Linked bibliography for the SEP article "René Descartes" by Gary Hatfield

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Note on references and abbreviations: References to Descartes' works as found herein use the pagination of the Adam and Tannery volumes (AT), Oeuvres de Descartes, 11 vols. The citations give volume and page numbers only (dropping the abbreviation “AT”). Where possible, the Cottingham, Stoothoff, Murdoch, and Kenny translation, The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, 3 vols., has been used; it shows the AT pagination in the margins. Where the translation has been emended, the citation is marked with an asterisk (*). The AT volume numbers provide a guide to which work is being cited in translation: vols. 1–5, correspondence; vol. 6, Discourse and essays (including the Dioptrics and Meteorology); vol. 7, Meditations; vol. 10, Rules; vol. 11:1–118, World, or Treatise on Light; vol. 11:119–222, Treatise on Man; vol. 11:301–488, Passions. Where there is no accessible translation for a citation from AT, the citation is shown in italics. Works that are broken into parts and/or articles are cited by abbreviated title, part, and article: Med. for the Meditations, Met. for the Meteorology, Princ. for the Principles, and Pass. for the Passions.

Primary Literature: Works by Descartes

Original editions and early translations of major works

  • 1637. Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verité dans les sciences: plus la dioptrique, les meteores, et la geometrie, qui sont des essais de cete methode. Leiden: Jan Maire. Digitized photographic reproduction (DPR) online (pdf).
  • 1641. Meditationes de prima philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animae immortalitas demonstrantur. Paris: Michel Soly. DPR online (pdf).
  • 1642. Meditationes de prima philosophia, in quibus Dei existentia & animae humanae à corpore distinctio demonstrantur: his adjunctae sunt variae objectiones doctorum virorum in istas de Deo & anima demonstrationes, cum responsionibus authoris, 2dn edn. Amsterdam: Elzevir. The main title was changed from the first edition, which had promised to demonstrate “the immortality of the soul”; this edition promises to demonstrate “the distinction of the human soul from the body.” The seventh set of Objections and Replies first appeared in the second edition.
  • 1644. Principia philosophiae. Amsterdam: Elzevir. DPR online (pdf and tiff).
  • 1644. Specimina philosophiae, seu Dissertatio de methodo recte regendae rationis & veritatis in scientiis investigandae: Dioptrice et Meteora, trans. Etienne de Courcelles. Amsterdam: Elzevir. DPR online (pdf).
  • 1647. Les meditations metaphysiques, touchant la premiere philosophie, dans lesquelles l'existence de Dieu, & la distinction réele entre l'ame & le corps de l'homme, sont demonstrées: et les Objections faites contre ces Meditations par diverses personnes tres-doctes, avec les réponses de l'Auteur, trans. Louis-Charles d'Albert, duc de Luynes (Meds.) and Claude Clerselier (Objections and Replies). Paris: Jean Camusat and Pierre Le Petit. DPR online (pdf). The Seventh Objections and Replies appeared first in the 2nd French edn. (1661).
  • 1647. Les principes de la philosophie, trans. Claude Picot. Paris: Henry Le Gras. DPR online (pdf). Descartes added an “Author's letter” to the translation, as a preface. (Scholar)
  • 1649. A discourse of a method for the well guiding of reason, and the discovery of truth in the sciences. London: Thomas Newcombe. Available through Early English Books Online (EEBO, accessible through many College and University libraries).
  • 1649. Les passions de l'ame. Paris: Henry Le Gras. DPR online (pdf).
  • 1650. Passiones animae, trans. Henry Desmarets. Amsterdam: Elzevir. DPR online (pdf).
  • 1650. The passions of the soule. London: John Martin and John Ridley. Available through EEBO.
  • 1657–67. Lettres, où sont traittées les plus belles questions de la morale, physique, medecine, et des mathematiques, 3 vols., ed. Claude Clerselier. Paris: Charles Angot. DPRs online, Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 (pdf).
  • 1662. De homine, trans. Florentius Schuyl. Leiden: Leffen and Moyardum. DPR online (pdf).
  • 1664. Le monde, ou, Le traite de la lumiere, et des autres principaux objects des sens. Paris: Girad. DPR online (pdf).
  • 1664. L'homme, et un Traitté de la formation du foetus, ed. Claude Clerselier. Paris: Charles Angot. DPR online (pdf). This is the first edition of Descartes' original French. It includes Remarks by Louis de la Forge and a translation of Florentius Schuyl's preface to the Latin translation.
  • 1680. Six metaphysical meditations wherein it is proved that there is a God and that mans mind is really distinct from his body: hereunto are added the objections made against these meditations by Thomas Hobbes, with the authors answers, trans. William Molyneux. London: Benjamin Tooke. This translation of the six Meditations proper is reprinted in Gaukroger (2006). The entire book (including the Third Objections and Replies) is available through EEBO. (Scholar)
  • 1701. Opuscula posthuma, physica et mathematica. Amsterdam: Blaeu. DPR online (pdf). The first publication of the Rules in Latin (a Dutch translation had appeared in 1684), together with other writings.

Recent English translations

  • 1965. Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology, trans. Paul J. Olscamp. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.
  • 1972. Treatise of Man, trans. Thomas S. Hall. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. With an introduction and many explanatory notes.
  • 1983. Principles of Philosophy, trans. V. R. Miller and R.P. Miller. Dordrecht: Reidel. A complete translation of the Principles.
  • 1984–91. Philosophical Writings of Descartes, 3 vols., trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, Dugald Murdoch, and Anthony Kenny. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1989. Passions of the Soul, trans. Stephen H. Voss. Indianapolis: Hackett.
  • 1990. Meditations on First Philosophy = Meditationes de prima philosophia, trans. George Heffernan. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. A literal translation of the six Meditations proper, with facing-page Latin.
  • 1998. Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings, trans. Desmond M. Clarke. London: Penguin.
  • 1998. Regulae ad directionem ingenii = Rules for the Direction of the Natural Intelligence: A Bilingual Edition of the Cartesian Treatise on Method, ed. and tr. George Heffernan. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi.
  • 1998. World and Other Writings, trans. Stephen Gaukroger. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1999. Discourse on Method and Related Writings, trans. Desmond M. Clarke. London: Penguin.
  • 2008. Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies, trans. Michael Moriarty. Oxford: Oxford University Press. A fresh translation with detailed explanatory notes.

Secondary Literature


Other Readings

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