• Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on the Method

  • By: René Descartes
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on the Method  By  cover art

Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on the Method

By: René Descartes
Narrated by: Mark Meadows
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Publisher's Summary

Plagued with doubt and uncertainty in sensory knowledge, Descartes is struck with the idea that everything he knows is false. He considers the possibility that he has been deceived by an 'evil demon' and is left with nothing to lean on, until he arrives at the phrase 'cogito ergo sum' ('I think, therefore I am'). Clinging to this, he proceeds to reconstruct his doubted world and redefine his understanding. Among the most quoted philosophical works in history, Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on the Method together display the full workings of Descartes' skeptical method and the formation of his famous phrase. Meditations sees him apply the method in a quest to find indisputable knowledge, while Discourse is his exposition of the technique.

Public Domain (P)2018 Naxos Audiobooks

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It is Descartes

It is Descartes, what’s not to like? The reader does a fine job. Well done.

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  • S Khan
  • 04-20-22

More ego than insight!

Writing style is needlessly complicated. Wish he had an editor forcing him to not write the super long complex sentences that hinder the readability of the book. I find that super odd because the author is supposed to be explaining to the audience why he made certain conclusions. But in his defence, he did make it clear in the beginning that he didn’t expect normal people to even take interest in the subject matters. I suspect that it was a work by an elitist for other elitists.

Someone should have introduced the author to the concept or “I don’t know”. Whenever he gets close to basal assumptions where he struggles to explain how something is the way it is, he not only fails to honestly and correctly point that out, he goes on to slap on the good old “God did it” ductape over the problem. He doesn’t seem to understand that saying “I cannot think of any explanation” doesn’t warrant you in therefore saying “the divine/God did it”. As though if the mind of the author fails to solve a problem, it cannot possibly have a solution other than his pet religious beliefs coming in to patch that hole.

Speaking of religious beliefs, it was damn embarrassing. If you are a western reader you probably will not intuitive understand this but for non western and readers from outside of Christian biases, the book reads very odd in many places. For example, at some point the author talks about how many of our abilities and attributes are imprints of God’s image. That his the author’s attempt at masking his Christian belief of man being made in God’s image with sophistry and advanced-paraphrasing. For readers who didn’t grow up with such ideas, it just sounds bizarre. It’s like a Muslim philosopher out of nowhere starting to talk about how wearing a beard is morally significant. I’m sure western audiences would instantly recognise the weirdness of just randomly presupposing Islamic doctrines in the middle of a proof that was meant to be from first principles and self-evident without needing to presuppose his particular Christian beliefs. That’s yet another thing to bring up.

The author thinks that one can’t be certain of anything without presupposing his pet religious beliefs, therefore it follows that his religious beliefs are true. Needless to say that no demonstration is ever made. How would we even make a demonstration of such a childish idea? The author’s solution to the problem of hard solipsism is just to assume that some supernatural deity exists and is good and will not give him a reality to explore without making sure it is all real. He just assumes all of that because without these assumptions, he doesn’t like the discomfort of facing the uncertainty of solipsism. That’s just so childish.

The author also claims to know he knows dreams are not reality and reality is reality because dreams can be random and don’t follow any chronological order. But what if the nature of reality was such that things are random reboots like our dreams and what we experience as reality is just the dream where we rest in some pleasurable consistency of plot and chronology? Why this presupposition that the one that is consistent with an existing plot is more true? Daniel Kahneman actually points out this error mode of the thinking mind where there is a consistency bias we have that is so strong that we will happily accept a lie as long as it is consistent with pre-existing sets of beliefs we hold. So I suppose I know why this author so readily accepted reality as “truly real”. The problem is that it’s disappointing to see someone like this author being so careless about these things.

The author isn’t dumb. In fact, many sections of the book convinced me that he must have been way above intelligence compared to his peers. That just makes it super sad. It looks like his intellect isn’t failing him at all. It’s just this obsession with trying to define and assume a God into existence that makes him abandon reason for fallacy in the hopes of proving his religious beliefs to be true.

I’d have really loved to know what his mind was capable of thinking up without the shackles of the constraints provided to it by one particular view of one particular random religion.

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  • Elaine
  • 12-22-21

The Focus topic of God with Existing

Clear audio. Voice is balanced. Contains; extensive explanations and relatable existentialism - existential thoughts.