In this paper I argue that the continued relevance of Descartes' philosophy for present-day concerns can be demonstrated by bringing to bear on his Meditations state-of-the-art developments in Informal logic and Argumentation theory, specifically Leo Groarke’s approach to multimodal arguments. I show that the meditative exercises that Descartes viewed as preconditions of establishing the metaphysical tenets of his system can be recast in present-day form using technological tools and media that we are familiar with. We will see that, due to the different historical and cultural contexts, the 21st century Cartesian meditating process can be: 1) technology-enhanced (a customizable, multimodal process using images and nonverbal sounds alongside verbal claims) and 2) interdisciplinary (sensitive to and informed by the history of philosophy, of ideas and of art). Reformulated and practised in this way, Descartes’ meditative exercises can serve as tools for honing much-needed critical thinking skills and dispositions, as well as for promoting autonomous decision-making. After providing examples of this contemporary Cartesian meditation, I suggest that Groarke’s multimodal approach can be extended to reconstructing the arguments of other philosophers thus supplying a way of doing history of philosophy that is both novel and has personal benefits for its practitioners.
"Desc(ART) or the 21st Century Cartesian Meditator,"
Comparative Philosophy: Vol. 14:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/comparativephilosophy/vol14/iss2/6