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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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Freedom and Divine Providence

Freedom and Divine Providence

Chapter:
(p.191) Chapter 7 Freedom and Divine Providence
Source:
The Will to Reason
Author(s):

C. P. Ragland

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190264451.003.0008

In another apparent antinomy of Reason, Descartes adheres to a traditional notion of divine providence that seems tantamount to theological determinism, but also insists on our incompatibilist freedom. By carefully comparing Descartes to his scholastic predecessors—Boethius, Aquinas, and the subsequent tradition—this chapter explicates his solution to this problem of providence and freedom. His solution strongly resembles the “middle knowledge” position of Jesuit Molinists, with its non-causal strategy for reconciling providence and incompatibilist freedom, but because he believed that God created the eternal truths, his view also incorporates aspects of the view held by the Jesuits’ Dominican opponents.

Keywords:   Descartes, Providence, freedom, Molinism, premotion, creation of eternal truths, determinism, middle knowledge

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