At the end of the Second Meditation, Descartes makes clear that the truth of the cogito, as revealed in the wake of the hyperbolic doubt, is the foundational ceritude he’s been seeking, “ …I know plainly that I can achieve an easier and more evident perception of my own mind than of anything else” (86). Yet in the Third Meditation, Descartes appears to radically refigure the status of the cogito, insisting, “…I clearly understand that there is more reality in an infinite substance than in a finite one, and hence that my perception of the infinite, that is God, is in some way prior to my perception of the finite, that is myself” (94, italics added). What should we make of this apparent contradiction? How is the cogito related to the proof for the existence of God offered in the Third Meditation? What happens to the absolute character of the certainty of the cogito in face of the idea of the infinite? What is the sense of this “in some way prior”?
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