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By Michel Henry

This book’s uncomplicated argument is that the Freudian subconscious, faraway from constituting a thorough holiday with the philosophy of attention, is only the newest exemplar in a history of philosophical false impression of the Cartesian cogito that translates “I imagine, consequently i'm” as “I symbolize myself, accordingly i'm” (in the vintage interpretation of Heidegger, one of many pursuits of the book).

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A single appearance traverses both cogito and cogitatum, and the cogito becomes a mere name for the cogitatum's appearance, which is what makes the cogitatum a cogitatum. And if it takes so long to recognize this, it is because only the cogitatum's cogitatum is noted and not its precondition of being. But once the cogitatum is thought as such, in its appearance, once that appearance is grasped in itself, as pure being-seen, it is reabsorbed into and becomes identical to seeing. ' Obviously, if we take the idea's objective reality to be its specific representative content (of the soul or God), we can easily distinguish it from formal reality; that is, from belonging to thought.

In its apparent autonomy, this mode of phenomenality's unfolding appears so original that it has been the basis of every, usually implicit, conception that has guided philosophical thought since its origin in Greece. Only the extraordinary rupture of "reduction" could rout the presuppositions gathered in the Platonic idea and the Regulae's ratio. Then, for a moment, philosophical consciousness glimpsed the underside of things, the invisible dimension, never separated from itself, never outside itself, never pro-posing itself as a world, having no "exterior," no "interior," no "face," invisible to all: subjectivity in its radical immanence, identical to life.

But the discussion's context is misleading. Having affirmed that God is "an infinitely intelligent substance," Descartes must respond to Hobbes, who asks, What "is the idea which enables M. " (Writings II, 132, 131). Descartes appeals to the idea's original structure, the self-revelation constituting its formal reality. The "idea" in question, however, is that of intellection, of the ability "to conceive of something," of the intueri and its correlate, so it is all too easy to imagine that the ultimate foundation invoked by Descartes at this point is that of intellection in its specificity, especially since the problematic's theme is constituted by the objective reality of the idea of God, a reality that is to be exhibited in the whole of its components, which are themselves objective.

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