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)
 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: 9,351
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Rico Vitz, 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.
    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

    31 ( #47,399 of 1,088,378 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,601 of 1,088,378 )

    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.