DESCARTES' ‘PROVISIONAL MORALITY’
Article first published online: 25 JUL 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly © 2012 University of Southern California and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly
Volume 93, Issue 3, pages 353–372, September 2012
How to Cite
CIMAKASKY, J. and POLANSKY, R. (2012), DESCARTES' ‘PROVISIONAL MORALITY’. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 93: 353–372. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0114.2012.01430.x
- Issue published online: 7 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 25 JUL 2012
Discourse on Method part 3 offers une morale par provision, usually translated as ‘a provisional moral code’. Occasionally it has been questioned that this code is temporary and restricted to those engaged in pure inquiry. We argue that Descartes intends the moral code to be his final ethical position universally applicable. Since the moral code is ‘derived from’ the rules of method, it should have their permanence, holding for the time pure inquiry commences and when it completes the sciences. Moreover, the four moral maxims replace the classical cardinal virtues. Thus they are meant to govern the lives of all persons.