Chapter

The Post-<i>Meditations</i> Meditator

David Cunning

in Argument and Persuasion in Descartes’ Meditations

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780195399608
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866502 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195399608.003.0008
The Post-Meditations Meditator

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This chapter argues that Descartes’ considered view is that God is the eternal, simple and immutable author of any reality that exists—both possible and actual—and that such a being does not create unactualized possibilities. Descartes is committed to the doctrines of divine simplicity, divine independence, and divine immutability, and as a result he is a necessitarian. The chapter considers passages that might appear to suggest otherwise—especially passages that treat voluntarism and the eternal truths and passages that treat contingency—and argues that these demand a fresh reading. The chapter further explores views that were introduced in chapter 5—for example, that Descartes has a compatibilist understanding of freedom and that he thinks that Christian orthodoxy is in need of review. The chapter also considers Descartes’ stoicism. One of the themes that runs throughout this chapter is that most of the Meditations would not make any sense to a Cartesian, or to a meditator who is reading the Meditations a second time through.

Keywords: necessitarian; orthodoxy; divine simplicity; divine immutability; eternal truth; contingency; Christian; freedom; stoicism; voluntarism

Chapter.  9874 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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