Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Although Descartes considered human freedom to be of the utmost practical and theoretical importance, his remarks about it are scattered and highly ambiguous, giving rise to several conflicting interpretations of Cartesian freedom—especially as it relates to determinism. This chapter provides a survey of the relevant texts and the competing interpretations, arguing ultimately that for Descartes, human freedom consists in the ability to do the right thing. On this account, freedom is not compatible with being determined to err or to sin, but it is compatible with being determined to embrace the truth or to love God.

Keywords: freedom, determinism, self-determination, ability, error, providence

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.