Descartes' Philosophical Writings

Descartes' Philosophical Writings

Descartes' Philosophical Writings

Descartes' Philosophical Writings

Excerpt

In preparing my New Studies in the Philosophy of Descartes I had at first planned to add, as appendices, translations of some few passages from the Regulae ad directionem ingenii and of certain portions of Descartes' letters not hitherto available in English. Soon, however, I found that more was required. The translations by Veitch and by Haldane and Ross were very carefully done, in keeping with the interpretations then given to Descartes' various doctrines. Meantime, however, the many notable works, by Gilson and others, which have appeared since the publication of the Haldane andRoss translations (1911-12), have made possible for us a much better understanding of Descartes' teaching; and call for greater precision in the rendering of his technical and semi-technical terms than either Veitch or Haldane and Ross were able to attain. At the same time, I gratefully place on record my indebtedness to these earlier translations. My own would have been much less adequate, had they not come to my aid in the many happy turns of expression which I have not hesitated to take over from them.

I have also to record the invaluable assistance I have received from Professor T. E. Jessop and Professor W. G. Maclagan; and in the reading of the proofs from Professor Ian Alexander and Dr. W. F. M. Stewart.

Descartes' treatises are here given in the order in which they were composed. The Regulae, left unfinished and post- humously published, is the least immediately interesting of his writings; its value consists mainly in the light it casts on the paths by which he passed to his later and maturer views. Readers not previously acquainted with Descartes are therefore advised to begin with the Discourse and Meditations.

N. K. S.

EDINBURGH July 1952 . . .

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