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What's Done, is Done: Descartes on Resoluteness and Regret

27 July 2013

Abstract

In René Descartes’ correspondence with Elizabeth (mainly 1645‑1647) as well as his Passions of the Soul (1649), Descartes says that regret is appropriate only when agents act irresolutely, regardless of whether or not their actions bring about good states-of-affairs. In this paper I set out to explain what Descartes views as a novel account of virtue: that being virtuous amounts to being resolute. I show how this account of virtue fits into Descartes’ larger world-view, and then examine his belief that a person should not regret resolute misdeeds.


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