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The Will to Reason
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The Will to Reason: Theodicy and Freedom in Descartes

C.P. Ragland


In his Meditations, Descartes faces the possibility that our faculty of Reason may not be consistent with itself. This problem animates not only the famous skeptical doubts of the First Meditation, but also the dialectic of the Third and Fourth: in the Third Meditation, Descartes proves that an all-perfect God exists, but in the Fourth, the existence of error seems to rule out such a God. Reason seems to speak decisively both for and against God. To vindicate the consistency of Reason, Descartes develops a free will theodicy reconciling God’s perfection with our errors. At first glance, howeve ... More

Keywords: Descartes, Cartesian Circle, free will, theodicy, providence, skepticism, Reason, compatibilism, incompatibilism, creation of eternal truths

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780190264451
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190264451.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

C.P. Ragland, author
Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. Louis University