The cambridge companion to descartes’ meditationsdavid Cunning cambridge, new York: Cambridge university press, 2014; XVIII + 320 pp.; $30.95 isbn: 978-1-107-63048-2 [Book Review]

Dialogue 54 (3):569-571 (2015)
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In early 2014, Descartes’ Meditations joined the short but select list of Western Philosophy texts that have an entire Cambridge Companion dedicated to them. (The list includes Hobbes’ Leviathan, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Locke’s Essay, Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia, Darwin’s The Origin of Species, Plato’s Republic, and Spinoza’s Ethics. Hume’s Treatise is also expected to be added to the list before the end of the year.) To set itself apart from the many existing volumes that offer guidance and clarification to the Meditations, this new collection of essays aims to prove that the Meditations is not a repository of considered, fully-articulated and spelled-out Cartesian views but rather the exposition of the process, the sequence of steps for arriving at such views. To that end, the rhetorical aspects of the Meditations are especially emphasized: who is speaking, who is spoken to, the manner in which things are phrased, the setting as well as the intended goal of (the speaker of) the Meditations are carefully scrutinized.


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