(People who like “Monomania as Philosophy” will probably also like “Where Both Philosophy and Sex Went Wrong“)
René Descartes, tr. Clarke, Discourse on Method, Penguin, 1999.
René Descartes,tr. Ariew / Cress, Meditations, Hackett, 2006.
I was then in Germany, where I had been drafted because if the wars going on there, and as I was returning to the army from the emperor’s coronation, the arrival of winter delayed me in quarters where, finding no company to distract me and, luckily, having no cares or passions to trouble me, I used to spend the whole day alone in a room that was heated by a stove, where I had plenty of time to concentrate on my own thoughts…. DM p. 11
If this were the beginning of a short story, we would know what to expect next: cabin fever, dementia, haunting by ghosts, murder, suicide, or hopeless insanity. And in fact, Descartes did experience quite considerable distress:.
As I consider these problems more carefully, I see so plainly that there are no definite signs by which to distinguish being awake from being asleep. As a result, I am becoming quite dizzy, and my dizziness nearly convinces me that I am asleep….. Yesterday’s meditation has thrown me in such doubts that I can no longer ignore them, yet I fail to see how they are to be resolved. It is as if I had suddenly fallen into a deep whirlpool; I am so tossed about that I can neither touch bottom with my foot, nor swim to the top. M 10/13 (more…)