The eighth turn revolves around a central concept of experience itself: the concept of consciousness. In the history of experience, two pioneers accomplished the discovery of consciousness: Buddha and Descartes.

The Cartesian Revolution

The new concept initiated a radical reorientation of philosophical thought. Epistemology and the philosophy of consciousness now replaced metaphysics and ontology as basic disciplines. The Cartesian Revolution spread rapidly throughout Europe, initiating a series of repercussions.

Buddha analyzed consciousness to realize his project of liberation from suffering. Two millennia later, Descartes was initially concerned with finding a reliable method for scientific research. He discovered the res cogitans, the “thinking thing,” as the unshakable foundation of this project, and identified consciousness as the nature of the res cogitans.

Identity and a New Political Order

From consciousness, John Locke developed his concept of personal identity. Montesquieu and Voltaire expanded it into the collective identity of nations and cultures. The primacy of methodology also prevailed in the modern concept of political order. The constitution as a set of rules became the epitome of all political method. It replaced the onto-theological consensus on the divine order of power, sacred law and inherited privileges. The modern concept of republican order is based on the secondary consensus about the constitution.


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