So, since 1931, when the Statute of Westminster recognised the equality of Canada, and the other realms, with the United Kingdom, there has been no example of the Canadian Parliament assenting to
an act of the United Kingdom Parliament affecting the Crown for Canada, without it having to become part of Canadian law.
Although Epictetus sometimes seems to place the impression itself as the trigger of our actions (5), the distinction between having an impression and assenting to it is crucial, not only for Epictetus' orthodoxy, but also for his entire pedagogical enterprise, because as we shall see, the possibility of adopting the critical attitude defining the first step in the road to moral and epistemic improvement lies in human beings' capacity to refrain from assenting to a given impression.
Furthermore, the process of assenting to an impression (12) is not something that necessarily takes place within an instant, and it is precisely the distinctive feature of rational beings to be able to refrain from immediately (euthus) assenting to an impression (13): while the rest of living beings operate in a fully automatic manner, responding to external stimuli in a predictable and generic way, the mental operations of a rational being are mediated by acts of assent that express their epistemic and moral disposition at the same time.
Unlike the vicious individual, Epictetus moral progressor does not assent to impressions as soon as they come to his mind, but rather stops to examine them (diakrino, dokimazo) (26) before assenting to or rejecting them.
Ifwe interpret those passages in this way, we are making room for the possibility that we may voluntarily refrain from assenting to a certain impression, and yet not be able to act contrary to it as long as we have not ruled it out as false.
Whether or not we critically examine our impressions before assenting to or rejecting them, that act is not the operation of a neutral, transcendental faculty which might be considered to be independent from our epistemic history.
If we go back to Epictetus' demand for a critical examination of our impression and to the idea that ought implies can, a serious problem seems to arise, which is that, if our acts of assent are an expression of our epistemic disposition, DC seems to make no sense from a practical point of view, because whether or not I critically examine my impressions before assenting to them depends on my epistemic disposition.
Even if we grant that a critical analysis of the impressions that come to my mind is a necessary condition for my actions (or at least my impulses (70)) to be virtuous, it is certainly not a sufficient condition--after all, I can spend days or even months deliberating about whether the impression 'it is kathekon to do X' is true or not, and yet end up assenting to the wrong alternative.
Given that the passage does not focus on the rash assent of the vicious individual, it might be taken to mean that there is no critical assessment at all of an impression before assenting to it, given that we assent euthus.
Naaman-Zauderer sees this deontological view of rationality as offering a solution to the much discussed problem of the Cartesian circle: even if Descartes' argument is circular and even if our clear and distinct ideas might indeed be false, we would not be considered irrational for assenting to them.
An analysis of the latter scenario unveils the source of the bindingness of our epistemic duty: in assenting to a clear and distinct idea we experience our will as fully unified with our intellect and as the only source of our inclination to assent; intellectual necessity and intellectual freedom are now one and the same.
Similarly, in theoretical matters, truth is the initial goal; but assenting to clear and distinct ideas comes to be considered an aim in its own right, due to its association with and conduciveness to truth.