The Flight to Objectivity
Essays on Cartesianism and CultureBook - 1987
The study includes textual and cultural material that together comprise a gradually unfolding psychocultural reading of the Meditations. Descartes' famous doubt, and the ideal of objectivity which conquered that doubt, are considered as philosophical expressions of a cultural "drama of parturition" from the medieval universe, a process that generated new forms of experience, new cultural anxieties, and ultimately, new strategies for control and mastery of an utterly changed and alien world. Themes that figure prominently in recent literature on seventeenth-century philosophy and science--the birth of the mind as "mirror of nature," and the "masculine" nature of modern science, the "death of nature"--are explored with reference to Descartes as a pivotal figure in the birth of modernity.