• Arnold Berleant deposited Duchampian Reflections on Descartes on Humanities Commons 1 year, 9 months ago

    The work of Marcel Duchamp occupies a unique and enigmatic place in the history of modern
    Western art. Starting with his striking cubist painting Nude Descending a Staircase, Duchamp
    quickly turned modern art upside down with the succession of Readymades that followed.
    These culminated in Étant Donné, presumably an environmental sculpture but more accurately
    an environment that incorporates the viewer. Using this as a model for a parallel analysis of
    Descartes’ cogito, the claim is made that a similar presence is implicit in the method of doubt,
    and that this renders Descartes’ argument circular. Recognizing this exposes the error of
    objectification in both cases and confirms the contextual character of art and knowledge.