•  887
    The Fourth Meditation and Cartesian Circles
    Philosophical Annals: Special Issue on Descartes' Epistemology 68 (2): 119-138. 2020.
    We offer a novel interpretation of the argumentative role that Meditation IV plays within the whole of the Meditations. This new interpretation clarifies several otherwise head-scratching claims that Descartes makes about Meditation IV, and it fully exonerates the Fourth Meditation from either raising or exacerbating Descartes’ circularity problems.
  •  842
    Against the new Cartesian Circle
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1): 66-74. 2017.
    In two recent papers, Michael Della Rocca accuses Descartes of reasoning circularly in the Fourth Meditation. This alleged new circle is distinct from, and more vicious than, the traditional Cartesian Circle arising in the Third Meditation. We explain Della Rocca’s reasons for this accusation, showing that his argument is invalid.
  •  336
    Joel Buenting (ed.) The Problem of Hell: A Philosophical Anthology. Ashgate, 2010
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 4 (3): 245--250. 2012.
  •  204
    Descartes on divine providence and human freedom
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 87 (2): 159-188. 2005.
    God’s providence appears to threaten the existence of human freedom. This paper examines why Descartes considered this threat merelyapparent. Section one argues that Descartes did not reconcile providence and freedom by adopting a compatibilist conception of freedom. Sections two and three argue that for Descartes, God’s superior knowledge allows God to providentially arrange free choices without causally determining them. Descartes’ position thus strongly resembles the “middle knowledge” soluti…Read more
  •  138
    Descartes on the principle of alternative possibilities
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (3): 377-394. 2006.
    : The principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) says that doing something freely implies being able to do otherwise. I show that Descartes consistently believed not only in PAP, but also in clear and distinct determinism (CDD), which claims that we sometimes cannot but judge true what we clearly perceive. Because Descartes thinks judgment is always a free act, PAP and CDD seem contradictory, but Descartes consistently resolved this apparent contradiction by distinguishing between two senses o…Read more
  •  108
    God, evil, and occasionalism
    Religious Studies 54 (2): 265-283. 2018.
    In a recent paper, Alvin Plantinga defends occasionalism against an important moral objection: if God is the sole direct cause of all the suffering that results from immoral human choices, this causal role is difficult to reconcile with God’s perfect goodness. Plantinga argues that this problem is no worse for occasionalism than for any of the competing views of divine causality; in particular, there is no morally relevant difference between God directly causing suffering and God indirectly caus…Read more
  •  103
    Descartes's theodicy
    Religious Studies 43 (2): 125-144. 2007.
    In the Fourth Meditation, Descartes asks: 'If God is no deceiver, why do we sometimes err?' Descartes's answer (despite initial appearances) is both systematic and necessary for his epistemological project. Two atheistic arguments from error purport to show that reason both proves and disproves God's existence. Descartes must block them to escape scepticism. He offers a mixed theodicy: the value of free will justifies God in allowing our actual errors, and the perfection of the universe may just…Read more
  •  90
    Alternative possibilities in Descartes's fourth meditation
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (3). 2006.
    This Article does not have an abstract
  •  73
    Is Hobbes Really an Antirealist about Accidents?
    European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (2): 11-25. 2018.
    In Metaphysical Themes, Robert Pasnau interprets Thomas Hobbes as an anti-realist about all accidents in general. In opposition to Pasnau, we argue that Hobbes is a realist about some accidents (e.g., motion and magnitude). Section One presents Pasnau’s position on Hobbes; namely, that Hobbes is an unqualified anti-realist of the eliminativist sort. Section Two offers reasons to reject Pasnau’s interpretation. Hobbes explains that magnitude is mind-independent, and he offers an account of percep…Read more
  •  56
    Descartes on Degrees of Freedom
    Essays in Philosophy 14 (2): 239-268. 2013.
    In an influential article, Anthony Kenny charged that (a) the view of freedom in Descartes’ “1645 letter to Mesland” is incoherent, and (b) that this incoherence was present in Descartes’ thought from the beginning. Against (b), I argue that such incoherence would rather support Gilson’s suspicions that the 1645 letter is dishonest. Against (a), I offer a close reading of the letter, showing that Kenny’s objection seems plausible only if we misconstrue a key ambiguity in the text. I close by def…Read more
  •  54
    The Rationalists (review)
    Teaching Philosophy 35 (1): 104-108. 2012.
  •  47
    The Trouble with Quiescence
    Philosophia Christi 8 (2): 343-362. 2006.
  •  39
    The Will to Reason: Theodicy and Freedom in Descartes
    Oxford University Press USA. 2016.
    Offering an original perspective on the central project of Descartes' Meditations, this book argues that Descartes' free will theodicy is crucial to his refutation of skepticism. A common thread runs through Descartes' radical First Meditation doubts, his Fourth Meditation discussion of error, and his pious reconciliation of providence and freedom: each involves a clash of perspectives-thinking of God seems to force conclusions diametrically opposed to those we reach when thinking only of oursel…Read more
  •  33
  •  30
    Descartes on the Principle of Alternative Possibilities
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (3): 377-394. 2006.
    The principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) says that doing something freely implies being able to do otherwise. I show that Descartes consistently believed not only in PAP, but also in clear and distinct determinism (CDD), which claims that we sometimes cannot but judge true what we clearly perceive. Because Descartes thinks judgment is always a free act, PAP and CDD seem contradictory, but Descartes consistently resolved this apparent contradiction by distinguishing between two senses of …Read more
  •  26
    Critical Study (review)
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2): 291-307. 1999.
  •  23
    Hell
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
  •  23
    Descartes on causation1
    Philosophical Books 50 (2): 99-111. 2009.
  •  22
    Softening Fischer’s Hard Compatibilism
    Modern Schoolman 88 (1-2): 51-71. 2011.
    According to “hard” compatibilists, we can be responsible for our actions not only when they are determined by mindless natural causes, but also when some agent other than ourselves intentionally determines us to act as we do. “Soft” compatibilists consider freedom compatible with merely natural determinism, but not with intentional determinism (e.g., theological determinism). Because he believes there is no relevant difference (NRD) between a naturally determined agent and a relevantly similar …Read more
  •  19
    The Rationalists (review)
    Teaching Philosophy 35 (1): 104-108. 2012.
  •  14
    Critical Study (review)
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2): 291-307. 1999.
  •  13
    Self, Reason, and Freedom: A New Light on Descartes’ Metaphysics (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 69 (3): 618-620. 2016.
  •  13
    Introduction: The Act of Philosophizing
    In Anne Applebaum (ed.), What is Philosophy?, Yale University Press. pp. 1-24. 2001.
  •  12
    What is Philosophy? (edited book)
    with Sarah Heidt and Sarah L. Heidt
    Yale University Press. 2001.
    In this stimulating book, six leading philosophers--Karl-Otto Apel, Robert Brandom, Karsten Harries, Martha Nussbaum, Barry Stroud, and Allen Wood--consider the nature of philosophy. Although each of them has a unique perspective, they all seem to agree that philosophy seeks to uncover hidden assumptions and concepts in order to expose them to critical scrutiny. It is thus entirely fitting that philosophers should examine their own assumptions about the nature of their discipline. As they delve …Read more
  • Is Descartes a Libertarian?
    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 3 57-90. 2006.
  • Is Descartes a Libertarian?
    In Daniel Garber & Steven Nadler (eds.), Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy Volume 3, Clarendon Press. 2006.