Body and Mind in Two Discourses on Method: Descartes, Dilthey, and Misch




Descartes, Dilthey, Misch, őnéletírás, módszer, történeti tudományok


The point of departure of my presentation will be the fact that in his monumental History of Autobiography, Georg Misch considered Descartes’ Discourse on Method a fine example of intellectual autobiography.

Yet, the Discourse is a highly complex text far from a simple autobiography. And what is even more, and more disturbing is that for his work, Misch made intensive use of Dilthey’s concept of an autobiography that was meant to capture the sense of “life as narrating itself” laying down the proper, i.e. “objective” foundation for the historical sciences. But how shall we take “sincerity” in this case, which is the distinguishing feature of a real autobiography in the Dilthey-Misch sense?

I will apply a kind of hermeneutic method trying to move back and forth in a double hermeneutic circle: I will take a look at Misch’s whole concept of an autobiography, and at the historical data in Descartes’s life and works presented in Baillet’s The Life of Monsieur Des Cartes in order to understand the autobiographic character of the Discourse moving again from the details to the whole and vice versa. In my view, Descartes’ “history of his intellect” cannot be taken as an autobiography in the Dilthey-Misch sense nor in a usual sense. The body-mind problem will play an important role in my argumentation.


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Információk a szerzőről

Gábor Boros

Professor of philosophy, Head of the Department of Liberal Arts at the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary.  He is specialised in early modern philosophy and other research interests of his include ethics, philosophy of emotions and problems of narrative identity. He translated several chef-d’œuvre of 17th century philosophy into Hungarian. His recent publications include Georg Misch és az önéletírás (Georg Misch and Autobiography) (Budapest: L’Harmattan, 2021; The Culture of Love in China and Europe (together with P. Santangelo) (Leiden: Brill, 2020); Módszer, metafizika, emóciók (Method, Metaphysics, Emotions) (Budapest: Akadémiai, 2020).




Hogyan kell idézni

Boros, G. (2022). Body and Mind in Two Discourses on Method: Descartes, Dilthey, and Misch. KÜLÖNBSÉG (Difference), 21(1), 171–187.

Folyóirat szám


Union de l'âme et du corps dans la philosophie classique

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