Descartes and Individual Corporeal Substance

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Abstract
This essay explores the vexed issue of individual corporeal substance in Descartes' natural philosophy. Although Descartes' often referred to individual material objects as separate substances, the constraints on his definitions of matter and substance would seem to favor the opposite view; namely, that there exists only one corporeal substance, the plenum. In contrast to this standard interpretation, however, it will be demonstrated that Descartes' hypotheses make a fairly convincing case for the existence of individual material substances; and the key to this new found individuation is a long neglected set of passages in the Principles of Philosophy.
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Archival date: 2020-05-22
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