Title page for ETD etd-06102009-063446
|Type of Document
||Regarding Descartes' meditations as meditational
||Master of Arts
|Pitt, Joseph C.
- spiritual exercise
|Date of Defense
Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy is often hailed as one of the
great classics of western philosophy. First-time readers of the Meditations
are often struck by Descartes' clear and accessible writing style. Within
recent scholarship (e.g., most notably, Amelie Osksenberg Rorty's collection
of Essays on Descartes' Meditations ), much attention has been
focused toward examining the philosophical import of Descartes' literary
techniques. In particular, discussions have centered upon whether there is
a significant relationship between the literary format of Descartes'
"Metaphysical Meditations" with that of religious devotional exercises, also
known as meditations, that were prevalent during the early part of the
seventeenth century. Although commentators are fairly equally divided on
whether the stylistic devices employed by Descartes are philosophically
important, there is general agreement that Descartes' text, at the very least,
exemplifies the features of religious meditation.
Building upon the efforts of previous scholarship, the focus of this
present study is to provide a philosophically plausible and historically
accurate account of how Descartes' Meditations are meditational. Much of
our attention will be directed toward examining the different styles and
techniques of religious meditation. In particular, we will examine the
relevance of Marin Mersenne's recently rediscovered treatise L'usage de la
raison (1623). This work exhibits features of an Augustinian style of
religious meditation and it is a text which can be easily connected to
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