The Origin of Subjectivity: An Essay on Descartes

Hiram Caton. The Origin of Subjectivity: An Essay on Descartes. Yale University Press. 1973. 248pp.


Since the present study on occasion strays from the well-marked thoroughfares of interpretation, some anticipatory indications of what the reader might expect.  Since the term “subjectivity” has been introduced to make good a deficiency of  Descartes’s nomenclature. Because his terms “mind” and “soul” are borrowed from the traditional philosophic vocabulary, they insinuate a continuity with traditional conceptions that bear the same names, whereas Cartesian mind is conceived as “I think,” or consciousness. Yet consciousness is susceptible of many interpretations, of which Descartes’s is only one. To emphasize that Cartesian mind is consciousness of a specific kind, I have supplied a term to characterize it uniquely.

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