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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 20, Issue 2, Spring 2016

Cameron Bassiri
Pages 349-365
DOI: 10.5840/epoche201612654

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.

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