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De Novo Creat: Descartes On Action, Interaction, And Continuous Creation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses some of Descartes? key ideas about causality concerning the material world. It formulates the central principle Descartes holds to govern causal relations. After presenting two unsuccessful formulations of Descartes? causal principle, it suggests a third formulation and argues that it may enable us to construct a model that would allow those causal relations that Descartes clearly wants to endorse. The key concept in the third formulation of Descartes? causal principle is that of an active power, whose metaphysical basis is God. The chapter uses the term ?attribute? to stand for what Descartes calls a ?principal attribute?, a property that constitutes the essence of a substance. There are only two principal attributes: thought for minds and extension for bodies. He uses the term ?mode? to stand for an accidental property, a ?modification? of a substance.

Keywords: active power; causal relations; Descartes; material world



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