IMMORTALITAS oder IMMATERIALITAS? Zum Untertitel von Descartes' Meditationen

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This paper discusses the question why the first edition of Descartes' Meditations carries a title announcing a proof of the immortality of the soul, whereas Descartes himself (in the Synopsis as well as in his Replies) explicitly denies any intention to deliver such a proof. In the first part of the paper, I refute existing attempts to explain this inconsistency. In the second part, I argue that it was Descartes' intention to announce a proof for the immaterialitas, not for the immortalitas of the soul, and that the first of these two words has been misread, probably by the Paris printer, and turned into immortalitas. I first adduce as evidence a remark by Baillet in his second (abbreviated) version of Descartes' biography, a remark that has hitherto gone unnoticed in the learned literature. (Baillet explicitly states, using French words indeed, that immortalitas/immortalité was put instead of immaterialitas/immaterialité.) I secondly point to three statements by Descartes concerning either the Meditations or the content of metaphysics generally; Descartes mentions the immateriality of the soul on all three occasions. -/- .
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