Thursday, April 23, 2009

100 Greatest Books #83 - Meditations

Note - This review was originally published on my other site "The Geology P.A.G.E." but due to the content I have moved it here and backdated the post.

Next up on my reading of the top 100 books is Meditations by Rene Descartes. You can find this book on the Sybervision Book List.

Meditations is only the first part of a two part work. The second part is the Objections and Replies to his original manuscript of Meditations that he sent out to a few colleagues. Now Descartes recommends reading both before making any assumptions about the work. I personally only wanted to read Meditations, so I opted to read a condensed versions of the Objections and Replies. So instead of the full 300 pages I only read about 35. Anyway my feeling on the work of Meditations did not change. In general, the work is written in a very abstract way of writing, where one has to reread the sentence several times just to understand what Descartes is trying to say. When I can understand his point it actually makes a lot of sense. He postulates that if he can make it seem as if nothing existed then he could prove that everything exists, based mostly on the fact that he is a thinking thing. Most of this I could follow and I would agree with, although his proof on the existence of God seemed rather circular, as several of the objections also said, and I never saw anything in his writing that proved otherwise. In general a pretty interesting work but I would not be likely to recommend it to anyone. As for the Objections and Replies, I couldn't find anything in there worth reading that would expand on the original work. The objections were interesting but Descartes replies seemed almost nonsensical to me.

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