Reading Descartes Otherwise: Blind, Mad, Dreamy, and Bad

Reading Descartes Otherwise: Blind, Mad, Dreamy, and Bad

by Kyoo Lee


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Focusing on the first four images of the Other mobilized in Descartes’ Meditations—namely, the blind, the mad, the dreamy, and the bad—Reading Descartes Otherwise casts light on what have heretofore been the phenomenological shadows of “Cartesian rationality.” In doing so, it discovers dynamic signs of spectral alterity lodged both at the core and on the edges of modern Cartesian subjectivity.

Calling for a Copernican reorientation of the very notion “Cartesianism,” the book’s series of close, creatively critical readings of Descartes’ signature images brings the dramatic forces, moments, and scenes of the cogito into our own contemporary moment. The author patiently unravels the knotted skeins of ambiguity that have been spun within philosophical modernity out of such clichés as “Descartes, the abstract modern subject” and “Descartes, the father of modern philosophy”—a figure who is at once everywhere and nowhere. In the process, she revitalizes and reframes the legacy of Cartesian modernity, in a way more mindful of its proto-phenomenological traces.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823244850
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 12/10/2012
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Kyoo Lee is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. She also teaches comparative literature and feminist theory at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

References and Abbreviations for the Works of Descartes ix

Preamble I If Descartes Remains Overread and Underexplored… 1

Preamble II Descartes Needs Rereading 6

A Stage Setup: Reframing "Jeux Descartes" 14

Scene 1 Blind Vision: A Photographic Touch 46

Scene 2 Elastic Madness: An Allegorical Comedy 83

Scene 3 Philopoetic Somnambulism: An Imaginary Freedom 116

Scene 4 Cornered Reflection: With and around an Evil Genius 149

Notes 183

References 203

Index 215

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