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date: 24 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter defends the systematic nature of Descartes’s metaphysics by locating the source of many of his doctrines in one central, unifying principle. This principle, that the attributes of a substance are identical with the substance itself and with each other, underlies many of Descartes’s most important metaphysical doctrines. An appreciation of the principle resolves several interpretive puzzles pertaining to his metaphysics, provides Descartes with resources for answering objections, uncovers his reasons for holding doctrines that otherwise seem unmotivated, and reveals his commitment to views that he never explicitly affirms. It thus goes beyond the texts while also elucidating them in surprising ways.

Keywords: attribute, God, metaphysics, simplicity, substance

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