Alice Sowaal
San Francisco State University
At the crux of Descartes's general metaphysics and epistemology are his accounts of substances, attributes and ideas of substances and attributes. In spite of the centrality of these theories, there is wide disagreement among scholars about how to interpret them. I approach these debates by focusing on Descartes's theory of the infinite substance ? God. I argue that God's attributes are neither individual, inseparable properties that inhere in God (contra Kenny, Wilson, Curley, Hoffman) nor deductions from God (contra Lennon), but attributions that can consistently be made to God. On this account, the diversity of God's attributes is due to how meditators refer to the various cognitive routes they take to clear and distinct perceptions of God; what makes a meditator's clear and distinct perception of God more distinct is that it becomes more stable ? the meditator can more easily retain and regain the perception. Other virtues of this interpretation include accounts of the following: the puzzling remarks about essences that Descartes makes to Gassendi; what founds conceptual distinctions in reality; and why the Cartesian meditator ?proves? the existence of God several times in the Meditations
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2011.563520
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References found in this work BETA

The Philosophical Writings of Descartes.Rene Descartes - 1984 - Cambridge University Press.
Descartes’s Theory of Distinction.Paul Hoffman - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (1):57-78.
Descartes: A Study of His Philosophy.Anthony Kenny (ed.) - 1968 - St. Augustine's Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Unity of Substance and Attribute in Spinoza.R. Kyle Driggers - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-19.

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