Descartes and the Question of Direct Doxastic Voluntarism

In this paper, I clarify Descartes’s account of belief, in general, and of judgment, in particular. Then, drawing upon this clarification, I explain the type of direct doxastic voluntarism that he endorses. In particular, I attempt to demonstrate two claims. First, I argue that there is strong textual evidence that, on Descartes’s account, people have the ability to suspend, or to withhold, judgment directly by an act will. Second, I argue that there is weak and inconclusive textual evidence that, on his account, people have the ability to form a judgment directly by an act will. I conclude by suggestion that understanding the position Descartes actually endorses (which I call ‘negative direct doxastic voluntarism’) has implications, more broadly, for contemporary participants in the doxastic voluntarism debate.
Keywords Descartes  belief  will
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/jpr_2010_4
 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: 23,209
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
Robert Sparrow (2007). Killer Robots. Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (1):62–77.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Rico Vitz (2008). Doxastic Voluntarism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Danny Frederick (2013). Doxastic Voluntarism: A Sceptical Defence. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (1):24-44.
Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (2006). Voluntarism and Transparent Deliberation. South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):171-176.
Sergi Rosell (2009). A New Rejection of Doxastic Voluntarism. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy (3):97-112.
Philip J. Nickel (2010). Voluntary Belief on a Reasonable Basis. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):312-334.
Andrei A. Buckareff (2005). An Essay on Doxastic Agency. Dissertation, University of Rochester

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

62 ( #76,988 of 1,941,072 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #133,137 of 1,941,072 )

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.