Business Hours

Monday – Saturday
6 AM – 6 PM PDT
Local: 9:17 PM

Sign in

  1. Forgot your password?
Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.
Two ways to pay
$19.99/mo or $59.95
Classics in Rationalist Philosophy Collection (5 vols.)
This image is for illustration only. The product is a download.

Overview

In contrast with their British empiricist contemporaries, the continental rationalists argued that knowledge does not come primarily through the senses, but through reason. The mind, they argued, contains innate ideas. These innate ideas are the foundation for, and structure of, knowledge. In order to attain truth, one must apply reason to these innate ideas. Consequently, one does not need direct experience of reality to achieve knowledge. Behind this theory was the belief in a common substance out of which all things are formed. Since the rationalist mind is also made from this substance, it shares the same basic structure. It is this shared structure that allows the mind to acquire knowledge of everything else.

The Classics in Rationalist Philosophy Collection includes the key works of the primary continental rationalists: René Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. These three thinkers were in constant dialogue with each other’s ideas. Logos’ tagged words and concepts allow you to cross-reference these ideas as key words and concepts are tagged; with a click, you can see the exact part of Descartes’ dualism that Leibniz rejects. Moreover, these works are linked with the rest of your Logos library, allowing you to compare the rationalists and empiricists for yourself. Every word is indexed for near-instant searches.

Interested in modern philosophy? The Classics in Rationalist Philosophy Collection is also available in the Modern Philosophy Bundle (21 vols.) at a significant discount!

Key Features

  • The Continental rationalists’ major works in one collection
  • Summaries of the authors’ lives and ideas written by the translators
  • In-depth indexes

Individual Titles

The Method, Meditations, and Philosophy of Descartes

  • Author: René Descartes
  • Translator: John Vietch
  • Publisher: M. Walter Dunne
  • Publication Date: 1901
  • Pages: 371

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

The Method, Meditations, and Philosophy of Descartes contains three of Descartes most important works: Discourse on the Method, Meditations, and selections from Principles of Philosophy. Together, these three books make up the core of Cartesian epistemology. In the Discourse on the Method, Descartes lays out his method for acquiring knowledge by way of an autobiographical sketch of his own intellectual development. In Meditations, Descartes structures his method for arriving at certain knowledge in the form of six meditations that take place over six days. In Principles of Philosophy, Descartes gives a thorough summary of his philosophical system and shows how that philosophy is the basis for his scientific system.

René Descartes (1596–1650) was born in La Haye en Touraine, Indre-et-Loire, France. He was a mathematician, philosopher, and writer. He is known both as the father of modern philosophy and as the father of analytical geometry. He is best known for his statement “cogito ergo sum” or “I think, therefore, I am.” Descartes studied at Jesuit College Royal Henry-Le-Grand and the University of Poitiers, where he earned a degree in law. He travelled back and forth between France and the Netherlands throughout his life, writing most of his important works in the Netherlands. Following Galileo’s condemnation by the Roman Catholic Church in 1633, Descartes decided to postpone the publication of his Treatise on the World for nearly four years (and even then he separated it into a number of different books). During this time, he carried on an extensive correspondence with Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia. Descartes was invited to Stockholm to tutor Queen Christina of Sweden. He died there of pneumonia and, as a Roman Catholic living in Protestant nation, was buried in a graveyard for unbaptized infants. His remains were later transferred to Paris. Pope Alexander VII placed the works of Descartes on the banned books list in 1663.

The Principles of Descartes’ Philosophy

  • Author: Baruch Spinoza
  • Translator: Halbert Hains Britan
  • Publisher: The Open Court Publishing Company
  • Publication Date: 1905
  • Pages: 177

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

In The Principles of Descartes’ Philosophy, Spinoza claims to offer an interpretation and explanation of Descartes’ work for the sake of his student. He emphatically denies that the thought represented in the work is his own. As such, the work is an important commentary on the thought of Descartes. However, the work is also important for understanding the mind of Spinoza. The way that Spinoza goes about explaining Descartes says as much about Spinoza as it does about Descartes. This book was the only book published under his own name during his lifetime.

Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) was born in the Jodenbuurt in Amsterdam, Netherlands. His philosophy laid the foundation for the eighteenth century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. Spinoza grew up in a Portuguese community of Sephardic Jews in Amsterdam. His father was a successful trader. He attended the Keter Torah Yeshiva until he was 17. Leaving the yeshiva early, Spinoza began studying with the freethinker, former Jesuit, and accused atheist Frances van den Enden. Spinoza adopted the Latin name Benedictus de Spinoza, moved in to van den Enden’s house, and began teaching at van den Enden’s school in Amsterdam. During this time, Spinoza associated with Mennonites and a group of anti-clerical Catholics, known as Remonstrants. Following his father’s death in 1654, Spinoza ran the family business with his brother Abraham, leaving after a few years to pursue philosophy. In 1656, Spinoza was expelled from the Jewish community for heresy. Following this expulsion, Spinoza focused on writing, studying and his work as a lens grinder. In 1676, Spinoza completed his primary philosophical work, Ethics. He died in 1677 of lung disease.

The Chief Works of Benedict de Spinoza, vol. 1

  • Author: Baruch Spinoza
  • Translator: R. H. M. Elwes
  • Publisher: George Bell and Sons
  • Publication Date: 1891
  • Pages: 387

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

The first volume of The Chief Works of Benedict de Spinoza contains Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise and Political Treatise. In the Theologico-Political Treatise, Spinoza draws heavily on Moses Maimonides and offers a substantial critique on Judaism and organized religion, arguing for the necessary separation of faith and philosophy. He also offers a critique of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and lays out the methodology for biblical textual criticism. In the second part of the treatise he lays out a political philosophy, drawing heavily on the work of Thomas Hobbes. Spinoza deals with the nature of the state and the social contract as well as the necessary conditions for religious tolerance. While the Theological-Political Treatise was written for theologians, the Political Treatise is written for philosophers. It covers similar ground as the former book, filling it out and generalizing it a bit more.

Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) was born in the Jodenbuurt in Amsterdam, Netherlands. His philosophy laid the foundation for the eighteenth century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. Spinoza grew up in a Portuguese community of Sephardic Jews in Amsterdam. His father was a successful trader. He attended the Keter Torah Yeshiva until he was 17. Leaving the yeshiva early, Spinoza began studying with the freethinker, former Jesuit, and accused atheist Frances van den Enden. Spinoza adopted the Latin name Benedictus de Spinoza, moved in to van den Enden’s house, and began teaching at van den Enden’s school in Amsterdam. During this time, Spinoza associated with Mennonites and a group of anti-clerical Catholics, known as Remonstrants. Following his father’s death in 1654, Spinoza ran the family business with his brother Abraham, leaving after a few years to pursue philosophy. In 1656, Spinoza was expelled from the Jewish community for heresy. Following this expulsion, Spinoza focused on writing, studying and his work as a lens grinder. In 1676, Spinoza completed his primary philosophical work, Ethics. He died in 1677 of lung disease.

The Chief Works of Benedict de Spinoza, vol. 2

  • Author: Baruch Spinoza
  • Translator: R. H. M. Elwes
  • Publisher: George Bell and Sons
  • Publication Date: 1891
  • Pages: 420

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

The Chief Works of Benedict de Spinoza, vol. 2 includes Spinoza’s magnum opus, Ethics, and select letters. In the first part of Ethics, Spinoza discusses the relationship between God and the universe. He argues that everything in the universe, humans included, is a mode of God. In other words, everything is logically dependent upon God for existence. Everything flows from God in the same way that it flows from the nature of a triangle that the sum of the angles equals 180 degrees. The second part of Ethics discusses the relationship between the human mind and the body. In particular, Spinoza attacks the Cartesian view that the mind and body are two different substances. In the third part of Ethics, Spinoza argues that everything fights to continue being. This fight motivates human emotion. In the fourth part, Spinoza says that the emotions control all actions of human beings. In the fifth and final part of Ethics, Spinoza maintains that we can rid ourselves of negative/damaging emotions by thinking the right thoughts. The volume contains 75 of Spinoza’s letters.

Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) was born in the Jodenbuurt in Amsterdam, Netherlands. His philosophy laid the foundation for the eighteenth century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. Spinoza grew up in a Portuguese community of Sephardic Jews in Amsterdam. His father was a successful trader. He attended the Keter Torah Yeshiva until he was 17. Leaving the yeshiva early, Spinoza began studying with the freethinker, former Jesuit, and accused atheist Frances van den Enden. Spinoza adopted the Latin name Benedictus de Spinoza, moved in to van den Enden’s house, and began teaching at van den Enden’s school in Amsterdam. During this time, Spinoza associated with Mennonites and a group of anti-clerical Catholics, known as Remonstrants. Following his father’s death in 1654, Spinoza ran the family business with his brother Abraham, leaving after a few years to pursue philosophy. In 1656, Spinoza was expelled from the Jewish community for heresy. Following this expulsion, Spinoza focused on writing, studying and his work as a lens grinder. In 1676, Spinoza completed his primary philosophical work, Ethics. He died in 1677 of lung disease.

Discourse on Metaphysics, Correspondence with Arnauld, and Monadology

  • Author: Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
  • Translator: George R. Montgomery
  • Publisher: The Open Court Publishing Company
  • Publication Date: 1902
  • Pages: 272

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Discourse on Metaphysics, Correspondence with Arnauld, and Monadology contains Leibniz’s most important philosophical works. In Discourse on Metaphysics, Leibniz looks at the nature of physical substance, motion, and God’s place in the universe. He argues that God is an absolutely perfect being; that, while God is good, goodness and God are separate things; and that, all things considered, God created the best world possible. The correspondence with Arnauld is a series of letters between Leibniz and the French Roman Catholic theologian Antoine Arnauld, discussing similar topics as Discourse. In Monadology, Leibniz attacks the Cartesian assertion that mind and body are two separate substances that communicate with each other. Leibniz argued that the whole universe is made of many little substances called monads. The monads are programmed to act in certain ways, and the actions of each monad are coordinated with the actions of all the other monads. This gives the impression of communication between substances when actually it is just a pre-established harmony.

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646–1716) was born in Leipzig, Saxony, at the end of the Thirty Years War. His father was a professor of moral philosophy at the University of Leipzig. Leibniz attended the University of Leipzig when he was 15. He earned a BA in philosophy in 1662, at the age of 16, and a master’s in philosophy two years later. The following year, 1665, Leibniz earned a BA in law from the university. He published his first book at the age of 20. At 21, he applied for a doctoral program in law at the University of Leipzig and was denied. He left Leipzig and enrolled in the University of Altdorf, where he earned a doctorate in law in 1666.

Following his education, the Elector of Mainz, Johann Philipp von Schönborn, asked Leibniz to help him redraft the legal code of Mainz. Leibniz travelled to Paris in 1672 and began a self-study program in mathematics and physics. In 1676, Leibniz moved to Hanover to work in the court of the Duke of Brunswick. While in the employ of the House of Brunswick, Leibniz developed a system of infinitesimal calculus, which he published in 1684. Leibniz also published works of law, history, philosophy, philology, and theology during that time. In 1708 he was accused by Newton and others of having stolen the calculus from Newton during a trip to London in 1776. Though he was found guilty by the Royal Academy at the time, later mathematicians have exonerated Leibniz. Leibniz died in Hannover in 1716.

Product Details

  • Title: Classics in Rationalist Philosophy
  • Volumes: 5
  • Pages: 1,627