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Matter MattersMetaphysics and Methodology in the Early Modern Period$
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Kurt Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583652

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583652.001.0001

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Empirical Reality and Intelligible Matter

Empirical Reality and Intelligible Matter

(p.259) 15 Empirical Reality and Intelligible Matter
Matter Matters

Kurt Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In this chapter another new interpretation of Descartes is examined, a view which argues that Descartes took there to be only one body, known as res extensa, to exist independent of mind. This is contrasted with the earlier, traditional reading, which reads Descartes as holding that bodies (plural) exist independent of mind. It is argued that these interpretations are in the end not in competition, but rather track different strains of thought in Descartes concerning the reality of matter. The ‘many bodies’ view is read as tracking Descartes's thinking that matter is empirically real, the ‘one body’ view as tracking his thinking that matter is either transcendentally ideal or transcendentally real.

Keywords:   empirical ideality, empirical reality, transcendental ideality, transcendental reality

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