Empirical Reality and Intelligible Matter

Kurt Smith

in Matter Matters

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583652
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723155 | DOI:
Empirical Reality and Intelligible Matter

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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

Chapter.  4053 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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