Descartes and the Journey of the Mind to God
Professor of Philosophy
University of Virginia
Rene Descartes's Discourse on Method and his Meditations on First Philosophy are widely recognized as radical breaks from ancient and medieval ways of thinking, as revolutionary starting points for the Scientific Revolution and of new forms of mathematics and philosophy, and as the foundations from which the modern, liberated yet deeply skeptical self emerged.
For all this, Descartes's works were initially placed on the Church's Index librorum prohibitorum and he has ever since been both praised and decried for opening and legitimizing the intellectual pathway to modernity's pervasive materialism, atheism, and psychological reductionism. And yet..., Descartes understood himself to be a devout Christian and his Meditations as a defense of the Catholic Church, which creates the real possibility that perhaps we don't yet fully understand Descartes's larger project and its significance for us today. For the rest of this story, we'll see you on Thursday at 5:15pm.