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By René Descartes

"I concluded that i used to be a substance whose complete essence or nature is living purely in pondering, and which, which will exist, has little need of position and isn't depending on any fabric thing.'

Descartes's A Discourse at the approach to safely engaging in One's cause and looking fact within the Sciences marks a watershed in eu idea; in it, the writer presents a casual highbrow autobiography within the vernacular for a non-specialist readership, sweeps away all prior philosophical traditions, and units out in short his radical new philosophy, which starts off with an explanation of the life of the self (the well-known 'cogito ergo sum'), subsequent deduces from it the lifestyles and nature of God, and ends via providing a thorough new account of the actual global and of human and animal nature.

Readership: scholars of philosophy, sleek Western philosophy, the Englightenment, seventeenth-century historical past, the background of concept, glossy languages

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Extra resources for A Discourse on the Method (Oxford World's Classics)

Example text

I seem to remember that St Augustine follows the literal sense in interpreting Holy Writ whenever no problem arises with another place in Scripture, or with a decree of the Church, or with reason. 24 This is a somewhat tortuous passage, revealing not only embarrassment, but also an implicit suggestion that the Inquisition’s judgement was not of sufficient weight to decide the issue in question; Mersenne’s references to the Church imply a conciliarist position, which sees the Church in Council as the only legitimate body to determine a point of doctrine.

But I must confess that I recently made enquiries in Leiden and Amsterdam as to whether Galileo’s World System was not already there, because I seem to remember hearing that it has been published in Italy last year. I was told that it had indeed been published but that all the copies had immediately been burnt at Rome, and that Galileo had been convicted and punished. I was so shocked by this that I almost decided to burn all my papers or at least to let no one see them. For I could not imagine that an Italian such as Galileo, who was also, as I understand it, well looked on by the pope, could have been made a criminal for any other reason than that he tried, as he no doubt did, to establish that the earth moves.

27 Descartes, meanwhile, continued to tinker with his manuscript. 27 Mersenne, Questions inouyes (Paris, ), q. ; Les Questions théologiques, physiques, morales et mathématiques, ed. André Pessel (Paris, ), qq. , , ,  (both versions); Howard M. Solomon, Public Welfare, Science and Propaganda in Seventeenth-Century France: The Innovations of Théophraste Renaudot (Princeton, ); Premiere centurie des questions traitees ez conferences du Bureau d’Adresse (Paris, ), –;  Cor.

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