John Veitch, LL. D.
Late professor of logic and rhetoric in the University of Glasgow
From the Publisher’s Preface.
The present volume contains a reprint of the preface and the first part of the Principles of Philosophy, together with selections from the second, third and fourth parts of that work, corresponding to the extracts in the French edition of Gamier, are also given, as well as an appendix containing part of Descartes’ reply to the Second Objections (viz., his formal demonstrations of the existence of Deity). The translation is based on the original Latin edition of the Principles, published in 1644.
The work had been translated into French during Descartes’ lifetime, and personally revised and corrected by him, the French text is evidently deserving of the same consideration as the Latin originals, and consequently, the additions and variations of the French version have also been given—the additions being put in square brackets in the text and the variations in the footnotes.
A copy of the title-page of the original edition, as given in Dr. C. Guttler’s work (Munich: C. H. Beck. 1901), are also reproduced in the present volume.
To the French translator of the principles of philosophy serving for A preface.
Sir,—The version of my principles which you have been at pains to make, is so elegant and finished as to lead me to expect that the work will be more generally read in French than in Latin, and better understood. The only apprehension I entertain is lest the title should deter some who have not been brought up to letters, or with whom philosophy is in bad repute, because the kind they were taught has proved unsatisfactory; and this makes me think that it will be useful to add a preface to it for the purpose of showing what the matter of the work is, what end I had in view in writing it, and what utility may be derived from it. But although it might be my part to write a preface of this nature, seeing I ought to know those particulars better than any other person, I cannot nevertheless prevail upon myself to do anything more than merely to give a summary of the chief points that fall, as I think, to be discussed in it: and I leave it to your discretion to present to the public such part of them as you shall judge proper.