The Meditations Re-examined

Emily R. Grosholz

in Cartesian Method and the Problem of Reduction

Published in print January 1991 | ISBN: 9780198242505
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680502 | DOI:
The Meditations                         Re-examined

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This chapter re-examines the argument of the Meditations, attempting to do justice to its coherence within its historical situation and revealing difficulties in its unfolding by diagnosing them as the effects of the Cartesian method. It argues that in the Meditations, Descartes employed his method to reconstruct the human self as knower, beginning from the ‘simple’ condition of pure self-consciousness where the only content of thought is the self's activity of thinking, and ending with a complex self, confidently prepared to take up the investigation of natural science and human happiness. The first section briefly reviews the argument of the Meditations, following Gueroult's assertion that it unfolds according to the order of reasons. The second section examines the difficulties in maintaining the unity of the human self. The last section critiques Descartes's account called extension.

Keywords: Meditations; human self; extension; Gueroult

Chapter.  7673 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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