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Matter MattersMetaphysics and Methodology in the Early Modern Period$
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Kurt Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583652

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583652.001.0001

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A General Theory of Clarity and Distinctness

A General Theory of Clarity and Distinctness

Chapter:
(p.83) 5 A General Theory of Clarity and Distinctness
Source:
Matter Matters
Author(s):

Kurt Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583652.003.0006

In this chapter a general theory of clarity and distinctness is developed, as it is found in one of the earliest of Descartes's writings, the Rules. Here, the chapter explains that the systematic schema of simple natures, which are the elements of our ideas, is what Descartes calls an enumeration. This, the chapter discovers, is an ancestor to what today is called a logical partition. The method is shown to have utilized equivalence relations, which Descartes calls common notions. It is the Cartesian method of analysis.

Keywords:   analysis, simple natures, common natures, common notions, enumeration, partition, equivalence relations

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