David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Theoria 77 (3):238-260 (2011)
My main thesis in this article is that Descartes' ethics should be understood as involving a distinction between happiness and well-being. The distinction I have in mind is never clearly stated or articulated by Descartes himself, but I argue that we nevertheless have good reason to embrace it as an important component in a charitable reconstruction of his ethical thought. In section I, I present Descartes' account of happiness and of how he thinks happiness can (and cannot) be acquired. Then, in section II, I introduce and develop the distinction between happiness and well-being. I do this via a discussion of a difficult passage in one of Descartes' letters to Elisabeth, where he may seem first to grant and then immediately to reject the view that people's happiness can vary in degree depending on the possession of goods or perfections that are outside their power to control. I believe my proposed distinction can help us make good sense of this passage. In the last two sections (III and IV), I then offer some further grounds or reasons for why the proposed distinction should be ascribed to Descartes
|Keywords||happiness virtue Descartes' ethics well‐being|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Lilli Alanen (2003). Descartes's Concept of Mind. Harvard University Press.
Deborah J. Brown (2006). Descartes and the Passionate Mind. Cambridge University Press.
John Cottingham (1996). Cartesian Ethics: Reason and the Passions. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 50 (195):193-216.
Marcelo de Araujo (2003). Scepticism, Freedom, and Autonomy: A Study of the Moral Foundations of Descartes' Theory of Knowledge. Walter De Gruyter.
R. Descartes (ed.) (1991). The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Vol. 3. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Shoshana Brassfield (2012). Never Let the Passions Be Your Guide: Descartes and the Role of the Passions. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (3):459-477.
Fred Feldman (2010). What is This Thing Called Happiness? Oxford University Press.
Paul Hoffman (2009). Essays on Descartes. Oxford University Press.
Severin V. Kitanov (2012). Happiness in a Mechanistic Universe: Thomas Hobbes on the Nature and Attainability of Happiness. Hobbes Studies 24 (2):117-136.
Gary Watson (1983). Kant on Happiness in the Moral Life. Philosophy Research Archives 9:79-108.
Jarek Gryz (2012). The Logical Structure of Stoic Ethics. Apeiron 45 (3):221-237.
Justin Skirry (2004). Descartes's Conceptual Distinction and its Ontological Import. Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (2):121-144.
Vivasvan Soni (2011). Mourning Happiness: Narrative and the Politics of Modernity. Cornell University Press.
Richard Smith (2008). The Long Slide to Happiness. Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (3-4):559-573.
Raymond J. Devettere (1993). Clinical Ethics and Happiness. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 18 (1):71-89.
Dan Haybron (forthcoming). Happiness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Edoardo Zamuner (2008). “Face Value. Perception and Knowledge Others’ Happiness”. In Lisa Bortolotti (ed.), The Philosophy of Happiness. Palgrave.
Julia Annas (1993). The Morality of Happiness. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2011-06-30
Total downloads19 ( #84,047 of 1,096,481 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #90,211 of 1,096,481 )
How can I increase my downloads?