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: Philosurferuc@cs.com