This paper challenges the standard interpretation of Descartes’s view that the essence of the mind is thinking. Most commentators take the essence of the mind to be constituted by thoughts as objects of awareness. By contrast, the position defended here is that willing is as much part of the essence of the Cartesian meditating mind as awareness. Willing is not just a type of thought, but whenever thinking occurs it invariably involves both awareness and willing. To substantiate the claim that Descartes could not separate willing from the one meditating, the paper examines the role of the will at all the key junctures of the Meditations: the cogito, the clarity and distinctness of some of our ideas, the arguments for God’s existence, and the propensity to believe that our ideas of sensible things comefrom those things
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0019-0365
DOI 10.5840/ipq201151221
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,316
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

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Descartes: A Study of His Philosophy.Anthony Kenny (ed.) - 1968 - St. Augustine's Press.
Descartes' Argument for Mind-Body Dualism.Douglas C. Long - 1969 - Philosophical Forum 1 (3):259-273.
Doubting, Thinking, and Possible Worlds.Daniel A. Putman - 1983 - Philosophy Research Archives 9:337-346.
Cartesian Studies.R. J. Butler - 1972 - Blackwell.
Substance, Reality, and Distinctness.Boris Hennig - 2008 - Prolegomena 7 (1):2008.
Cogito, Ergo Sum and Sum Res Cogitans.James D. Carney - 1962 - Philosophical Review 71 (4):492-496.
General Ideas and the Knowability of Essence: Interpretations of Locke's Theory of Knowledge.Maurilio Lovatti - 2004 - Dissertation, Oxford, Tercentenary John Locke Conference (April 2-4, 2004)
The Unity of Descartes's Man.Paul Hoffman - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (3):339-370.
The Cogito Circa Ad 2000.David Woodruff Smith - 1993 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):225 – 254.
Can a Sum Change its Parts?D. H. Sanford - 2011 - Analysis 71 (2):235-239.


Added to PP index

Total views
30 ( #383,434 of 2,519,441 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #167,254 of 2,519,441 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes