Philosophy

Pascal: The Pensées

800px-Blaise_Pascal_2The Pensées (literally thoughts) is a fragmentary collection of writings prepared by the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal for a projected defence of Christianity, left unfinished at his death in 1662. The proper order of the work has been the subject of much controversy, and older public domain works may not reflect recent scholarship.

Pascal was closely associated with the Jansenist movement in French Catholicism, and the Pensées reflect the Augustinian belief that man can be saved only by a divine grace he can do nothing to earn. This spirit is reflected in the most famous argument of the Pensées, 'Pascal's wager', which suggests that it is better to live as if God exists because one avoids infinite loss is one is right and suffers only finite loss if one is wrong.

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Bartleby: Thoughts. Harvard Classics Volume 48, Part 1. English translation. HTML format.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: Pensées. Translated by William Finlayson Trotter. Multiple formats.

Classical Library: Pensées. English translation. HTML format.

Gallica: Pensées, Tome 1. French text edited by Léon Bruschvicg (1904). Image file format.

Gutenberg: Pascale's Pensées. English translation. Introduction by T.S. Eliot. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Pensées, translated by W.F. Trotter. 1941 Modern Library edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Pascal's Pensées, translated by Gertrude Burford Rawlings. Multiple formats.

Intratext: Pensées, translated by W.F. Trotter. HTML format.

Samizdat.qc.ca: Pensées. French text. PDF based on 1671 edition.

University of Adelaide: Pensées, translated by W.F. Trotter. Multiple formats.

University of Freiburg: Pensées. French text. PDF format.

University of Dusseldorf: Pensées. French text, 1812 Renouard edition. Image file format.

Wikisource: French texts and English translation by William Finlayson Trotter. HTML and other formats.

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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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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.

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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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Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan

Leviathan_by_Thomas_HobbesLeviathan by Thomas Hobbes is one of the outstanding works of political theory in the English language. It develops an early social contract theory to argue that human beings must put themselves under a single absolute sovereign as the only way out of a state of nature in which life is famously said to be 'nasty, brutish and short'.

For much of Hobbes' life such an argument would have been seen as favourable to the Stuart monarchy. By the time of Leviathan's publication in 1651, however, it could be read as supporting the effective authority of Cromwell's Commonwealth. Hobbes was acordingly repudiated by former associates among the exiled royalist court in Paris.

His time in France was nevertheless fruitful through associations with the leading philosophers and scientists of the day. This is reflected in the mechanical philosophy of the opening pages of Leviathan, in which living things are compared to automata, and the state to an artificial man, a figure memorably illustrated in the book's original frontispiece.

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Early Modern Texts: Leviathan, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Leviathan. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Hobbes's Leviathan, edited by W.G. Pogson Smith (1909). Multiple formats.

Online Library of Liberty: Leviathan, edited by W.G. Pogson Smith (1909). Multiple formats.

Marxists.org: Leviathan (first five chapters) - from the Cambridge Revised Student Edition, Edited by Richard Tuck, 1996. HTML format.

University of Adelaide: Leviathan. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Leviathan. HTML and other formats.

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Francis Bacon: Essays

Francis_Bacon _Viscount_St_Alban_from_NPGThe Essays by Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) were the first published work of the English statesman and thinker, appearing in 1597, with revised and expanded editions in 1612 and 1625. In introducing the essay format by pioneered by Montaigne to English, Bacon gave the genre a pointed, business-like concision, perhaps more reminiscent of Machiavelli. In this he was aided by a talent for the telling aphorism that has left a permanent mark on the language.

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Bartleby: Essays, Civil and Moral. Harvard Classics edition. HTML format.

Francis Bacon Online: The Essays. HTML format.

Gutenberg: The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The essaies of Sr. Francis Bacon. 1613 edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral, edited by A.S. Gaye (1911). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Bacon's Essays, edited by Sydney Humphries (1912). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Essays, Civil and Moral and The New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon; Areopagitica and Tractate on Education by John Milton; Religio Medici, by Sir Thomas Brown, edited by Charles W. Eliot (1912). Harvard Classics edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Essays, Colours Of Good And Evil, Advancement Of Learning, edited by A.W. Pollard (1920). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Essays, Multiple formats.

Wikisource: The Essays of Francis Bacon, edited by Mary Augusta Scott (1908). HTML and other formats.

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Montaigne: Essays

Montaigne-DumonstierThe Essays (French: Essais) by Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) inaugurated a literary form on their first publication in 1580. His  Essais or 'attempts' at various subjects were part of a larger project of-self reflection. His focus on the individual personality, in contrast to the ancient writers on whom he dew copiously, had a profound influence on later writers.

He knew Greek authors mainly though Latin and French, but his broad classical learning informed an eclectic philosophical world view which drew on Cicero, stoicism and skepticism. The latter was influence was strengthened by Montaigne's experiences as a nobleman during the French Wars of Religion. His belief in tolerance forms an important part of his legacy.

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: Essays, Bks 1-11, translated by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format. Modern English translation with some editorial alterations.
Gutenberg: Essays of Michel de Montaigne — Complete, translated by Charles Cotton. Multiple formats. 
Internet Archive: The Essays of Michel de Montaigne, Vol I | Vol II. Translated by Charles Cotton and revised by William Carew Hazlitt. Multiple formats.
The Montaigne Project: Les Essais de Montaigne. Full Searchable HTML text in French.
Online Library of Liberty: Essays of Montaigne in 10 Volumes, translated by Charles Cotton. Multiple formats.
University of Adelaide: The Essays of Montaigne, translated by Charles Cotton. Multiple formats.
University of Oregon: Montaigne's Essays, translated by John Florio, 1603. PDF format.
Wikisource: Multiple French editions | English translation by John Florio, 1603 | English translation by Charles Cotton 1686, revised by William Carew Hazlitt in 1877.

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Seneca: Moral Letters to Lucilius

The Death of Seneca, by Manuel Domínguez Sánchez. Via Wikisource.

The Moral Letters to Lucilius (Latin: Ad Lucilium epistulae morales) were composed by the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca ('The Younger'), during his retirement from the Imperial court in 62-65 AD, a period which ended with his suicide on the orders of the emperor Nero.

The 120 letters, collected in 20 books , were addressed to Seneca's friend Lucilius Junior, then the procurator of Sicily. They amount to informal moral essays, covering subjects such as the nature of the good, happiness and the right attitude to death. It is among the most popular of Seneca's works and as such an important source on Roman stoicism. It's adoption by early Christians contributed to its influence in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

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Internet Archive: Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales. Vol. I | Vol. IIVol. III. Public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English. PDF and other formats.

Latin Library: Epistulae Morales Ad Lucilium -  HTML format. 

Loebulus. L075 - Seneca -- Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales I: Letters 1-65. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Loebulus. L076 - Seneca -- Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales II: Letters 66-92. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales. HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: Latin - Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium. English - Moral Letters to Lucilius. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

BBC In Our Time: Seneca the Younger - Radio discussion with Melvyn Bragg, Mary Beard, Catherine Edwards and Alessandro Schiesaro.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Anger Management - Seneca, podcast by Peter Adamson.

How to be a Stoic: Seneca to Lucilius - Philosophy as a Guide to Life.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Librivox: Moral Letters - public domain audiobook.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Seneca.

Stoics.com: Why Seneca's Moral Essays and Moral Epistles?

Wikipedia: Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium.

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

Cicero: On Duties.

Marcus Aurelius: The Meditations.

Montaigne: Essays.

Francis Bacon: Essays.

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.


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

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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.


Aristotle (spurious): on Colors

On Colors or On Colours (Greek Περὶ χρωμάτων, Latin De Coloribus) is a treatise traditionally attributed to Aristotle, but now sometimes thought to be by Theophrastus or Strato, who succeeded him in turn as heads of his philosophical school, the Lyceum. The book's argument, that all colors are derived from the mixture of black and white, was an important influence on subsequent color theories until the time of Newton.

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Free online and downloadable texts

LacusCurtius: On Colors - Greek text and English translation. HTML format.

Loebulus. L307 - Aristotle - Minor Works. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. Also available at the Internet Archive.

Wikisource: Περί χρωμάτων - Greek text. HTML format.

Other Resources

New Republic: Does Color Even Exist? by Malcolm Harris 22 May 2015.

Open Book - Rare Books Department of Special Collections at the J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah -Book of the Week — De coloribus libellus, 5 December 2016.

Princeton University Press: Why the Sky is Blue: Discovering the Color of Life, by Götz Hoeppe. Chapter Two - Of Philosophers and the Color Blue.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Controversies Surrounding Aristotle's Theory of Perception, by Christopher Shields.

Wikipedia: On Colors

University of Massachussets - Amherst: Greek Color Theory and the Four Elements (2000). Chapter Two - Greek Color Theory by J.L. Benson.

Youtube: On Colours, by Aristotle. audiobook read by Geoffrey Edwards

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

Plato: Meno - mentions Empedocles' theory of color.

Plato: Timaeus

Aristotle: Meteorology - discusses the rainbow.

Aristotle: Sense and Sensibilia

Aristotle: De Anima

Theophrastus

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


Burnet: Early Greek Philosophy

Pythagoreans celebrate sunrise by Fyodor BronnikovEarly Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, first published in 1892, is a survey of Presocratic Greek thinkers. Individuals and schools covered include Thales and the Milesians, Heraclitus, Parmenides and the Eleatics, the Pythagoreans, Anaxagoras, Empedocles and Leucippus.

Burnet was a distinguished scholar of Plato, and many of his editions remain authoritative today. He saw Socratic philosophy as a development from the problems of the earlier cosmologists, despite the protestations of disinterest in natural philosophy recorded in Plato's Apology, believing that Socrates had been a disciple of Archelaus in his youth.

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Evansville.edu: John Burnet's Early Greek Philosophy. HTML format.

Hathi Trust: Early Greek Philosophy, by John Burnet. PDF format. 

Internet Archive: Early Greek Philosophy, by John Burnet (1892 edition). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Early Greek Philosophy, by John Burnet (1908 edition). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Early Greek Philosophy,by John Burnet (1920 edition). Multiple formats.

Peithô's Web: Early Greek Philosophy, by John Burnet (1920 edition). HTML format.

Plato.spbu.ru: Early Greek Philosophy, by John Burnet (1920 edition). PDF format.

Other Resources

Wikipedia: John Burnet (classicist).

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