Marie Jayasekera

Photo of Marie Jayasekera

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 also explore how theological doctrine, scientific developments, and socio-cultural factors are understood to be impediments to human agency.


“‘All in Their Nature Good’: Descartes on the Passions of the Soul,” forthcoming in the Journal of the History of Philosophy.

“Imitation and ‘Infinite’ Will: Descartes on the Imago Dei.” In Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume VIII, edited by Daniel Garber and Donald Rutherford, 1–38. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

“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

“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”