Descartes and the Danger of Irresolution

Essays in Philosophy 14 (2):162-178 (2013)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Descartes's approach to practical judgments about what is beneficial or harmful, or what to pursue or avoid, is almost exactly the opposite of his approach to theoretical judgments about the true nature of things. Instead of the cautious skepticism for which Descartes is known, throughout his ethical writings he recommends developing the habit of making firm judgments and resolutely carrying them out, no matter how doubtful and uncertain they may be. Descartes, strikingly, takes irresolution to be the source of remorse and repentance, of vice, and of a weak soul. In order to explain its dangerousness, this essay offers an analysis of irresolution as a failure of the will to determine itself to follow a judgment in the face of ignorance or uncertainty. This analysis connects irresolution to weakness of will and explains why Descartes regards resolution as an essential component of virtue.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2013-09-07
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Never Let the Passions Be Your Guide: Descartes and the Role of the Passions.Shoshana Brassfield - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (3):459-477.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total downloads
285 ( #8,945 of 37,108 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #22,727 of 37,108 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.