The thinking soul and the God’s omnipotence. Two motives in Descartes' justification of metaphysics




Cartesian metaphysics of substance, Platonism, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Modern philosophy


The author examines Descartes' doctrine as one of the first attempts to synthesize the new idea of Galilean science with the tradition of ancient and medieval metaphysics. This required a combination of a number of tendencies, two of which are the consideration of thinking as the main attribute of an incorporeal substance and the consideration of God's omnipotence as the ever-present context of human cognition. On the basis of Plato's Dialogues, the article proves that the first tendency (based on the thesis that it is impossible to derive eternal truths from sense experience) indicates Platonic motives in Descartes' thinking. The second tendency (represented by the thesis of the possibility of direct intuitive contemplation) appears as a derivative of the theses of Duns Scotus and William of Ockham about the determining role of unlimited grace in substantiating the human ability to intuitively cognize contingent facts. The author argues that these tendencies, despite belonging to different traditions, are united in Descartes by an inseparable synthesis, which is the living experience of the thinking soul in the face of God’s omnipotence.


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How to Cite

Baumeister , A. . (2000). The thinking soul and the God’s omnipotence. Two motives in Descartes’ justification of metaphysics. Sententiae, 1(1), 203–225.






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