"Rene Descartes is often called the 'Father of Modern Philosophy.' The profound controversies that his doctrines have engendered are alone sufficient to establish his eminence. Yet if he is to be paid a due respect, it is necessary to understand him on his own terms- to distinguish his doctrines from myriad notions labeled 'Cartesian.' The quest for certainty may be a constitutional imperative for every philosopher; in the case of Descartes it was an acknowledged passion. Thus there is no more (...) fitting approach to him than to study seriously his claims to having attained certainty regarding what he took to be the questions of metaphysics, namely, the questions of the existence of God and of the nature of the human mind."--The Preface. (shrink)
René Descartes n'est pas un auteur consacré de la littérature politique. Pourtant ses textes contiennent de nombreuses vues sur la société et sur l'Etat. Ils définissent la conduite que doit suivre en politique le Philosophe, mais aussi le Prince. Les éléments de sa politique sont, il est vrai, dispersés dans toute son oeuvre et dans son abondante correspondance. Ils sont également illustrés par sa vie. Le premier intérêt de cet ouvrage est de réunir dans un dictionnaire comprenant environ 170 entrées (...) les textes relatifs aux idées, aux sentiments et aux actes politiques de Descartes. Deux études rappellent le contexte historique et mettent en évidence l'actualité de la politique de Descartes. Ses vues sur l'Etat se montrent bien plus modernes que celle de Machiavel ou Hobbes. Et ses préoccupations essentielles sont de tous les temps. Comment avoir une pensée indépendante sans être persécuté? un esprit libre sans troubler ou ruiner la République? Comment se gouverner selon la raison dans la nef de fous décrite par Erasme? Comment ^tre un homme de paix dans un siècle de sang?...Reprochera-t-on à cette politique d'être modeste? Depuis deux ou trois siècle, on semble n'avoir d'estime que pour les systèmes et les utopies, même si tout système est une falsification, même si les lendemains ne chantent jamais. Descartes ne fait pas voyager au pays des chimères, il ne construit pas de mythes. Il enseigne à vivre content et sans illusions, à marcher avec assurance dans le monde comme il va. Voilà pourquoi il est urgent de relire Descartes. (shrink)
Between the years 1643 and 1649, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes exchanged fifty-eight letters—thirty-two from Descartes and twenty-six from Elisabeth. Their correspondence contains the only known extant philosophical writings by Elisabeth, revealing her mastery of metaphysics, analytic geometry, and moral philosophy, as well as her keen interest in natural philosophy. The letters are essential reading for anyone interested in Descartes’s philosophy, in particular his account of the human being as a union of mind and body, as well as (...) his ethics. They also provide a unique insight into the character of their authors and the way ideas develop through intellectual collaboration. Philosophers have long been familiar with Descartes’s side of the correspondence. Now Elisabeth’s letters—never before available in translation in their entirety—emerge this volume, adding much-needed context and depth both to Descartes’s ideas and the legacy of the princess. Lisa Shapiro’s annotated edition—which also includes Elisabeth’s correspondence with the Quakers William Penn and Robert Barclay—will be heralded by students of philosophy, feminist theorists, and historians of the early modern period. (shrink)
Le 15 décembre 2005, René Girard, lors de son entrée à l'Académie française, prononça l'éloge de son prédécesseur, le révérend père Carré. Michel Serres répondit à ce discours par un tableau de la vie et de l'oeuvre du récipiendaire dont, dit-il, la théorie compte parmi les plus fécondes du XXe siècle.
Between the years 1643 and 1649, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–80) and Rene; Descartes (1596–1650) exchanged fifty-eight letters—thirty-two from Descartes and twenty-six from Elisabeth. Their correspondence contains the only known extant philosophical writings by Elisabeth, revealing her mastery of metaphysics, analytic geometry, and moral philosophy, as well as her keen interest in natural philosophy. The letters are essential reading for anyone interested in Descartes’s philosophy, in particular his account of the human being as a union of mind and body, as (...) well as his ethics. They also provide a unique insight into the character of their authors and the way ideas develop through intellectual collaboration. Philosophers have long been familiar with Descartes’s side of the correspondence. Now Elisabeth’s letters—never before available in translation in their entirety—emerge this volume, adding much-needed context and depth both to Descartes’s ideas and the legacy of the princess. Lisa Shapiro’s annotated edition—which also includes Elisabeth’s correspondence with the Quakers William Penn and Robert Barclay—will be heralded by students of philosophy, feminist theorists, and historians of the early modern period. (shrink)
Towards Justice and Virtue is Onora O’Neill’s most developed account thus far of her distinctive approach to moral and political philosophy. Readers who are already familiar with O’Neill’s articles and her two previous books will appreciate the way it brings together in one sustained and rigorous argument the various themes which have occupied her attention over the years. Those who are new to O’Neill’s work will find in it a lucid, accessible, and provocative challenge to contemporary ethical theories.
Desde o ano de 1643, Descartes e a princesa Elizabeth já trocavam cartas a respeito da geometria, da metafísica e até da física cartesiana. Todavia, no ano de 1645, por conta de um grave estado melancólico da princesa, houve uma intensa correspondência entre ambos. À princípio, o debate se mantinha em torno das condições especificas da princesa. O tema central girava em torno de questões fisiológicas e morais. À medida, porém, em que a troca de correspondência se intensificava, o debate (...) ia tornando-se cada vez mais teórico, passando pela discussão da Vida Beata, de Sêneca, até forçar Descartes a apresentar os primeiros esboços de sua própria concepção moral. Dessa troca de correspondência, escolhemos duas cartas de setembro de 1645: uma do filósofo a Elizabeth e outra da princesa a Descartes carta. (shrink)
Feeling like doing something is not the same as deciding to do it. When you feel like doing something, you are still free to decide to do it or not. You are having an inclination to do it, but you are not thereby determined to do it. I call this the moment of drama. This book is about what you are faced with, in this moment. How should you relate to the inclinations you “have,” given that you are free to (...) “act on” them or not? To answer this question, we need an account of what sort of thing we are relating to, in this moment. But here we find a genuine philosophical problem. Our inclinations are forms of motivation, with respect to which we are distinctively passive. To be motivated is to be self-moved. But how can we be passive in relation to our own self-movement? Is our relation to our inclinations like that of rider to horse? Or is it like our relation to our own, spontaneous judgments or perceptions? I lay out three constraints on any theory of inclination, and I argue that familiar theories fail to meet them, because they make being inclined to φ too similar or dissimilar to φ-ing. I then put forward the “inner animal” view, which holds that when you are merely inclined to act, the instinctive part of yourself is already active, while the rest of you is not. In this moment, your will is “at a crossroads.” You can humanize your inclination, or dehumanize yourself. (shrink)
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There is a puzzle in the very notion of passive motivation ("passion" or "inclination"). To be motivated is not simply to be moved from the outside. Motivation is in some sense self-movement. But how can an agent be passive with respect to her own motivation? How is passive motivation possible? In this paper I defend the ancient view that inclination stems from a motivational source independent of reason, a motivational source that is both agential and nonrational.
In this paper I try to undermine complacency with a predominant conception of desire, for the sake of refocusing attention on a philosophical problem. The predominant conception holds that to have a desire is to occupy an evaluative outlook, a perspective from which the agent 'sees' the world in practically salient terms. I argue that it is not clear what this theory is a theory of, because the concept of desire at its center is deeply ambiguous. Understood as a theory (...) of desire in what I call the "placeholder" sense, the evaluative outlook theory is at bottom a theory of action explanation. So construed, its claim is relatively uncontroversial, and falls far short of being a full theory of action explanation. Understood as a theory of desire in what I call the "substantive" sense, it does not even go so far as to acknowledge the central problem such a theory has to answer. That problem is how we can be passive (in a particular sense) with respect to our own motivation. (shrink)