By Jean-Luc Marion
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Extra info for Cartesian Questions: Method and Metaphysics
2 Thus, here, even metaphysics is subjected to the universal and primary method, which tolerates no exception or ex emption. For, as is confirmed in a contemporary text, it is a “ general Method,” which enables one to “ explicate topics of all kinds” in addi tion to those of the Essays— in the sense that the mathesis universalis exerts itself in “ any other object whatever” (AT X, 378, 1. 3), and the methodus extends “ to the discovery of truths in any field what ever” (AT X, 374, 11. 8-9).
B) Furthermore, in 1641 it is only a question of presenting what Descartes modestly calls “ just one thing, however slight [mini mum quid], that is certain and unshakable” (24,11. 12 -13 )— in other words, a minimum of unshakable certainty, but a minimum quid (11. 26, 27), such that its temporalization certifies it only while it is hap pening. On the contrary, in 1637 the Discourse has other objectives: Since it ignores the temporal conditions of the first certainty, it im mediately erects the minimum quid to the level of “first principle” (DM, 3 2 ,1.
On the contrary, in 1637 the Discourse has other objectives: Since it ignores the temporal conditions of the first certainty, it im mediately erects the minimum quid to the level of “first principle” (DM, 3 2 ,1. 23). 22 (c) A third point confirms the first two. We know that in 1641 the term substantia does not occur in the first two Meditations (nor in the first half of the third) and that it qualifies the ego— “and I am a substance” (AT VII, 4 5,1. 7)— only after it has been introduced into the conceptual assembly of the a posteriori proof of the existence of God (40,11.
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