DESCARTES, René (1596-1650). Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verité dans les sciences. Plus La Dioptrique. Les Meteores. et La Geometrie. Leiden: Jan Maire, 1637.
4° (204 x 152mm). Woodcut printer's device on title, numerous text illustrations and diagrams, extra-illustrated with an engraved author portrait frontispiece tipped to front flyleaf. (Portrait window-mounted to size, a little light browning, a few spots.) Contemporary Dutch vellum over thin pasteboard, yapp edges, red-brown edges, title lettered on spine; modern cloth solander box. Provenance: Christian Lazare (monogram booklabel).
FIRST EDITION OF DESCARTES' FIRST PUBLISHED WORK, THE FOUNDATION OF ALL MODERN SCIENTIFIC AND PHILOSOPHIC THOUGHT. In the first part Descartes sets out his method of inquiry, and then illustrates it in three essays on optics, meteorology and geometry. 'Descartes's purpose is to find the simple indestructible proposition which gives to the universe and thought their order and system. Three points are made: the truth of thought, when thought is true to itself (thus, cogito, ergo sum), the inevitable elevation of its partial state in our finite consciousness to its full state in the infinite existence of God, and the ultimate reduction of the material universe to extension and local movement' (PMM). Descartes's discussion of Harvey's discovery of the circulation of blood was the first mention made of it by a prominent foreign scholar. Descartes was called to Stockholm in 1649 as philosopher to Queen Christina, but did not survive his first winter and died there in 1650. A FINE, LARGE COPY. Dibner, Heralds of Science, 81; Grolier/Horblit 24; Guibert, Bib. Descartes, 1; NLM/Krivatsky 3114; PMM 129.