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Cartesian Theodicy: Descartes’ Quest for Certitude by Z. Janowski

By Z. Janowski

Almost all interpreters of Cartesian philosophy have hitherto serious about the epistemological point of Descartes' notion. In his Cartesian Theodicy, Janowski demonstrates that Descartes' epistemological difficulties are purely rearticulations of theological questions. for instance, Descartes' try and outline the position of God in man's cognitive fallibility is a reiteration of an outdated argument that issues out the incongruity among the lifestyles of God and evil, and his pivotal query `whence error?' is proven right here to be a rephrasing of the query `whence evil?' the reply Descartes provides within the Meditations is de facto a reformulation of the reply present in St. Augustine's De Libero Arbitrio and the Confessions. The impact of St. Augustine on Descartes is also detected within the doctrine of everlasting truths which, in the context of the 17th-century debates over the query of the character of divine freedom, prompted Descartes to best friend himself with the Augustinian Oratorians opposed to the Jesuits. either in his Cartesian Theodicy in addition to his Index Augustino-Cartesian, Textes etCommentaire Janowski exhibits that the complete Cartesian metaphysics can - and may - be learn in the context of Augustinian thought.

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Augustine on Descartes must have been more considerable than the documents at our disposal allow us to demonstrate. with the Jesuits is one-sided. The animosity can be explained also in tenus of the afrmities of the underpinings of Descartes' epistemology with the theology of St. Augustine that divided the Catholic Church in the seventeenth century. For the theological implications of Cartesianism for Catholic theology, see Laporte: 1950,339-419; Feret: 1904, vol. III, 21-39. 78. It seems that Gibieuf had bad luck not only during his life but even after his death.

5l. St. Augustine, Letter 89. 52. De Libertate, iii: "Hanc autem explicandi rationem ex D. " 53. De Libertate, 69. 54. De Libertate, 69. 38 Cartesian Theodicy perfecta libertas 55 ). God is not moved to action by any end in view (Deus non movetur ad agendum a Fine, etiam Seipso56); He is limited neither by place nor by nature. 57 Man, on the contrary, is free in so far as he does God's will. "58 From this it follows that if man is capable of doing good out of his own resources (and man is so capable because God's grace even if necessary is distributed equally), he can also be indifferent with respect to the choice between good and evil, right and wrong, and truth and falsity.

Augustine, Enchiridion, 11, 95, 96, 99, 100. 68. Med. ). 69 The above allows us to fonnulate a few general conclusions concerning the "agreement" between Descartes and Gibieuf. In the first of his three letters to Mersenne of 1630, Descartes writes: "In my treatise on physics I shall discuss a number of metaphysical topics and especially the following. The mathematical truths which you call eternal have been laid down by God and depend on him entirely no less than the rest of his creatures" (15 April 1630).

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