Chapter

Descartes's Use of the Concept of Substance

Desmond M. Clarke

in Descartes's Theory of Mind

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780199261239
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597213 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199261237.003.0009
 Descartes's Use of the Concept of Substance

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Cartesian substances are ultimate subjects of predication, not things in themselves (substrata) apart from their properties. Our knowledge of substances is limited to knowledge of their qualities. Since the concept of a material substance cannot explain anything about the properties of material things, so likewise the concept of an immaterial substance cannot explain anything about the mind or God. Substances may be combined if their properties are compatible.

Keywords: immaterial substance; material substance; predication; substance; substratum

Chapter.  14090 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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