Contemporary discussions on the literary format of Descartes's Meditations typically focus on two issues. The first is whether Descartes's text resembles and is possibly influenced by the genre of religious devotional exercises, and the second is whether the stylistic devices employed by Descartes are philosophically significant. Building upon the efforts of Gary Hatfield, Bradley Rubidge, and Martial Gueroult, I argue that Descartes is influenced by an Augustinian tradition of spiritual exercise and that this influence is philosophically important for how we understand the cogito. I examine, in particular, the relevance of Marin Mersenne's recently rediscovered treatise L'usage de la raison (1623). This work exhibits features of an Augustinian style of religious meditation, and it is a text that can be easily connected to Descartes.


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pp. 283-311
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