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The Cogito In The Seventeenth Century

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Chapter Summary

Most of the enormous quantity of writings on Descartes' cogito is logico-linguitic in nature. The author's contribution to this mass of commentary takes the form of an investigation of its intellectual context and the criticisms it received by seventeenth-century philosophers. He does so in part for what these can tell us about the seventeenth-century philosophers and in part for what they can reveal about Descartes and the cogito itself. On the question of whether God can make something exist and not exist or something think and not exist, Régis allows that Descartes said something of the kind, but claims that Descartes said it with respect to God's extraordinary power, not with respect to things considered according to the ordinary course of nature, which is what is at stake in the cogito.

Keywords: cogito; Descartes; God; seventeenth century



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