Public Domain English Translation by Elizabeth S. Haldane
Prefatory Note To The Meditations.
The first edition of the Meditations was published in Latin by Michael Soly of Paris at the Sign of the Phoenix in 1641 cum Privilegio et Approbatione Doctorum. The Royal privilege was indeed given, but the approbation seems to have been of a most indefinite kind. The reason of the book being published in France and not in Holland, where Descartes was living in a charming country house at Endegeest near Leiden, was apparently his fear that the Dutch ministers might in some way lay hold of it. His friend, Pere Mersenne, took charge of its publication in Paris and wrote to him about any difficulties that occurred in the course of its progress through the press. The second edition was however published at Amsterdam in 1642 by Louis Elzevir, and this edition was accompanied by the now completed Objections and Replies.2 The edition from which the present translation is made is the second just mentioned, and is that adopted by MM. Adam and Tannery as the more correct, for reasons that they state in detail in the preface to their edition. The work was translated into French by the Duc de Luynes in 1642 and Descartes considered the translation so excellent that he had it published some years later. Clerselier, to complete matters, had the Objections also published in French with the Replies, and this, like the other, was subject to Descartes' revision and correction. This revision renders the French edition specially valuable. Where it seems desirable an alternative reading from the French is given in square brackets.
Elizabeth S. Haldane
To the Most Wise and Illustrious the Dean and Doctors of the Sacred Faculty of Theology in Paris.
Preface to the Reader
Synopsis of the Six Following Meditations.
|Meditations On First Philosophy
in which the Existence of God and the
Distinction Between Mind and Body are Demonstrated. 9
> Meditation I
Of the things which may be brought within the sphere of the doubtful
Of the Nature of the Human Mind;
and that it is more easily known than the Body
Of God: that He exists
Of the True and the False
Of the essence of material things,
and, again, of God, that He exists
Of the Existence of Material Things,
and of the real distinction between the
Soul and Body of Man
1 Copyright: 1996, James Fieser (firstname.lastname@example.org), all rights reserved. Unaltered copies of this computer text file may be freely distribute for personal and classroom use. Alterations to this file are permitted only for purposes of computer printouts, although altered computer text files may not circulate. Except to cover nominal distribution costs, this file cannot be sold without written permission from the copyright holder.
2 For convenience sake the Objections and Replies are published in the second volume of this edition.
3 The French version is followed here.
4 The French version is followed here.
5 When it is thought desirable to insert additional readings from the French version this will be indicated by the use of square brackets.
6 Between the Praefatio ad Lectorem and the Synopsis, the Paris Edition (1st Edition) interpolates an Index which is not found in the Amsterdam Edition (2nd Edition). Since Descartes did not reproduce it, he was doubtless not its author. Mersenne probably composed it himself, adjusting it to the paging of the first Edition. (Note in Adam and Tannery's Edition.)
9 In place of this long title at the head of the page the first Edition had immediately after the Synopsis, and on the same page 7, simply First Meditation. (Adam's Edition.)
10 Or form an image (effingo).
12 entendement F., mens L.
14 sensus communis.
15 Percipio, F. nous concevons.
16 The French version is followed here as being more explicit. In it action de mon esprit replaces mea cogitatio.
17 In the Latin version similitudinem.
18 Not in the French version.
21 In the idea of whom alone necessary or eternal existence is comprised. French version.
22 From the moment that. French version.
23 Conception, French version. intellectionem, Latin version.
25 acie mentis.
27 sensus communis.
28 Latin version only.
29 spini dorsae medullam.