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Descartes on Causation$
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Tad M. Schmaltz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327946

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327946.001.0001

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Causation and Freedom

Causation and Freedom

(p.178) 5 Causation and Freedom
Descartes on Causation

Tad M. schmaltz

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the special considerations for Descartes's theory of causation that arise from the various accounts of human freedom that he offered over the course of his philosophical career. The concern throughout is to relate these accounts to different views within scholasticism concerning the “indifference” of our free action and the compatibility of such action with divine foreknowledge and providence. There is also a consideration of Descartes's idiosyncratic doctrine of the divine creation of eternal truths. It is argued that the implication of this doctrine that God is the cause even of truths concerning our free action does not compromise his mature position that our undetermined will, rather than God, is the immediate causal source of that action.

Keywords:   Descartes, causation, human freedom, scholasticism, indifference, foreknowledge, providence, eternal truths

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