Presentation Title

Voluntary Action and the Causal Adequacy Principle

Presenter Information

Enny Jole, Occidental CollegeFollow

Start Date

12-11-2016 11:00 AM

End Date

12-11-2016 11:15 AM

Location

Watkins 1117

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

This paper will argue that the Casual Adequacy Principle (abbreviated "CAP" from here on out) presented by René Descartes is false by the existence of voluntary action. The CAP is the basis of Descartes' Trademark Argument found in Meditations on First Philosophy that argues for the existence of God in order to prevent an infinite regress for causes of ideas, where one idea is caused by another ad infinitum. According to the CAP, if p causes q, then p must have at least as much reality as q. In this paper I present an objection to the CAP by arguing that the CAP is false because people can have voluntary actions, which indicate some mode of the mind causing an action. Since Descartes holds that modes have less reality than substances, and actions act on substances, voluntary actions must be in violation of the CAP. However, voluntary actions still exist regardless, so the CAP must be false.

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Nov 12th, 11:00 AM Nov 12th, 11:15 AM

Voluntary Action and the Causal Adequacy Principle

Watkins 1117

This paper will argue that the Casual Adequacy Principle (abbreviated "CAP" from here on out) presented by René Descartes is false by the existence of voluntary action. The CAP is the basis of Descartes' Trademark Argument found in Meditations on First Philosophy that argues for the existence of God in order to prevent an infinite regress for causes of ideas, where one idea is caused by another ad infinitum. According to the CAP, if p causes q, then p must have at least as much reality as q. In this paper I present an objection to the CAP by arguing that the CAP is false because people can have voluntary actions, which indicate some mode of the mind causing an action. Since Descartes holds that modes have less reality than substances, and actions act on substances, voluntary actions must be in violation of the CAP. However, voluntary actions still exist regardless, so the CAP must be false.