Descartes's Moral Theory
Most Cartesian scholars focus on the metaphysical and epistemological aspects of the philosopher's texts. In this long awaited volume, John Marshall invites us to reconsider René Descartes as an ethicist. Through an unconventional study of his statements about morality found in such writings as the Discourse on the Method, the Passions of the Soul, and various correspondence, Marshall shows how Descartes confirmed and elaborated his earlier "provisional morality" in his later works.Marshall demonstrates that Descartes left a fully developed conception of moral virtue and happiness along with other accounts of values and norms, and he expands on these accounts to describe Cartesian moral theory as a whole. He discusses the morale par provision of the Discourse, treats Descartes's "final morality" by focusing on his account of virtue, and sets out a Cartesian theory of value and system of duties. Throughout the text he uses numerous quotations to illustrate Descartes's comments on ethics, and he considers views of other commentators such as Gueroult.