Notes on Descartes’ Second Meditation


1. Things to look out for:

(i) The interaction of supposition with commitment: how much of the apparent commitment here is within the scope of the supposition; how much outside its scope?

(ii) The role of time: there are various temporal signals in the text (marked [ts]). How, if at all, do they figure in pursuit of Descartes’ aims? One thought: they figure in exposing the substantiality of the “I”, as something that is the subject of various powers and acts, that persists through change, including changes in its various activities over time. That might in turn indicate a way of thinking about functions of the wax passage.

2. Up to the Cogito passage.

“I will suppose, then, that everything I see is spurious.” (Note two versions of the supposition: (a) For all I can tell by seeing, everything I see is spurious (there might, for all that, be corporeal…

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