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Descartes's theory of distinction.

In the first part of this paper the author explores the relations among distinctness, separability, number, and nonidentity. The paper argues that Descartes believes plurality in things themselves arises from distinction, so that things distinct in any of the three ways are not identical. The only exception concerns universals which, considered in things themselves, are identical to particulars. The paper also argues that to be distinct is to be separable. Things distinct by reason are separable only in thought by means of ideas not clear and distinct. In the second part the author argues that the notion of separability in Descartes's account of real distinction between mind and body is subject to five different interpretations. The claim is made that the heart of Cartesian dualism concerns the separability of the attributes thought and extension. It does not require that mind and body are separable in the sense that each can exist without the other existing.--Correspondence to:
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Title Annotation:Rene Descartes
Author:Hoffman, Paul
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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