Meditations on First Philosophy

Meditations on First Philosophy, in which the existence of God and the immortality of the soul are demonstrated (Latin: Meditationes de Prima Philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas demonstratur) is a philosophical treatise by René Descartes first published in Latin in 1641. The French translation (by the Duke of Luynes with Descartes' supervision) was published in 1647 as Méditations Métaphysiques. The title may contain a misreading by the printer, mistaking animae immortalitas for animae immaterialitas, as suspected by A. Baillet.[1]

Meditations on First Philosophy
The title page of the Meditations.
AuthorRené Descartes
Original titleMeditationes de Prima Philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas demonstratur
LanguageLatin
Subjectphilosophical
Publication date
1641
Original text
Meditationes de Prima Philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas demonstratur at Latin Wikisource
TranslationMeditations on First Philosophy at Wikisource

The book is made up of six meditations, in which Descartes first discards all belief in things that are not absolutely certain, and then tries to establish what can be known for sure. He wrote the meditations as if he had meditated for six days: each meditation refers to the last one as "yesterday". (In fact, Descartes began work on the Meditations in 1639.)[2] One of the most influential philosophical texts ever written, it is widely read to this day.[3]

The book consists of the presentation of Descartes' metaphysical system at its most detailed level and in the expanding of his philosophical system, first introduced in the fourth part of his Discourse on Method (1637). Descartes' metaphysical thought is also found in the Principles of Philosophy (1644), which the author intended to be a philosophical guidebook.