This philosophy study guide for Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy is the seventh book in the Smart Student's Guides to Philosophical Classics series. Like the other books in the series, it is much more than an outline or a set of notes and flash cards. It is a book for “smart students” who are serious about understanding and thinking critically about one of the most consequential books ever written in the history of philosophy. Part I of the book has the complete text of John Veitch's translation of the original Meditations, presented in a way that makes it much easier for a beginning philosophy student to understand and think critically about Descartes’ classic work. Each of the six Meditations is divided into smaller sections with sub-titles, followed by Professor Houlgate’s commentary and critiques. Questions for thought and discussion are at the end of each chapter. These questions are intended to help students prepare for examinations and give them ideas and topics for term papers. Part II takes the student deeper into Descartes’ meditations. It includes two chapters on method, analyses of Descartes’ arguments and comparisons to and criticisms of other philosophers on important philosophical problems and theories. These are presented in a way that invite students to do their own thinking about the meditations, engage with their professor in classroom discussion, and organize and write a successful term paper.
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