Metaphysics

Descartes: Discourse on Method

Frans_Hals_-_Portret_van_René_DescartesThe Discourse on Method (French: Discours de la méthode) by René Descartes was published in French in Leiden in 1637, alongside essays on optics, meteorology and geometry. It offered the an autobiographical of Descartes skeptical method and the positive metaphysical conclusions that he would later develop more fully in the Meditations. Notable among these is the first formulation of the famous 'Cogito', the principle that 'I think therefore I am' and cannot doubt my own existence.

Of the accompanying scientific essays, that on geometry is notable for introducing Cartesian co-ordinates.

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Free online texts

Bartleby: Discourse on Method. English translation. Harvard Classics, Volume 34, Part 1. HTML format.

Gallica: Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison et chercher la vérité dans les sciences , plus la dioptrique, les météores et la géométrie qui sont des essais de cette méthode. French text. Image file format.

Gutenberg: Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences, translated by John Veitch. Multiple formats. 

Gutenberg: Discours de la méthode. French text. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Rules for the Direction of the Mind, Discourse on the Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, Objections against the Meditations and Replies, The Geometry, by René Descartes. The Ethics, by Benedict De Spinoza. Great Books of the Western World, no 31 (1925). Multiple formats.

Liberty Fund: The Method, Meditations and Philosophy of Descartes, translated by John Veitch. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: French text and English translation. HTML and other formats.

Zulu Ebooks: Discours de la méthode. French text. PDF format.

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Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy

Descartes3Meditations on First Philosophy (Latin: Meditationes de prima philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animae immortalitas demonstrantur) by Réne Descartes was first published in Latin in 1641, appearing in a French translation in 1647.

The six meditations which make up the book describe a series of mental exercises, undertaken over consecutive days.  The first meditation introduces Descartes' method of universal doubt. The second introduces the famous argument often summarised as 'I think therefore I am' (Latin: cogito ergo sum), and cannot doubt my own existence. 

In the later meditations, Descartes arrives at conventional opinions about God and the world, while more subtly introducing the foundations of his own system of physics. It is however, the first two meditations which have more often been seen as a foundational influence on modern philosophy, although the 'Cartesian dualism' which they introduced between mind and matter has been a target of persistent criticism.

Alongside the Meditations, Descartes published seven sets of objections by distinguished scholars along with his replies. These were 1. Johannes Caterus 2. Marin Mersenne 3. Thomas Hobbes 4. Antoine Arnauld 5. Pierre Gassendi 6. Further objections collected by Mersenne. 7. Pierre Bourdin.

Meditations on First Philosophy at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

The Classical Library: The Meditations, translated by John Veitch. HTML format.

Gallica: Méditations métaphysiques. French text (1690). Image file format. 

Gutenberg: Meditationes de prima philosophia - Latin text. Multiple formats.

Early Modern Texts: Meditations on First Philosophy - adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Internet Archive: Rules for the Direction of the Mind, Discourse on the Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, Objections against the Meditations and Replies, The Geometry, by René Descartes. The Ethics, by Benedict De Spinoza. Great Books of the Western World, no 31 (1925). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Meditationes - Latin text. HTML format.

Liberty Fund: The Method, Meditations and Philosophy of Descartes, translated by John Veitch. Multiple formats.

Marxists.org: Meditations on First Philosophy, translated by John Cottingham. HTML format.

Philosophy-Index: Meditations on First Philosophy, translated by John Veitch. HTML format.

University of Leeds/Internet Archive: Hobbes' Objections to Descartes' Meditations. HTML format.

Wikisource: Latin text, French and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Wright State University: Descartes' Meditations. English, French and Latin texts. HTML format.

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Aquinas: Summa Theologica

St Thomas Aquinas by Carlo Crivelli (1476). Wikimedia CommonsThe Summa Theologica or Summa Theologiae by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) is one of the best known philosophical works of the Middle Ages. Intended as a comprehensive guide to theology for beginning students, the first part of the work deals with God, nature and man, the second part with law and morality, while the third, unfinished part deals with Christ and the sacraments, seen as the route of humanity's return to God, thus giving the whole a cyclical structure.

Summa Theologica at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: Summa Theologica, translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province (1947). Multiple formats.

Corpus Thomisticum: Summa Theologiae - Latin text. HTML format.

Google Play: STh lt - App containing the text of the Summa from the Corpus Thomisticum Project.

Gutenberg: Summa Theologica - Part I-I | Part I-II | Part II-II | Part III. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Summa Theologica, Latin text (1894). Multiple formats.

Intratext: Summa Theologica, English translation. HTML format.

New Advent: The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas, translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province (1920). HTML format.

Sacred Texts: Summa Theologica, translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province (1947). HTML format.

SummaTheologica.info: Summa Theologica, English translation with onsite Google search. HTML and PDF formats.

University of Notre Dame: Summa Theologica, ongoing translation by Alfred J. Freddoso. PDF format.

Wikisource: Latin text and English translation, by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: St Thomas Aquinas. Melvyn Bragg with Martin Palmer, John Haldane and Annabel Brett.

History Of Philosophy Without Any Gaps: 243 The Ox Heard Round the World - Thomas Aquinas | 244 Everybody Needs Some Body: Aquinas on Soul and Knowledge | 248 - Scott MacDonald on Aquinas, podcast by Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia  of Philosophy: Thomas Aquinas.

Librivox: Summa Theologica, public domain audiobook.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Wikipedia: Summa Theologica.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Plato

Aristotle, referred to by Aquinas as 'The Philosopher': Metaphysics, Ethics.

Cicero

St Paul 'the Apostle'

Dionysius the Areopagite

Augustine 'the Theologian'

Boethius

Ulpian 'the Jurist'

Eriugena

Avicenna

Averroes 'the Commentator'

Al-Ghazali

Anselm 

Abelard

Hugo of St Victor

Peter the Lombard: The Sentences.

Dante: The Divine Comedy - has been described as 'the Summa in verse'.

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.


Cicero: On Fate

On Fate (Latin: De Fato) is a partly extant work by Cicero, written in 44 BC, in which he discusses fate and freedom of the will with his friend Aulus Hirtius. Although, ostensibly a dialogue, the extent portions contain long passages of exposition by Cicero. The work appears to be closely connected to On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive: The treatises of M.T. Cicero: On the nature of the gods; On divination; On fate; On the republic; On the laws; and On standing for the consulship. Literally translated chiefly by the editor, C.D. Yonge (1878). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: De natura deorum, De divinatione, De fato, edited by Reinholdus Klotz (1879). Latin text, multiple formats.

Latin Library: De Fato. Latin text, HTML format.

Perseus: De Fato. Latin text, edited by C.F.W. Muller (Teubner, 1915). HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: De Fato. Latin text, multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Raphael Woolf on Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cicero.

Wikipedia: Cicero - De Fato.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Cicero: On the Nature of the Gods.

Cicero: On Divination.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.


Porphyry: The Isagoge

The Isagoge or Introduction by Porphyry is a commentary on Aristotle's Categories, which itself became a key logical text of the Middle Ages, being translated into Arabic via Syriac, and into Latin by Boethius. Along with the Categories and On Interpretation, it formed part of the Ars Vetus or Old Logic, the works available in the Medieval Latin West prior to the translation of Aristotle's other logical works.

The medieval concept of the Porphyrian Tree was inspired by Porphyry's presentation of Aristotle's system of  classification. Porphyry bracketed the issue of whether Aristotelian genera and species were merely concepts used to describe particular things or had independent reality, but his formulation of the question was, via Boethius, influential for the medieval debate about universals. 

The Isagoge at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Forum Romanum: Isagoge, translatio Boethii. Latin text, HTML format.

Internet Archive: Porphyrii Isagoge et in Aristotelis Categorias commentarium, edited by Adolfus Busse (1887). Greek text, multiple formats.

The Logic Museum: Isagoge. Greek/Latin/English parallel text, HTML format.

Prometheus Trust: The Introduction of Porphyry to Aristotle's Categories, translated by Thomas Taylor. HTML format.

Tertullian.org: Introduction (or Isagoge) to the logical Categories of Aristotle, translated by Octavius Freire Owen (1853). HTML format. (see also the preface).

Universitatea Babeş-Bolya: Isagoge. Greek text, PDF format. Archived at the Internet Archive.

Universitatea Babeş-Bolya: Isagoge, translatio Boethii. Latin text, HTML format. Archived at the Internet Archive.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: King of Animals: Porphyry - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Neoplatonism.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Porphyry.

The Logic Museum: Isagoge.

Wikipedia: Porphyry (Philosopher) - Isagoge -Porphyryean Tree.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

The Enneads, Porphyry's account of the teachings of Plotinus.

Aristotle's Categories and other works of the Organon.


Aristotle: On Generation and Corruption

On Generation and Corruption , sometimes known as On Coming to Be and Passing Away (Greek: Περὶ γενέσεως καὶ φθορᾶς, Latin: De Generatione et Corruptione), is a treatise of Aristotle, closely related to his Physics, which asks whether the generation of things always comes about through the alteration of existing things. It examines the views of a number of pre-Socratic philosophers on this question. 

On Generation and Corruption at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Internet Archive: Organon and Other Works, translated by W.D. Ross. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: On Generation and Corruption, translated by H.H. Joachim. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus. L400 - Aristotle -- On Sophistical Refutations. On Coming-to-be and Passing Away. On the Cosmos. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

University of Adelaide: On the Generation and Corruption, translated by H.H. Joachim. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Περί Γενέσεως και Φθοράς. Greek text. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

Archelogos: On Generation and Corruption, commentary by Theodore Scaltsas.

Dominican House of Studies: Commentary on Aristotle's Generation and Corruption, by Thomas Aquinas, translated by Pierre Conway and R.F. Larcher.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Form and Function: Aristotle's Four Causes - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Let's Get Physical: Aristotle's Natural Philosophy - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Richard Sorabji on Time and Eternity in Aristotle - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Librivox: On Generation and Corruption - public domain audiobook.

Philpapers: Aristotle - On Generation and Corruption - bibliography.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle's Natural Philosophy, by Istvan Bodnar.

Wikipedia: On Generation and Corruption.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Plato: Timaeus.

Aristotle: Physics, On the Heavens.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.


Aristotle: The Metaphysics

The Metaphysics (Greek: τὰμετὰτὰφυσικά; Latin: Metaphysica) is a key philosophical work of Aristotle. The book's name originally came from its position after the Physics in Aristotle's collected writings. However, it's title subsequently provided the name for the branch of philosophy with which it was concerned, addressing the fundamental nature of being.

The Metaphysics at Amazon.com, .uk, .fr, .de, .ca.

Free online texts

Bibliotheque Nationale De France: Aristotle's Metaphysics with Averroes' commentary. Latin text, image files.

The Classical Library: Metaphysics, translated by W.D. Ross. English HTML files.

Internet Archive: Organon and Other Works, translated by W.D. Ross. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Metaphysics, translated by W.D. Ross. English HTML and TXT files.

Perseus: Greek text, edited by W.D Ross (1924). English text, translated by Hugh Tredinnick (1933). HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: Greek text. Partial English text, translated by W.D. Ross and J.A. Smith. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Down to Earth Aristotle on Substance - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: God Only Knows: Aristotle on Mind and God - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle - Metaphysics, by Joe Sachs.

Librivox: Metaphysics - public domain audiobook.

Ontology.ca: Aristotle and the Science of Being qua Being. Ancient and Modern Interpretations.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle's Metaphysics, by S. Marc Cohen.

University of Washington: An Outline of Metaphysics Ζ, by S. Marc Cohen.

Wikipedia: Metaphysics (Aristotle).

The Metaphysics at Amazon.com, .uk, .fr, .de, .ca.

The Great Conversation: Related reading at Tom's Learning Notes.

Plato: The Republic - key text for the theory of the forms.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.


Plotinus: The Enneads

The Enneads of Plotinus represent the surviving teachings of the most influential philosopher of Late Antiquity. Plotinus' synthesis of earlier thought, adapting Aristotle to the study of Plato, has been seen as inaugurating a neoplatonic tradition that was formative for Jewish, Christian and Islamic philosophy as well as later pagan thought. 

The Six Enneads are treatises compiled from Plotinus' lectures by his pupil Porphyry, also the author of a biography that makes Plotinus one of the best-known of ancient philosophers.

Free online texts

Bibliotheca Augustana: Ἐννεάδες. Greek text. Html files.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: The Six Enneads, translated by Stephen Mackenna and B.S. Page. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Plotinos - Complete Works Vol I, Vol II, Vol III, Vol IV; translated by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Select Works of Plotinus, translated by Thomas Taylor (1895). Reprint of an older partial translation. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Plotinus: The Ethical Treatises, volume I, translated by Stephen MacKenna, (Medici Society 1926). First Ennead with Porphyry's life of Plotinus. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Plotinus: The Psychic and Physical Treatises, volume II, translated by Stephen MacKenna, (Medici Society 1921). Second & Third Enneads. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Plotinus: On the Nature of the Soul, volume III, translated by Stephen MacKenna, (Medici Society 1924). Fourth Ennead. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Plotinus: The Divine Mind, volume IV, translated by Stephen MacKenna, (Medici Society 1926). Fifth Ennead. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Plotinus: On the One and Good, volume V, translated by Stephen MacKenna, (Medici Society 1926). Sixth Ennead. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Six Enneads, translated by Stephen Mackenna and B.S. Page. Html and text files.

Lotophages.org: Enneads, Greek text (Kirchoff) and MacKenna English translaton. Preserved at the Internet Archive.

Wikisource: Enneads, translated by Stephen MacKenna. HTML, Only first three Enneads completed to date.

The Enneads of Plotinus: Direct Links to Enneads, Treatises and Chapters Online, by John Uebersax.

Other Resources

Plotinian Bibliography, in English and French, by Richard Dufour.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: A God is my Co-pilot- The Life and Works of Plotinus - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Plotinus on the One and Intellect - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Plotinus on the Soul - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Plotinus on Matter and Evil - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Wilberding on Plotinus - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: O'Meara on Neoplatonism - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Archive: The Philosophy of Plotinus, by Ralph Inge (Longmans, 1918).

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plotinus.

International Society for Neoplatonic Studies.

Neoplatonism - Yahoo Group

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plotinus.

Wikipedia: Plotinus - Enneads.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.


Plato: The Sophist

The Sophist is one of a small number of late Platonic dialogues in which Socrates cedes the lead role, in this case to the Eleatic Stranger, a follower of the presocratic philosophers Parmenides and Zeno. The discussion is presented as taking place a few days after the Theaetetus, and picks up some of the earlier dialogues themes in the course of discussing how the sophist differs from the true philosopher and the statesman.

Free Online and Downloadable Texts

Gutenberg: The Sophist, translated by Benjamin Jowett, multiple formats.

Loebulus. L123 - Plato - Theaetetus. Sophist. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Greek text (Burnet ed., 1903). English translation (Fowler, 1921). Online texts.

Wikisource: The Sophist, translated by Benjamin Jowett. Online text.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Fiona Leigh on Plato's Sophist - podcast by philosophers Peter Adamson and Fiona Leigh.

Librivox: The Sophist - audiobook.

PhilPapers: Plato - Sophist - bibliography with open access option.

Ontology.co: Semantics, Predication, Truth and Falsehood in Plato's Sophist.

Ontology.co: Annotated Bibliography on Plato's Sophist. First Part: A - L.

Ontology.co: Annotated Bibliography on Plato's Sophist. Second Part: M - Z.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Method and Metaphysics in Plato's Sophist and Statesman.

Wikipedia: The Sophist.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Plato's Dialogues are listed.


Plato: The Republic

 

The Republic is Plato's best-known work. An extended reflection on the nature of justice, which retains much of the style of the early dialogues in the opening conversation in Athens, pitting Socrates against the cynical sophist Thrasymachus. From there the dialogue opens out into an extended discussion of the politics of the ideal city, which is closely bound up with ethical considerations, before taking in metaphysical and theological themes with Plato's most striking metaphor, the parable of the cave, and a meditation on the the fate of the individual soul in the myth of Er.

Free Online and Downloadable Texts

Gutenberg: The Republic by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Republic translated by Benjamin Jowett, online text.

Libertyfund: The Republic, translated by Benjamin Jowett, online text.

Loebulus. L237 - Plato --Republic I: Books 1-5. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L276 - Plato --Republic II: Books 6-10. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: The Republic: Greek text (Burnet ed.,1903 ). English translation (Shorey, 1969). Online texts.

Wikisource: The Republic, translated by Benjamin Jowett. Online text.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Plato's Republic. Melvyn Bragg with Angie Hobbs, MM McCabe, James Warren.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Soul and the City: Plato's Political Philosophy - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Ain't No Sunshine: The Cave Allegory of Plato's Republic - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plato: The Republic.

Librivox: The Republic - audiobook.

Openculture: Orson Welles Narrates an Animation of Plato’s Cave Allegory - video.

Open Culture: Plato’s Cave Allegory Brought to Life with Claymation - video.

PhilPapers: Plato - Republic - bibliography with open source option.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plato's  Ethics and Politics in the Republic.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Callicles and Thrasymachus.

University of Utah: Culture and Society in Plato's Republic, by M.F. Burnyeat. PDF format.

Wikipedia: The Republic (Plato).

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Plato's Dialogues are listed.