Volume 20, Issue 2, Spring 2016
Temporality and Alterity in Descartes's Meditations
In this article I analyze the themes of temporality and alterity as they were developed over the first three of Descartes’s Meditations. I discuss the temporality of the evil deceiver, as well as the implicit theory of time and time-consciousness in the Second Meditation. I show that this theory of time is purely subjective, continuous, pre-numerical, and independent of local motion and the body, thus making it independent of Aristotle’s theory of time. I then explain God’s continuous creation of time and the discontinuous theory of time Descartes develops in the Third Meditation. Moreover, I show that there is an ontological and temporal priority of the Other over the self, and that temporal self-consciousness is necessarily also consciousness of God, his continuous creation of time, time itself, and other finite substances.