Carnegie Mellon University

January 2014 Highlight - Curator's Choice

Descartes title pageDescartes' Famous Words

René Descartes, 1596-1650. Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verite dans les sciences. Plus La dioptriqve. Les meteores. Et La geometrie. Qui sont des essais de cete methode. Leyden, I. Maire, 1637.

Translated, the title is Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences. This work is a fundamental work in philosophy and on the method of science, and is the source of Descartes’ oft-quoted statement "Je pense, donc je suis" ("I think, therefore I am").

Descartes’ La geometrie, one of the texts appended to this edition of Discours de la methode, introduces the Cartesian coordinate system. Some of Carnegie Mellon's notable disciplines— epistemology, cognitive science and probability research—also have a basis in Descartes’ work.

Selected by Mary Catharine Johnsen, Special Collections Librarian