Sceptical Detachment or Loving Submission to the Good? Reason, Faith, and the Passions in Descartes

Faith and Philosophy 28 (1):44-53 (2011)
The paper begins by challenging a received view of Descartes as preoccupied with scepticism and setting out entirely on his own to build up everything from scratch. In reality, his procedure in the Meditations presupposes trust in the mind’s reliable powers of rational intuition. God, the source of those powers, is never fully eclipsed by the darkness of doubt. The second section establishes some common links between the approach taken by Descartes in the Meditations and the ‘faith seeking understanding’ tradition. So far from insisting on the autonomy and independence of human inquiry, Descartes sees the meditator as finding freedom in spontaneous submission to both the natural light of reason and also the supernatural light of faith. The approach to God which lies at the heart of the Meditations in some ways resembles a direct cognitive encounter as much as a formal demonstrative proof. The paper’s final section deals with Descartes’ ‘incarnational’ theodicy of the passions. Lacking the clarity and transparency of intellectual perceptions, the passions can often lead to confusion and error. Nevertheless they are part of the (divinely bestowed) endowment of our human nature, which is not a pure intellect plugged into a machine, but a genuine psycho-physical unity. The passions can serve as valued auxiliaries of reason in the search for goodness and truth
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/faithphil201128115
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,201
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Ron Williston (2003). The Epistemic Problem of Cartesian Passions. International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (3):309-332.
Keith G. Fennen (2012). Descartes on Indeterminate Judgment and Great Deeds. International Philosophical Quarterly 52 (1):21-39.
John J. Conley (1994). The Silence of Descartes. Philosophy and Theology 8 (3):199-212.
Michael Lacewing (2008). What Reason Can't Do. In N. Athanassoulis & S. Vice (eds.), Morality and the Good Life. Palgrave MacMillan

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

34 ( #138,994 of 1,940,944 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #225,765 of 1,940,944 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.