Thursday, September 15, 2011

Great Books 4.05

Finally finished Descartes' Discourse on the Method, which was okay.  I didn't particularly enjoy hearing the all the pro-god arguments.  People forget that "I think, therefore I am" is a prelude to his discussion on why there is a soul, and therefore why there must be a perfect god.  I'm glad to better know the context, I guess.  After that it was interesting hearing him explain "how the circulation and digestion in the human body work" - particularly since they were still believers in the "four humours" of the body, and had just recently discovered that the heart circulates blood, and doesn't just produce it.  It also got interesting in his last chapter of the discourse, where he mentions concern that he might be condemned for some of his reasonings because a "well known physicist was recently condemned by the Church" - I suspect that was Galileo, who was a contemporary of Descartes.  He also finishes his discourse with a request for public funds for research - very like a scientist.  I guess times have not changed very much - scientists still need to beg for endorsements.

I think I shall start on Milton's Paradise Lost, and after that will come Dante's Divine Comedy.  Paradise Lost is significantly longer than the other texts, however, so it will take me a lot longer to finish.  As for the German, it is coming along well.  

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