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A solid grasp of the main themes and arguments of the seventeenth-century philosopher René Descartes is essential for understanding modern thought, and a necessary entrée to the work of the Empiricists and Immanuel Kant. It is also crucial to the study of contemporary epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. This new edition of Georges Dicker's commentary on Descartes's masterpiece, Meditations on First Philosophy, features a new chapter on the Fourth Meditation and improved treatments of the famous cogito ergo sum and the notorious problem of the Cartesian Circle, among numerous other improvements and updates. Clear and accessible, it serves as an introduction to Descartes's ideas for undergraduates and as a sophisticated companion to his Meditations for advanced readers. The volume provides a thorough discussion of several basic issues of epistemology and metaphysics elicited from the main themes and arguments of the Meditations. It also delves into the work's historical background and critical reception. Dicker offers his own assessments of the Cartesian Doubt, the cogito, the causal and ontological proofs of God's existence, Cartesian freedom and theodicy, Cartesian Dualism, and Descartes's views about the existence and nature of the material world. The commentary also incorporates a wealth of recent Descartes scholarship, and inculcates -- but does not presuppose -- knowledge of the methods of contemporary analytic philosophy.
Georges Dicker is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. He is the author of Dewey's Theory of Knowing, Perceptual Knowledge: An Analytical and Historical Study, Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction (First edition), Hume's Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction, Kant's Theory of Knowledge: An Analytical Introduction, Berkeley's Idealism: A Critical Examination, and of numerous journal articles.