By Georges Dicker
Descartes' Meditations continues to the studied at all levels of the philosophy curriculum, from the introductory course to the graduate seminar. Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction is addressed to students at all these levels. For the beginner, Professor Dicker provides historical background and elicits from the text several basic issues of metaphysics and epistemology. Students of the history of modern philosophy will benefit from his balanced coverage of the main themes and arguments of the Meditations and several of the criticisms that they have evoked. To address still more advanced readers, he frequently discusses recent Descartes scholarship, and offers his own reflections on Cartesian doubt, the cogito, the causal and ontological proofs of God's existence, the Cartesian circle, Cartesian dualism, and Descartes' views about the material world. The book is written and organized in such a way as to be widely accessible, without unduly oversimplifying issues or sacrificing rigour. It includes and cross-references the full text of Meditations I, II, and V, and most of Meditations III and VI.