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The Will to ReasonTheodicy and Freedom in Descartes$
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C.P. Ragland

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190264451

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190264451.001.0001

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The Gibieuf Connection and the Later Descartes

The Gibieuf Connection and the Later Descartes

Chapter:
(p.107) Chapter 4 The Gibieuf Connection and the Later Descartes
Source:
The Will to Reason
Author(s):

C. P. Ragland

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190264451.003.0005

This chapter draws on texts from outside the Meditations to argue that Descartes consistently endorsed the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP). Descartes follows Guillaume Gibieuf in denying that indifference is necessary for freedom, and this is sometimes taken as proof that the early Descartes rejected PAP. The chapter shows instead that the Gibieuf connection actually supports attributing PAP to the early Descartes. A survey of Descartes’ own later texts on freedom then shows that they explicitly endorse PAP, but also repeat claims from the Meditations that appear to conflict with PAP. Therefore, Descartes’ texts on freedom taken as a whole, from the Meditations forward, teach the same (somewhat confusing) pro-PAP doctrine.

Keywords:   Guillaume Gibieuf, Descartes, free will, indifference, determinism, alternative possibilities

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