Marie Jayasekera

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My research is on human agency in the early modern period. I am interested in how thinkers conceive of the will, activity, and freedom, and the general move in the period away from traditional conceptions of the will as the locus of freedom and agency. I explore how theological doctrine, scientific developments, and socio-cultural factors are understood as impediments to human agency.

For additional information on recent and forthcoming research, please see my research statement.


“Imitation and ‘Infinite’ Will: Descartes on the Imago Dei,” forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume VIII.

“Responsibility in Descartes’s Theory of Judgment,” Ergo 3, no. 12 (2016): 321-347.

“Descartes on Human Freedom,” Philosophy Compass 9, Issue 8 (2014): 527–539.

In Progress

“ ‘All in Their Nature Good’: Descartes on the Passions of the Soul” (under review, email me for draft)

“How is God a Threat to Cartesian Freedom?” (draft)

“Action and Passion in Descartes’s Philosophy of Mind” (handout)

“Descartes on the Will”

“Astell on Custom and Liberty”