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DESCARTES, René (1596–1650)

Opuscula posthuma, physica et mathematica

Amsterdam: ex typographia P. & J. Blaeu, prostant apud Janssonio–Waesbergios, Boom, & Goethals, 1701
4to: *4; 2*2 A–I4 K2; a–f4 g2; χ1 A–C4; A–L4 M1; A–D4 (blank D2; – blanks D3,4); χ1 (a)–(b)4 (c)2 (–c2), 152 leaves, pp. [8]; [4] 74 [2]; 51 [1 blank]; [2] 22; [2] 90; 26 [2 blank]; [2] 17 [1]. Woodcut device on titlepage, woodcut head and tail pieces and initials and woodcut illustrations in the text.
Condition: 204 x 158mm. Light foxing.
Binding: Later vellum boards. Corners bumped, endleaves replaced.
First edition.
Bibliography: Guibert p. 221; Tchemerzine IV, p. 311.

The most important text here is the Regulae, Descartes’ earliest work on scientific method, composed between 1619 and 1628.
‘The Regulae reveals that Descartes was already preoccupied with method as the clue to scientific advance – a method of basically mathematical inspiration, though it is intended to be the method of rational inquiry into any subject matter whatsoever. This concern with method appears in the Regulae in a form that is both more detailed and less metaphysically committed than the form that appears in Descartes’ later philosophical works.’ (Bernard Williams in Encyclopedia of philosophy).

1. Mundus, sive dissertation de lumine, ut et de aliis sensuum objectis primariis.
2. Tractatus de mechanica cum elucidationibus N. Poissonii.
3. N. Poissonii elucidationes physicae in Cartesii musicam.
4. Regulae ad directionem ingenii, ut & inquisitio veritatis per lumen naturale.
5. Primae cogitationes circa generationem animalium, & nonnulla de Saporibus.
6. Excerpta ex MSS. R. Des-Cartes.
Keywords:     philosophy of science