Discorso sul Metodo

Il Discorso sul metodo è la prima opera pubblicata da René Descartes (italianizzato in Cartesio) in forma anonima e in francese nel 1637 a Leida congiuntamente a tre saggi scientifici La diottrica, Le meteore, La geometria, dei quali costituisce la prefazione.
Il discorso è quindi da considerarsi come «un tutt’uno con i saggi».
Il titolo originale prova questo intento di unitarietà dell’opera: “Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison, et chercher la verité dans les sciences Plus la Dioptrique, les Meteores, et la Geometrie qui sont des essais de cete Methode” (Discorso sul metodo per un retto uso della propria ragione e per la ricerca della verità nelle scienze più la diottrica, le meteore e la geometria che sono saggi di questo metodo.)
L’argomento dell’opera è indicato dallo stesso Cartesio:

«Se questo discorso sembra troppo lungo per essere letto tutto in una volta, lo si potrà dividere in sei parti. E si troveranno, nella prima, diverse considerazioni sulle scienze. Nella seconda, le principali regole del metodo che l’autore ha cercato. Nella terza, qualche regola della morale ch’egli ha tratto da questo metodo. Nella quarta, gli argomenti con i quali prova l’esistenza di Dio e dell’anima dell’uomo, che sono i fondamenti della sua metafisica. Nella quinta, la serie delle questioni di fisica che ha esaminato, in particolare la spiegazione del movimento del cuore e di qualche altra difficoltà della medicina e, ancora, la differenza tra l’anima nostra e quella dei bruti. Nell’ultima, le cose ch’egli crede siano richieste per andare avanti nello studio della natura più di quanto si è fatto, e i motivi che lo hanno indotto a scrivere.»

“Ego cogito, ergo sum, sive existo.”
“Io penso, dunque sono, ossia esisto.”
(René Descartes, Discours de la Méthode, IV.)

Renato Cartesio (La Haye en Touraine, 31 marzo 1596 – Stoccolma, 11 febbraio 1650), è stato un filosofo e matematico francese, ritenuto fondatore della matematica e della filosofia moderna.
Cartesio estese la concezione razionalistica di una conoscenza ispirata alla precisione e certezza delle scienze matematiche a ogni aspetto del sapere, dando vita a quello che oggi è conosciuto con il nome di razionalismo continentale, una posizione filosofica dominante in Europa tra il XVII e il XVIII secolo.

Introduzione e commento di Adolfo Levi

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Principal Doctrines

Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by Democritus, Aristippus, Pyrrho, and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as “the Garden”, in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects. He openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. Epicurus is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him—the letters to Menoeceus, Pythocles, and Herodotus—and two collections of quotes—the Principle Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings—have survived intact, along with a few fragments of his other writings. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, and with hostile but largely accurate accounts by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the statesman and Academic Skeptic Cicero.

Translated by Robert Drew Hicks

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On Happiness – Letter to Menoeceus

Epicurus’ Epistle to Menoeceus is a summary of the ethical teachings of Epicurean philosophy written in the epistolary literary style, and addressed to a student. It addresses theology, the hierarchies of desires, how to carry choices and avoidances in order to achieve net pleasure, and other aspects of Epicurean ethics. It is the most important of the three surviving letters of Epicurus.

Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by Democritus, Aristippus, Pyrrho, and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as “the Garden”, in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects. He openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. Epicurus is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him—the letters to Menoeceus, Pythocles, and Herodotus—and two collections of quotes—the Principle Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings—have survived intact, along with a few fragments of his other writings. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, and with hostile but largely accurate accounts by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the statesman and Academic Skeptic Cicero.

Translated by Robert Drew Hicks

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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is a book by the Scottish empiricist philosopher David Hume, published in English in 1748.
It was a revision of an earlier effort, Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature, published anonymously in London in 1739–40. Hume was disappointed with the reception of the Treatise, which “fell dead-born from the press,” as he put it, and so tried again to disseminate his more developed ideas to the public by writing a shorter and more polemical work.
The end product of his labours was the Enquiry. The Enquiry dispensed with much of the material from the Treatise, in favor of clarifying and emphasizing its most important aspects. For example, Hume’s views on personal identity do not appear. However, more vital propositions, such as Hume’s argument for the role of habit in a theory of knowledge, are retained.
This book has proven highly influential, both in the years that would immediately follow and today. Immanuel Kant points to it as the book which woke him from his self-described “dogmatic slumber.” The Enquiry is widely regarded as a classic in modern philosophical literature.

David Hume (26 April 1711 – 25 August 1776) was a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, scepticism, and naturalism. Beginning with A Treatise of Human Nature (1739–40), Hume strove to create a naturalistic science of man that examined the psychological basis of human nature. Hume argued against the existence of innate ideas, positing that all human knowledge derives solely from experience. This places him with Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and George Berkeley, as a British Empiricist.

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