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Descartes, René. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. 3 vols. Edited and translated by John Cottingham, Dugald Murdoch, Robert Stoothoff, and Anthony Kenny. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984–1991. Most complete English edition of Descartes's writings.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by Norman Kemp Smith. New York: St. Martin's, 1965. Classic, beautiful translation.

Leibniz, G. W. Philosophical Essays. Edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989. Good selection of Leibniz's writings, spanning his entire philosophical career.

——. Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil. Edited by Austin Farrer. Translated by E. M. Huggard. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1985. The most readily available English translation.

Malebranche, Nicolás. The Search after Truth. Edited and translated by Thomas Lennon and Robert Olscamp. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. The most recent English translation.

——. Treatise on Nature and on Grace. Edited and translated by Patrick Riley. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Fine edition; omits two of the Elucidations added by Malebranche.

Spinoza, Benedict de. The Collected Works of Spinoza, Vol. I. Edited and translated by Edwin Curley. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985. Magisterial edition of Spinoza's early writings. Volume II is in preparation.

——. Theological-Political Treatise. 2nd ed. Translated by Samuel Shirley. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001. Best available English edition.


Garrett, Don. The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Essays cover most aspects of Spinoza's work.

Hatfield, Gary. "The Cognitive Faculties." In The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy, edited by Daniel Garber and Michael Ayers. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Seminal article; treats both rationalists and empiricists from the standpoint of the cognitive faculties.

——. Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Descartes and the Meditations. London: Routledge, 2002. Sustained interpretation of the Meditations as cognitive exercises; also considers alternative interpretations.

Nadler, Steven. The Cambridge Companion to Malebranche. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Essays cover most aspects of Malebranche's philosophical writings.

Rutherford, Donald. Leibniz and the Rational Order of Nature. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. General interpretation of Leibniz's philosophy as motivated by the attempt to reveal the intelligible order of the universe.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Quantum electronics to ReasoningRationalism - Rationalism Defined, The Roots Of Rationalism, René Descartes, Benedict Spinoza, Nicolás Malebranche, Gottfried Wilhelm Von Leibniz