Description

    First Edition of Descartes' Most Famous Work,
    in Which He Stated 'Cogito Ergo Sum'

    Rene Descartes. Discours De La Methode Pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verite dans les sciences. Plus La Dioptrique. Les Meteores. Et La Geometrie. Qui sont des essais de cete Methode. Leiden: Joannes Maire, 1637. First edition. A Printing and the Mind of Man title. Small quarto. a-k4, A-Z4, 2A-3K4. [3 K4, Dutch privilege leaf, in fine facsimile on old paper.] 78, [2], 413, [1], [33], [1] pages. Woodcut device on title-page, woodcut diagrams, woodcut initials. Finely bound by Huser in early twentieth-century full black morocco, spine lettered in gilt in compartments, five raised bands, gilt board edges and turn-ins, red morocco pastedowns, original vellum covers here used as liners, all edges gilt. A carefully washed copy with very minor occasional traces of foxing, and a slight paper flaw on D3. Front free endpaper starting. An exceptional copy of this masterwork. Housed in a decorated marbled paper slipcase tipped in black morocco.
    "He described in Discours de la Methode how, in a day of solitary thought, he reached two radical conclusions: first, that if he were to discover true knowledge he must carry out the whole program himself, just as a perfect work of art or architecture was always the work of First edition; one master hand; second, that he must begin by methodically doubting everything taught in current philosophy and look for self-evident, certain principles from which to reconstruct all the sciences." (DSB.)
    "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 vortices, and many other speculations threw light on every branch of science from optics to biology. Not least may be remarked his discussion of Harvey's discovery of the circulation of blood, the first mention of it by a prominent foreign scholar." (PMM).
    STCN 163704. Tchemerzine IV 286. Guibert, Discours, 1. Printing and the Mind of Man 129. Horblitt 24. Krivatsy/NLM 3114. Norman I, 621. Dibner 81. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Please visit HA.com/6117 for an extended description of this lot.


    More Information:

    Descartes, Rene. Discours De La Methode Pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verite dans les sciences. Plus La Dioptrique. Les Meteores. Et La Geometrie. Qui sont des essais de cete Methode. Leiden: Joannes Maire, 1637. 4to. a-k4, A-Z4, 2A-3K4. [3 K4, Dutch privilege leaf in fine facsimile on old paper.] 78, [2],413,[1], [33], [1]p. Early 20th c. full black morocco in fine condition, spine banded, title gilt on spine, a.e.g., red morocco paste-downs with gilt rule, By Georges Huser (1879-1961, French binder who began work in 1903 and was famous for his fine bindings), original vellum covers bound-in, carefully washed copy with very minor occ. traces of foxing, slight paper flaw on D3, exceptional copy. In a decorated paper and leather slip-case. Woodcut device on t.p., woodcut diagrams, woodcut initials. First edition. Descartes' most famous work, in which he announced 'cogito ergo sum.'

    "He described in Discours de la method how, in a day of solitary thought, he reached two radical conclusions: first, that if he were to discover true knowledge he must carry out the whole program himself, just as a perfect work of art or architecture was always the work of First edition.one master hand; second, that he must begin by methodically doubting everything taught in current philosophy and look for self-evident, certain principles from which to reconstruct all the sciences." [DSB]

    "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 anylitical 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 vortices, and many other speculations threw light on every branch of science from optics to biology. Not least may be rmarked his discussion of Harvey's discovery of the circulation of blood, the first mention of it by a prominent foreign scholar." [PMM]

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



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