This book offers a new introduction, guiding the student through the key concepts of Descartes' work by examining the overall development of his ideas. Rene Descartes was the founding father of modern Western philosophy and a pivotal thinker in the history of this fascinating subject. The history of philosophy since his time cannot be adequately understood without appreciating how Descartes changed our thinking on a huge range of philosophical issues. Covering all the key concepts of his work, "Starting with Descartes" provides an accessible introduction to the ideas of this enormously significant philosopher. Thematically structured, the book leads the reader through a thorough overview of the development of Descartes' thought, resulting in a more complete understanding of the roots of his philosophical concerns. Offering coverage of the full range of Descartes' ideas, the book explores his major work "The Meditations on First Philosophy" and his basic methodology of philosophical questioning.
Crucially the book introduces the historical context in which Descartes wrote and the major thinkers whose work proved influential in the development of his thought, as well as those he influenced. This is the ideal introduction for anyone coming to the work of this pivotally important thinker for the first time. Continuum's "Starting with..." series offers clear, concise and accessible introductions to the key thinkers in philosophy. The books explore and illuminate the roots of each philosopher's work and ideas, leading readers to a thorough understanding of the key influences and philosophical foundations from which his or her thought developed. Ideal for first-year students starting out in philosophy, the series will serve as the ideal companion to study of this fascinating subject.
C.G. Prado is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Queen's University, Canada. His previous publications include Starting with Foucault (Westview, 2000), A House Divided: Comparing Analytic and Continental Philosophy (Humanity, 2003), Searle and Foucault on Truth (Cambridge, 2006) and Choosing to Die: Elective Death and Multiculturalism (Cambridge, 2008).
1. Introduction; 2. Descartes and his Project; 3. The First Meditation: Methodological Doubt; 4. The Second Meditation: The Cogito; 5. The Third Meditation: The Causal Argument for God's Existence; 6. A Brief Interlude; 7. The Fourth Meditation: Explaining the Possibility of Error; 8. The Fifth Meditation: The Ontological Argument for God's Existence; 9. The Sixth Meditation: The World's Existence; 10. Conclusion; Glossary; Select Bibliography; Index.