Rethinking the Ontology of Cartesian Essences

The old and recent debates on Cartesian essences have focused on the question of whether Descartes is a Platonist or a conceptualist about essences. I argue that this is a false dichotomy. An adequate account of Cartesian essences must accommodate and reconcile two central doctrines and texts in Descartes' philosophy. I will argue that recent conceptualist and Platonist interpretations neither accommodate these doctrines nor reconcile these texts. Such failures are not accidental since Descartes' doctrines of divine creation and simplicity render it impossible for Descartes to be either a conceptualist or a Platonist. Failure to notice this fact explains why there has been no progress on this exegetical issue
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2011.583414
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References found in this work BETA
Jonathan Bennett (1994). Descartes's Theory of Modality. Philosophical Review 103 (4):639-667.
Lawrence Nolan (1997). The Ontological Status of Cartesian Natures. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (2):169–194.

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