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Document Details :
Title: Oordeel en deugd in de cartesiaanse moraalfilosofie
Author(s): WIENAND, Isabelle
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 74 Issue: 3 Date: 2012
The kind of relation between judgment and virtues in Descartes’ practical philosophy is not as evident as it is generally assumed. A close reading of passages on judgment and virtues (in particular, in the Discourse on the Method III, the ‘Preface to the French edition’ in the Principles of Philosophy and in The Passions of the Soul) shows that there is not only one possible understanding of the relation between these two notions, but a variety of possible interpretations. This contribution aims at outlining this variety in order to suggest the reasons for this plurality of readings and the consequences it has for our understanding of Descartes’ philosophy. I first work out the notion of judgment and I distinguish between epistemic and moral judgment. In the second part, I try to clarify the notion of virtue and try to show that virtue, in the sense of firm and constant resolution to do the good, is either conceived as resulting from judgment, or as a condition for the possibility of judgment. In the third and last part, I raise the question whether Descartes’ position is not tantamount to endorsing the odd view according to which the resolution to perform morally good actions is a sufficient condition to reach legitimate self-contentment.