Descartes Free Will

1986 WordsMar 13, 20028 Pages
In Meditations on First Philosophy Descartes attempts to explain the cause of errors in human beings. Descartes says that error occurs "since the will extends further than the intellect" (Descartes p.39). That's because our intellect is something that is finite; it is limited to the perception of only certain things. Whereas our will, ability to choose is not limited; it is has an infinite capacity. Therefore we sometimes attempt to will things which we do not have a complete understanding of. Descartes' argument, as I will briefly describe, is quite sound, if you agree to all his conditions (being that the intellect is limited and the will infinite). I am not, as of yet, sure if I necessarily agree to the later of his two…show more content…
The first aspect I would like to navigate through is the constraints placed on the ability to choose. One does not have the opportunity to choose freely in an organized society, community or institute. There seems to always be a restriction to the actual amount of choices one has. If Descartes was correct in his assumption of complete freedom of choice and will every option would be available to someone at any given time, in any given situation. But this is not necessarily the condition. There are a few different examples that one can view to comprehend this facet of my argument. Take for instance, perhaps an extreme but an occurrence none the less, people born of poverty do not have the ability to choose to acquire certain things. It is impossible simply by the fact that they do not have the means to get it. There is no choice of purchasing a fifty dollar object if all one has is twenty dollars. I feel though that perhaps Descartes was speaking of another free will, a non-materialistic aspect. Another example one can then try to explain is how in many middle eastern nations individuals are born into a society where one religion is forced upon them. They must live to follow this religion or risk outcast by the community or even death. In such a decision one does not have the opportunity to choose to not follow the religion because, although it may seem available, most choices against the norm bring with them an extreme consequences.
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