René Descartes/Works

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A list of some works of René Descartes.
  • 1618. Compendium Musicae. A treatise on music theory and the aesthetics of music written for Descartes' early collaborator Isaac Beeckman.
  • 1626–1628. Regulae ad directionem ingenii (Rules for the Direction of the Mind). Incomplete. First published posthumously in 1684. The best critical edition, which includes an early Dutch translation, is edited by Giovanni Crapulli (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1966).
  • 1630–1633. Le Monde (The World) and L'Homme (Man). Descartes' first systematic presentation of his natural philosophy. Man was first published in Latin translation in 1662; The World in 1664.
  • 1637. Discours de la méthode (Discourse on Method). An introduction to the Essais, which include the Dioptrique, the Météores and the Géométrie. Original in French, because it was intended for a wider public.
  • 1637. La Géométrie (Geometry). Descartes' major work in mathematics. There is an English translation by D. E. Smith and M. L. Lantham (The Geometry of René Descartes, Dover, 1954).
  • 1641. Meditationes de prima philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy), also known as Metaphysical Meditations. In Latin; a French translation, probably done without Descartes' supervision, was published in 1647. Includes six Objections and Replies. A second edition, published the following year, included an additional objection and reply, and a Letter to Dinet. An English translation by J. Cottingham was published in 1996 by Cambridge University Press. HTML Online Latin-French-English Edition
  • 1644. Principia philosophiae (Principles of Philosophy). A Latin textbook at first intended by Descartes to replace the Aristotelian textbooks then used in universities. A French translation, Principes de philosophie by Claude Picot, under the supervision of Descartes, appeared in 1647 with a letter-preface to Queen Christina of Sweden. An English translation by V.R. and R.P. Miller was published in 1983 by Reidel.
  • 1647. Notae in programma (Comments on a Certain Broadsheet). A reply to Descartes' one-time disciple Henricus Regius.
  • 1647. The Description of the Human Body. Published posthumously.
  • 1648. Responsiones Renati Des Cartes… (Conversation with Burman). Notes on a Q&A session between Descartes and Frans Burman on 16 April 1648. Rediscovered in 1895 and published for the first time in 1896. An annotated bilingual edition (Latin with French translation), edited by Jean-Marie Beyssade, was published in 1981 (Paris: PUF).
  • 1649. Les passions de l'âme (Passions of the Soul). Dedicated to Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia. There is an English translation by S.H. Voss (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989).
  • 1657. Correspondance. Published by Descartes' literary executor Claude Clerselier. The third edition, in 1667, was the most complete; Clerselier omitted, however, much of the material pertaining to mathematics.

Collected works in French:

  • 1983. Oeuvres de Descartes in 11 vols. Adam, Charles, and Tannery, Paul, eds. Paris: Librairie Philosophique Vrin.

Collected English translations:

  • 1988. The Philosophical Writings Of Descartes in 3 vols. Cottingham J, Stoothoff R, Kenny A, and Murdoch D, trans. Cambridge University Press.