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Early Modern French ThoughtThe Age of Suspicion$
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Michael Moriarty

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261468

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261468.001.0001

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Descartes forma futuri

Descartes forma futuri

(p.50) 3 Descartes forma futuri
Early Modern French Thought


Oxford University Press

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

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