Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, 4th Ed.
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This edition contains Donald Cress's completely revised translation of the Meditations (from the corrected Latin edition) and recent corrections to Discourse on Method, bringing this version even closer to Descartes's original, while maintaining the clear and accessible style of a classic teaching edition.
indubitable. So, because our senses sometimes play us false, I decided to suppose that there was nothing at all which was such as they cause us to imagine it; and because there are men who make mistakes in reasoning, even with the simplest geometrical matters, and make paralogisms, judging that I was as liable to error as anyone else, I rejected as being false all the reasonings I had hitherto accepted as proofs. And finally, considering that all the same thoughts that we have when we are awake
while it is in the arteries, than it is just before it goes into the heart, that is to say, in the veins; and, if one looks closely, one will find that this difference appears clearly only near the heart, and not so much so in the more remote parts of the body. In the next place, the hardness in texture of the arterial vein and the great artery shows sufficiently that the blood beats against them with more force than against the veins. And why should the left cavity of the heart and the great
Chapter 3 was composed last of all as an afterthought. The Chancellor, Séguier, having refused to grant the privilege necessary for publication until the full text of the Discourse was submitted to him, Descartes, in order to forestall any possible objections, hastily added the third chapter, a manifesto of political orthodoxy and an antidote to the revolutionary virulence which some might have discerned in the maxim according to which one should, once in one’s life, rid oneself of all the
that I could no longer acknowledge them as mine; I am glad to take this opportunity to ask future generations never to believe that the things people tell them come from me, unless I myself have published them; and I am not in the least astonished at the extravagances attributed to all those ancient philosophers whose writings we do not have, neither do I judge on that account that their thoughts were extremely unreasonable, seeing that they were the best brains of their time, but only that they
much diversity as I had done earlier among the opinions of philosophers. Hence the greatest profit I derived from it was that, seeing many things which, although they may seem to us very extravagant and ridiculous, are nevertheless commonly accepted and approved by other great peoples, I learned not to believe too firmly those things which I had been persuaded to accept by example and custom only; and in this way I freed myself gradually from many errors which obscure the natural light of our