Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

A Critique of Volition: An Alternative Doctrine of the Will and Intellect Reconciling That of 17th-Century Rationalist Philosophers Descartes and Spinoza

Version 1 : Received: 19 April 2019 / Approved: 22 April 2019 / Online: 22 April 2019 (11:58:35 CEST)

How to cite: Carroll, L.S.L. A Critique of Volition: An Alternative Doctrine of the Will and Intellect Reconciling That of 17th-Century Rationalist Philosophers Descartes and Spinoza. Preprints 2019, 2019040248 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201904.0248.v1). Carroll, L.S.L. A Critique of Volition: An Alternative Doctrine of the Will and Intellect Reconciling That of 17th-Century Rationalist Philosophers Descartes and Spinoza. Preprints 2019, 2019040248 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201904.0248.v1).

Abstract

The will and intellect have been debated philosophically without resolution for centuries. It is for this reason that this article considers doctrines of the will and intellect of two 17th-century rationalist philosophers, Rene Descartes, and Baruch Spinoza, both of whom were chosen as the focus for analysis because of their prominence and contrasting views. Our objective was to critique the doctrine of the will and intellect to develop an alternate theory that expounds on their previous work. A qualitative exploration was undertaken that compared their respective belief systems of Dualism and Monism. Despite the strengths of their arguments, an analysis of Part V of Spinoza’s Ethics and Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy by Descartes led the author to determine that both were partially correct in their positions yet consistent with one another. From this conclusion and building upon their work, this article presents the synthesis of the author’s alternate theory regarding the qualitative characteristics of both the will and intellect. An ontological argument against the existence of infinite entities as a corollary with the implication that neither the will, intellect, nor God can be infinite. While the limitation of the conclusions drawn is that they are dependent on the author’s philosophical framework, the originality of this paper is based on the author’s synthesis of one coherent theory from two philosophers espousing contrasting theistic systems and should serve as the foundation for future exploration and debate.

Subject Areas

Metaphysics; Ontology; Volition; Intellect; Freedom of the Will

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