Restoring the theocentrism of Descartes' meditations

Mancino, Christina (2023) Restoring the theocentrism of Descartes' meditations. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis aims to establish the theocentrism of René Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy. The common interpretation of contemporary scholars understands the Meditations as a primarily epistemological text, in which the focus is on the self – or ego. This has perpetuated an image of Cartesian thought as egocentric or individualistic; most significantly, this interpretation has secularized Cartesian thought. This idea of a secular egocentrism has been so widely accepted that even Pope John Paul II, a prominent voice within the Catholic Church – the Church to which Descartes belonged – has criticized Descartes as responsible for inaugurating ‘the great anthropocentric shift’ in Western thought. In this thesis, I will defend Descartes against the misguided claims made by Pope John Paul II and other commentators by returning to the text of the Meditations itself. Through this analysis, it will become evident that the secular egocentric view of the text is unsubstantiated. Furthermore, the metaphysical focus and primacy of God will be brought into focus. Thus, establishing the fundamental theocentrism of the Meditations.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 16168
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 82-85) -- Restricted until October 31, 2024
Keywords: Descartes, theocentrism, meditations, Catholicism, philosophy
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: October 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Descartes, René, 1596-1650. Meditations on first philosophy; Philosophy and religion; Theism

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