Page of

The Indubitable and the Unnoticed

The Indubitable and the Unnoticed

(p.79) 3 The Indubitable and the Unnoticed
On Descartes' Passive Thought
Jean-Luc Marion, Christina M. Gschwandtner
University of Chicago Press

This chapter defends Descartes’ insight about the flesh from its apparent inconsistency with the first two Meditations and other texts in which the body seems doubted. In fact, doubt is often placed in the mouth of unreliable characters, such as Polyander in the Search for Truth, the evil genius in the Meditations, or the possibility of insanity, which has to be rejected because otherwise no reasoning would be possible. The flesh as meum corpus is finally indubitable, although Descartes admits that it is an ambiguous term. Ultimately the Meditations are shown to be internally consistent if the various senses of the term “body” are carefully parsed and distinguished from each other. “My body” emerges as a third term between pure thought and material things. Thinking hence also occurs in the passive mode of sensation and this passive thought is an essential feature of the ego’s knowledge. This primordial and immediate sensing as auto-affection makes the flesh part of the very shape of the ego and escapes the hyperbolic doubt, because it is taken to be indubitable and so obvious that it cannot and need not be proven.

Keywords:   doubt, evil genius, body, indubitability, auto-affection

Sign In

Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy and Legal Notice