Receptions of Descartes: Cartesianism and Anti-Cartesianism by Tad M. Schmaltz

By Tad M. Schmaltz

Receptions of Descartes is a set of labor by means of a world workforce of authors that makes a speciality of some of the ways that Descartes used to be interpreted, defended and criticized in early smooth Europe. The booklet is split into 5 sections, the 1st 4 of which specialize in Descartes' reception in particular French, Dutch, Italian and English contexts and the final of which matters the reception of Descartes between girl philosophers.

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Desgabets was also aware of the concern to have genuine transubstantiation versus a mere conversion of the bread into the body of Christ. Here, Desgabets again appeals to the Cartesian doctrine of matter and the general laws of union and avoids appeal to the Scholastic metaphysics of form and accident. On the Cartesian metaphysics of matter, the substance or essence of the bread is its extension in three dimensions, and the same is true of Christ’s body. What is formed at the time of the Holy Sacrament is a new mode of being for the union of matter and spirit, not the annihilation or creation of a new material substance.

3 While Arnauld acknowledged the nobility of attempting to reunite the Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists on the question of the Eucharist, he expressed dismay at Descartes’s views on the matter, and anger at the opinions Desgabets was now expressing on Descartes’s behalf, which ran counter to all Church authority and tradition (Arnauld 1727: vol. 2, 527–9). Some twenty years earlier, Arnauld had raised the question of real presence for Descartes’s account of matter. How could Christ be really present in the bread, without being locally extended in the same physical space occupied by the bread?

In effect, the bread remains unchanged in its local extension while being joined to the non-extended soul of Christ; the body of Christ becomes the local extension of the bread in virtue of the composite union of two substances, in just the way the human soul is united to a particular, locally extended body. Christ is really present in the locally extended bread in virtue of this conjunctive union. It is worth noticing that the account of the conjunctive union also provided Desgabets the means to explain the unity and multiplicity of hosts.

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