Cartesian Conscientia

  title={Cartesian Conscientia},
  author={Boris Hennig},
  journal={British Journal for the History of Philosophy},
  pages={455 - 484}
  • Boris Hennig
  • Published 1 August 2007
  • Philosophy
  • British Journal for the History of Philosophy
According to a common account, Descartes gave the Latin word ‘conscientia’ a new sense, which was later expressed by technical terms such as ‘consciousness’, ‘Bewusstsein’ or ‘conscience psychologique’. Whereas ‘conscientia’ in classical and medieval Latin meant something like ‘moral conscience’, Descartes is said to be the first to use it in the nonmoral and ‘psychological’ sense. This seems to be true at least to the extent that thinkers before Descartes did not have a single word, notion or… 
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