This volume brings together some of the best articles on Descartes published in the last fifty years. Edited by the renowned Descartes specialist John Cottingham, the selection covers the full range of Descartes's thought, including chapters on the central issues in Cartesian metaphysics, the relationship between mind and body, human nature and the passions, and the structure of scientific explanation.
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John Cottingham was born in London and educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood, and at St John's College, Oxford University, where he gained Double First Class Honours in Classics and Philosophy; he later took his doctorate in Philosophy at Oxford University. He has held posts at Exeter College, Oxford University and the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, and his visiting appointments have included a Fulbright Scholarship and Visiting Professorship at Randolph Macon Women's College, Virginia USA, and an Erskine Fellowship at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He is at present University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading . Professor Cottingham is the author of numerous books and articles on seventeenth-century philosophy (with special reference to Descartes) and has given several broadcast talks on Descartes for the BBC; he has also written extensively on ethics and the philosophy of law. He was from 1991-5 Chairman of the British Society for the History of Philosophy, and is (since 1993) editor of Ratio, the international journal of analytical philosophy.From Library Journal:
Once in a while, a publication comes along that on first sight seems oddly out of place but on second viewing is admirably suited to its purpose. This little series of biographical summaries of the thoughts of 24 Western philosophers from Democritus to Derrida is admirable not only for its reasonable price but even more for the intelligence and clarity of the writing. Each volume has been prepared by an expert in the subject, and the result is a series of well-drawn and exceptionally useful pocket-size (4.5 x 7 inches) sketches of major figures in the history of Western thought. The level is such that no special background in philosophy is required to understand the concepts discussed. Each volume also contains a short bibliography, some of which refer to electronic journals or web sites. Most of the individuals chosen for the series come as no surprise, e.g., Descartes, Hegel, Kant, Nietzsche, Locke, Hume, Plato, and Socrates. But there are a few unexpected choices, like Alan Turing and Karl PopperAalthough on further consideration, they make more sense. Turing's influence on mathematics and on the development of computers has long been recognized, but his 1936 paper "On Compatible Numbers," which appeared in the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society in 1936-37, influenced studies in the philosophy of mind. Popper's development of the concept of "historicism" in such works as The Open Society and Its Enemies and The Poverty of Historicism significantly influenced 20th-century political thought. Ultimately, this set should be in every academic and public library as well as many school libraries.ATerry C. Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
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