Descartes's theory of modality

Philosophical Review 103 (4):639-667 (1994)
Descartes propounded the allegedly "strange", "peculiar", "curious" and "incoherent" doctrine that necessary truths are made true by God's voluntary act. It is generally held that this doctrine must be kept out of sight while other Cartesian topics are being discussed. This paper offers an interpretation of this Cartesian doctrine under which it comes out as reasonable, consistent with the rest of his philosophy, and possible even true. According to this interpretation--which is more respectful of and close to Descartes's text than is the customary one--Descartes equated the alethic modalities with facts about human intellectual limitations, somewhat in the manner of Wittgenstein. Thus, God created modalities creating humans in the way he did
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DOI 10.2307/2186100
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Tad M. Schmaltz (2003). Cartesian Causation: Body–Body Interaction, Motion, and Eternal Truths. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (4):737-762.

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