Descartes and the primacy of practice: The role of the passions in the search for truth

Philosophical Studies 108 (1-2):99 - 108 (2002)
Abstract
This paper argues that Descartes conceives of theoretical reason in terms derived from practical reason, particularly in the role he gives to the passions. That the passions serve — under normal circumstances — to preserve the union of mind and body is a well-known feature of Descartes's defense of our native make-up. But they are equally important in our more purely theoretical endeavors. Some passions, most notably wonder, provide a crucial source of motivation in the search after truth, and also serve to reinforce memory. Our cognitive successes and failure scan also be tracked by passions and trains of passions.
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