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Poe and the Cogito

Poe and the Cogito Poe and the Cogito by Jeffrey Folks With his famous theorem, Cogito, ergo sum, René Descartes initiated a modern conception of individual consciousness that signaled the divorcing of mind from a physical world that was now comprehended only by way of a method of doubt. In its dualistic conception of existence, Descartes' theory split the individual mind from the world of nature and society, resulting in a growing sense of uncertainty and isolation. In the decades following Descartes' death in 1650, European and American philosophers attempted to come to terms with the difficulties posed by his famous theorem and with the reliance on rational analysis that it implied. Among these philosophers, Pascal, Spinoza, Rousseau, Franklin, and Jefferson arrived at differing conclusions, but whether they experienced the Cogito as liberating or enslaving, each was profoundly affected by the challenge to conventional truths that it entailed. Edgar Allan Poe's philosophical leanings, while hardly systematic and shifting throughout his career, reflect a context of epistemological doubt of the sort that Descartes set as the starting point of his inquiry. Poe followed Descartes in pursuing a basis of certainty in the face of this condition of doubt, and he sought that certainty http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
1534-1461
Publisher site
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Abstract

Poe and the Cogito by Jeffrey Folks With his famous theorem, Cogito, ergo sum, René Descartes initiated a modern conception of individual consciousness that signaled the divorcing of mind from a physical world that was now comprehended only by way of a method of doubt. In its dualistic conception of existence, Descartes' theory split the individual mind from the world of nature and society, resulting in a growing sense of uncertainty and isolation. In the decades following Descartes' death in 1650, European and American philosophers attempted to come to terms with the difficulties posed by his famous theorem and with the reliance on rational analysis that it implied. Among these philosophers, Pascal, Spinoza, Rousseau, Franklin, and Jefferson arrived at differing conclusions, but whether they experienced the Cogito as liberating or enslaving, each was profoundly affected by the challenge to conventional truths that it entailed. Edgar Allan Poe's philosophical leanings, while hardly systematic and shifting throughout his career, reflect a context of epistemological doubt of the sort that Descartes set as the starting point of his inquiry. Poe followed Descartes in pursuing a basis of certainty in the face of this condition of doubt, and he sought that certainty

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 27, 2009

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