Literature Study GuidesDiscourse On The Method

Discourse on the Method | Study Guide

Rene Descartes

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Rene Descartes

Year Published





Autobiography, Philosophy

At a Glance

Discourse on Method is distinguished in the history of philosophy as it was one of the first philosophical works to be written in a language other than Latin. The intended audience was not other philosophers, mathematicians, or scientists, but was instead directed to a more general audience. Descartes explained that he wrote in French so that those of good sense (a group that included women, he said) could read his work. Discourse on Method also serves as an introductory essay for other technical works such as Dioptrics, Geometry, and Meteors. Descartes's writings are foundational, and his famous statement "I think, therefore I am" is well known in modern times, far beyond the boundaries of the study of philosophy.

Perspective and Narrator

Discourse on Method is narrated in the first person by René Descartes.

About the Title

A discourse is a "formal, orderly, and usually extended expression of thought on a subject." The full title of this work is Discourse on Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences. Because of the happiness and peace of mind it has brought him, René Descartes presents a lengthy explanation of the method he has developed to conduct his life and studies.


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