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Scepticism, Freedom and Autonomy : A Study of the Moral Foundations of Descartes' Theory of Knowledge - Marcelo de Araujo

Scepticism, Freedom and Autonomy

A Study of the Moral Foundations of Descartes' Theory of Knowledge

Hardcover Published: 1st December 2002
ISBN: 9783110175387
Number Of Pages: 237
For Ages: 22+ years old

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How much does what we think depend on what we want? Descartes' much-discussed position has often been interpreted to mean that we hold an opinion as the result of a decision. In Scepticism, Freedom and Autonomy, Araujo argues against this interpretation, asserting that we retain control over our opinions only through selective attention. Even for this limited control, however, Cartesian Scepticism implies the possibility of self-delusion, symbolized in the writings of Descartes by the figure of the evil god. Hence, the existence of an evil god would not only cast doubt on our claims to knowledge but also jeopardize our freedom.

In this new interpretation, the Cartesian Scepticism, which is usually ascribed only epistemic significance, proves relevant for a fundamental moral question, that of human autonomy in general.

Introductionp. 1
Descartes' Theory of Judgementp. 8
Entertaining and Judgingp. 9
Kinds of Thoughts: Ideas, Affections, and Judgementsp. 15
Ideas: Picture-Like Thoughts and Propositionsp. 18
Facultas Cognoscendi and Facultas Eligendip. 27
Descartes' Ethics of Beliefp. 30
Attention Voluntarism and Scepticismp. 34
Two Concepts of Freedomp. 37
Fourth Meditation: The Latin and The French Textsp. 37
Power of Choice and Spontaneous Assentp. 39
Arguments for Doxastic Voluntarismp. 46
Arguments for Attention Voluntarismp. 49
Freedom Before, and Freedom During the Actionp. 58
The Concept of Attentionp. 62
Scepticism and Free Willp. 70
Self-Deception as a Mental Statep. 73
Dogmatic Self-Deception: The Regulaep. 73
Sceptical Self-Deception: The First Meditationp. 80
Imposition, Suspension of Judgement, and Freedomp. 86
The Meaning of Imponere in The First Meditationp. 89
Freedom, Scepticism and Early Modern Philosophyp. 94
Freedom, Autonomy, and Scepticismp. 103
Lack of Autonomy through Manipulationp. 103
Minimal Autonomyp. 108
Cogito and Autonomyp. 111
Autonomy and Epistemic Responsibilityp. 117
Scepticism and Character Traitsp. 124
The Science of Good Livingp. 131
Interpretations of Descartes' Moral Theoryp. 131
Deontological Approaches to Descartes' Moral Theoryp. 142
Moral Certainty and Metaphysical Certaintyp. 145
Scepticism and Everyday Lifep. 151
The Moral Way of Knowing and the Science of Good Livingp. 157
Descartes on Virtue Ethicsp. 163
Descartes' Moral Theory and Virtue Ethicsp. 163
The Moral Maximsp. 166
The First Maxim: Moral Paragonsp. 167
The Second Maxim: The Virtue of Resolutionp. 186
The Third Maxim: The Virtue of Prudencep. 191
The Fourth Maxim: The Examined Lifep. 196
The Quest for Truth and The Highest Goodp. 199
Conclusionp. 204
Bibliographyp. 207
Index Nominump. 235
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9783110175387
ISBN-10: 311017538X
Series: Quellen und Studien zur Philosophie
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 237
Published: 1st December 2002
Publisher: De Gruyter
Country of Publication: DE
Dimensions (cm): 23.37 x 15.9  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.48