Daily Archives: November 10, 2010

Descartes, “Meditations on First Philosophy”

On this date in 1619 Rene Descartes had the dreams that inspired Meditations on First Philosophy.

Frye in conversation with David Cayley:

Cayley: You begin Fearful Symmetry with Blake’s theory of knowledge and his attack on the unholy trinity of Bacon, Newton, and Locke, who often appear together in his writings as a sort of three-headed monster.  What did he have against them?

Frye: They all represent what most people now attach to Descartes.  That is, a theory of a conscious ego which is an observer of the world but not a participant in it and consequently regards the world as something to be dominated and mastered.  That is, his real hatred of what he calls Bacon, Newton, and Locke is based on what is ultimately a political feeling, that this kind of thing leads to the exploitation of nature and, as an inevitable by-product, the exploitation of other people.  (CW 24, 927-8)