Download Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz: The Concept of Substance in by Roger Woolhouse PDF

By Roger Woolhouse

Through the ebook, Roger Woolhouse presents a scientific therapy of the vital metaphysical perspectives of those vital and interrelated philosophers, contemplating their parts of contract and confrontation. Going past the traditional category of the 3 because the ''rationalists'', he explores their bills of what's actual and the way this lies on the middle in their philosophies. particularly, he indicates how they supplied the conceptual origin to the 17th-century technology of mechanics.

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Extra resources for Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz: The Concept of Substance in Seventeenth-Century Metaphysics

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Does this ‘monism’ contrast directly with Descartes’s ‘dualism’ described in the last chapter, his doctrine that there are two principal properties each of which constitutes the nature or essence of a substance? The question is important, and the answer to it is not straightforward. Broad11 characterises Descartes as a ‘differentiating attribute dualist’. By a ‘differentiating attribute’ he means something which makes for a kind of substance: so, in Descartes’s case, immaterial substance is differentiated by the attribute of thought, and corporeal substance by the attribute of extension.

In elaboration of the first of these Descartes says that ‘[e]verything else which can be attributed to body presupposes extension, and is merely a mode of an extended thing…. 53). Now just as a ‘principal’ property is one to which other properties are ‘referred’, so the characteristically Cartesian term ‘mode’ stands for the referred properties. Being square is referred to being extended, and squareness is a mode of extension. g. 10 But this does not really chime with the idea that motion is a mode of extension too.

Spinoza was questioned on this matter by Simon de Vries. ‘You seem to suppose’, he said in comment on an early draft of the Ethics, ‘that the nature of substance is so constituted that it can have more than one attribute, which you have not yet demonstrated’. In the absence of a proof, de Vries said, he would continue to suppose ‘that, where there are two different attributes, there are two different substances’ (Ep 8/C 193). Spinoza produced two proofs in reply. 22 Substantial attributes mark out ways of being, kinds of reality, so anything that is real exists as a thing of this or that kind.

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