Chapter

Distinctness

Clarence Bonnen and Daniel Flage

in New Essays on the Rationalists

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195165418
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868285 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195165411.003.0013
Distinctness

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The paper argues that, for Descartes, an idea of x is distinct only if that idea is subsumed under an eternal truth that specifies the conditions sufficient for x to exist, where x is taken to be an entity of a particular kind. It is argued that clear and distinct ideas are materially true, i.e., pertain to possible existence. It is shown that clarity and distinctness pertain primarily to perceptions as acts, and that it is possible to have alternative distinct ideas of a single thing. The discussion relates clarity and distinctness to the Cartesian method, to the cogito, and to ideas of God and the self.

Keywords: Clarence Bonnen; clarity; clear and distinct; cogito; Daniel Flage; Descartes; distinctness; God; ideas; method; perceptions; self

Chapter.  6546 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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