Discourse on the Methods by Rene Descartes

 

**Student Review by Fielding Montgomery**

Genre: Philosophy

In the book Discourse on the Method by Rene Descartes, Descartes writes about the method through which he claims to have proven the existence of God and make substantial advancements in all fields of study.  He describes his process in which he broke down all preexisting thoughts and biases he had and worked on individually reexamining these “truths” to try to discover what is really the truth.  He does this by sitting alone for long periods of time and conversing with his mind.  He lays out a lot of ground rules as to how you should act while using this method to develop your mind, comparing it a house.  He also mentions how this is something you can only do for yourself, you can’t force others to change their thoughts.  He first applies his method to algebra and geometry and has great success.  He later comes to the conclusion that the only thing he can truly prove is that “I’m thinking, therefore I exist.”  Because of this truth, he then decides that his mind must be separate from his body, helping him to prove the existence of God.  He does this by arguing that a perfect God cannot be imagined by an imperfect mind and through geometry.  He then goes on to discuss how he was going to put his work into a book but didn’t want to have controversy like Galileo did so he breaks it into essays.

This book is a very interesting read if you’re into philosophy.  It brings up interesting reasoning on many human things as well as the existence of God.  The quote “I’m thinking, therefore I exist,” is a very famous quote and very deep.  Decartes’s discussions with his mind provide a new way of thinking.  This book has a large vocabulary and is at times confusing to read.  Those who are not truly interested in philosophy will not appreciate this book.  Also, Descartes comes off as very arrogant in how he talks of himself, this could turn some away from the book.  Even through all this the philosophy and thinking is thought provoking.  This is definitely a suggested, short read.

-Fielding Montgomery

 

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