Hard Cover. Amsterdam: Ludovicum & Danielem Elzevirios, 1656. Very Good.
Third edition. Contemporary brown calf with sides ruled in blind, four raised bands to spine, and red leather label lettered in gilt to spine. Very good, with light wear and chipping to calf on joints and edges, rebacked, 19th century inscriptions to front fly leaf and half-title page, biographical clippings affixed to front endpapers, light dampstaining to page margins, some tears to lower margins of introductory pages, some pencil annotations to "Methode" section of Specimina Philosophiae (pp. 1-48), and library card pocket to rear pastedown. Overall, a sturdy and attractive copy. Opera Philosophica contains some of the French philosopher René Descartes' most influential works. Specimina Philosophiae includes three Descartes essays published in 1637 - "Methode," "La Dioptrique," and "Meteores." In "Methode," Descartes outlines his skepticism-based method for understanding the natural world. His approach laid the foundation for the modern scientific method. Also, from this work comes Descartes' most famous quote "I think, therefore I am." In 1644, Descartes published Principia Philosophiae, a philosophical guidebook that expands on his methods, and heavily influenced Isaac Newton in his development of Principia (1687). In Passiones Animae (1649), Descartes' final book, he explores the relationship between what he deems to be the six primary passions, or emotions - wonder, love, hatred, desire, joy, sadness. Notably, this copy does not contain Meditationes de Prima Philosophia, possibly because of its atheistic concepts. This copy contains an interesting inscription to the verso of the rear flyleaf - "This book came out of the / library of the Rev'd - Watson / who murdered his wife. 1871." Reverend John Selby Watson (1804-1884) was a grammar school headmaster and classics scholar who, in 1871, killed his wife. A high-profile court case followed, which resulted in Watson's sentence being commuted due to a plea of insanity. Five-time Booker Prize nominee Beryl Bainbridge based her novel Watson's Apology (1984) on the infamous crime.