for start. Too much was presupposed for my liking.
Still the book was delightful especially for the glimpses into Rene's life and his struggles around philosophising and publication.
… (more)
rubyman | 37 other reviews | Feb 21, 2024 |
essential nature of man
SrMaryLea | Aug 22, 2023 |



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