Chapter

Descartes forma futuri

MICHAEL MORIARTY

in Early Modern French Thought

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780199261468
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191718649 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261468.003.0003
 Descartes forma futuri

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This chapter casts doubt on interpretations of Descartes that present him as the founder of a philosophy of the ‘subject’ that is then to be debunked. First, it is argued, he does not reduce the ‘subject’ or self to the conscious ego, nor does he assume that the ego is ‘transparent’ to itself. In fact, our spontaneous notion of the soul is bound up (erroneously) with bodily images. He does not reduce significant human experience to the mental or the intellectual; even if he holds that we are capable of forming purely intellectual concepts with the mind alone, he fully acknowledges our habitual experience of ourselves as embodied creatures, as his analysis of the passions bears out. The dependence of all our existence and thinking on God shows that Descartes is very far from upholding the notion of an autonomous self-validating subject.

Keywords: Descartes; subject; mind; soul; passions; God

Chapter.  23725 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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