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Lot
37052

René Descartes. Discours de la Méthode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la vérité dans les sciences....

2011 September Beverly Hills Signature Rare Books Auction #6058

 
Sold for: Not Sold Not Sold
Auction Ended On: Sep 13, 2011
Item Activity: 0 Internet/mail/phone bidders Number of Bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions - Beverly Hills
9478 West Olympic Blvd., 1st Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Description:
"Cogito Ergo Sum."
René Descartes. Discours de la Méthode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la vérité dans les sciences. Plus la Dioptrique. Les Météores. Et la Géométrie. Leyde [Leiden]: Jan Maire, 1637. First edition of Descartes' first published work. Quarto. 78, [2, section title], 413, [1, advertisement], [33, Table], [1, blank] pages. 3K4, the Dutch privilege leaf, in facsimile on old paper. Woodcut device on title page. Woodcut diagrams and initials. Late-nineteenth-century full black morocco by Georges Huser with gilt spine titles inside five raised bands. Red morocco pastedowns ruled in gilt. All edges gilt. Original vellum covers bound in (one partially detached). Housed in a decorative paper and leather slipcase. Text carefully washed, with only very minor occasional foxing. Minor paper flaw to D3. An excellent copy of the foundational work of modern science and philosophy.

This work contains the first appearance of one of the most famous and important phrases in the history of science and philosophy. "Cogito ergo sum" appeared for the first time in the present work in French, as "Je pense donc je suis" that translates into the English proposition "I think, therefore I am". Descartes was writing in French in order to reach a larger audience. The phrase first appeared in the better known Latin form "Cogito ergo sum" in the later published Principles of Philosophy (1644).

"It is no exaggeration to say that Descartes was the first of modern philosophers and one of the first modern scientists; in both branches of learning his influence has been vast... The revolution he caused can be most easily found in his reassertion of the principle (lost in the middle ages) that knowledge, if it is to have any value, must be intelligence and not erudition. His application of modern algebraic arithmetic to ancient geometry created the analytical geometry which was the basis of the post-Euclidian development of that science. His statement of the elementary laws of matter and movement in the physical universe, the theory of vertices, and many other speculations threw light on every branch of science from optics to biology... All this found its starting-point in the 'Discourse on the Method for Proper Reasoning and Investigating Truth in the Sciences'" (Printing and the Mind of Man, second edition, p. 77).

Dibner 81. Guibert, Discours, 1. Horblitt 24. Krivatsy/NLM 3114. Norman I, 621. Printing and the Man, second edition, 129. STCN 163704. Tchemerzine IV 286.

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