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Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy

An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide

Kurt Brandhorst

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Descartes' Meditations is one of the most commonly studied texts in introductory philosophy courses. Rather than simply telling the reader what to think, Meditations invites them to undertake a philosophical journey for themselves. This book is designed to accompany readers on that journey; it prepares them for its demands, helps them to engage with each stage of the text, and suggests ways through the more difficult passages. Brandhorst offers students a fresh approach by bringing to life the path of self-discovery encapsulated in the work and maintaining the focus on metaphysics. Readers are guided through the text step-by-step, which encourages careful reading and presents them with the opportunity to learn to philosophise for themselves. This book engages with what the text says, rather than what is said about the text, in order to help readers discover - or rediscover - for themselves what Meditations has to say.

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Series Editors' Preface
Note on Texts
1. Historical Context and Introduction
2. A Guide to the Text: The First Meditation
The Second Meditation
The Third Meditation - The Search for an Other
The Other is God
The Fourth Meditation
The Fifth Meditation
The Sixth Meditation
3. Study Aids: Glossary
Types of Question You Will Encounter
Tips for Writing About Meditations
Further Reading

About the Author

Kurt Brandhorst is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Valparaiso University


Strikingly fresh and unfailingly astute, Brandhorst's guidebook reconnects us with a crucial but often neglected dimension of Descartes' classic text – the way in which it structures a path to individual philosophical self-discovery. The result is a distinctive and valuable resource for students and teachers of the Meditations, one that deserves to be widely read.
- Professor Michael Wheeler, University of Stirling

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