Book Series The Age of Descartes

Order of reasons and metaphysical experience

Cartesian Studies

Stefano Di Bella

  • Pages: 300 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • c. € 75,00 EXCL. VAT RETAIL PRICE
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59465-1
  • Paperback
  • Forthcoming (Feb/23)

  • c. € 75,00 EXCL. VAT RETAIL PRICE


Stefano Di Bella est professeur d’Histoire de la philosophie à lUniversité de Milan.


Order of reasons on one hand, meditative exercise on the other, are the two constant registers of Descartes’ metaphysical enterprise. Keeping both in sight, this book explores some argumentative strategies by which Descartes implements his philosophical challenge to his materialist and atheist interlocutors, by isolating and putting in the “right” order the basic metaphysical notions of ego, God and matter and their complex relationship.  In particular, the research sheds new light on Descartes’ concept of metaphysical experience, and reconsiders the relation between his metaphysical itinerary and his scientific project.


Part 1. Order of Reasons and Argumentative Strategies: Interpretative Exercises

“Someone will prefer to deny such a powerful God…”. Descartes’ Confrontation with Atheism in the Meditations.
Dreaming and Coherence. 

Note1: The Sleepig Slave, or: Are we Free in Dreaming?
Quid sit and An sit: The Order of Questions at the Proof of the Cogito.
The Fluctuation of Meditation III: Threatening or Construing Evidence?
“Pourvu qu’ils ne pensent qu’il n’ya point de Dieu”: The Ambivalence of God’s Idea

Note 2: The Existence of the Infinite and the Epicurean Counterargument
The Mind/Body Distinction: On Descartes’Self-Interpretation of his Argumentative Strategy
Unity of Nature and Unity of Composition

Note 3: Other Minds in the Meditations 

Part 2. The Metaphysics of Pure Exeprience, or: Descartes, the Anti-Rationalist

Metaphysical Experience 
Ideas, Meaning and Words. Language and Private Experience in the Meditations and the Discussion with the Objectors.
The Heaviness and the Union, or: When the Error proves the Truth
Cartesian Antinomies 1: Freedom and Omnipotence
Cartesian Antinomies 2: Union, Distinction and the Hierarchy of Attitudes

Part 3.The Roots of the Tree: On the Metaphysical Foundation of Science

“Magis simplicia et universalia”: mathematical knowledge in Meditation I
What’s the point of the Creation of Eternal Truths?
Objectum Pure Matheseos: The Myth of Descartes’ Platonism