DESCARTES, R.: Principia Philosophiae. [bound with]: - Specimina Philosophiae: seu Dissertatio de Methodo Rectè regendae rationis, & veritatis in scientiis investigandae: Dioptrice et Meteora. Ex Gallico translata... Amsterdam, L. Elzevir 1650. Quarto. 1. Principia: 20 unnumbered leaves, title with woodcut printer's mark, 292 pp (false pag. 302). With numerous woodcuts, some full-page. 2. Specimina: 8 unnumbered leaves, title with woodcut printer's mark, 316 pp. 2 works in 1 volume. 21/11 Contemporary vellum.

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  • 1. Principia: Second edition, with the "Epistola authoris" added to the content of the first edition of 1644. Descartes dedicated his main systematic work to the learned Princess Elisabeth of the Palatinate, with whom he communicated in person in Haag and afterwards by letter. "The book contains a systematic summary of Cartesian metaphysics, cosmology and the physics. In this work he puts together the events of his previous thinking and research in the form of a compendium and in didactic purpose. The last 3 parts of the 'Principia' are largely based on Descartes great cosmological work 'Le monde' which, although largely elaborated, remained unpublished under the impact of the Galileo trial. The cosmology of the 'Principia' was widely considered Descartes' most significant achievement in the 2nd half of the 17th century and exerted a profound influence on the world relationship of the period after his death. [The work], in its rigorous implementation of the principle of mechanical explanation of nature and in its imposing reduction of all phenomena to a few principles, offers the first most effective alternative to Aristotelian scholastic physics" (Halbfass). - Guibert 105; Willems 1106; Rahir 1120. 2. Specimina: Latin translation of the famous "Discours de la Methode", the first scientific-philosophical work written in French, the mathematical-philosophical "Dioptrice" and the "Météores". The translation from French was done by Descartes' friend Etienne de Courcelles and it was reviewed by Descartes himself. The work is of special importance because of the true law of the calculation of light, the explanation of the rainbow and the theory of the winds, which was communicated for the first time in the "Dioptrica" and the "Météora". - Willems 1106.
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