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Anat Schechtman
University of Wisconsin, Madison
  1. Descartes's Argument for the Existence of the Idea of an Infinite Being.Anat Schechtman - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (3):487-517.
    the meditations on first philosophy presents us with an alleged proof for the existence of God that proceeds from the existence of an idea of an infinite being in the human mind—an idea of God—to the existence of God himself. Insofar as we have an idea of an infinite being, an idea with “infinite objective reality,” we can legitimately ask whence it came to us. The only possible cause of this idea, claims Descartes, is an infinite being, namely, God. The (...)
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  2. Three Infinities in Early Modern Philosophy.Anat Schechtman - 2019 - Mind 128 (512):1117-1147.
    Many historical and philosophical studies treat infinity as an exclusively quantitative notion, whose proper domain of application is mathematics and physics. The main aim of this paper is to disentangle, by critically examining, three notions of infinity in the early modern period, and to argue that one—but only one—of them is quantitative. One of these non-quantitative notions concerns being or reality, while the other concerns a particular iterative property of an aggregate. These three notions will emerge through examination of three (...)
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  3. Substance and Independence in Descartes.Anat Schechtman - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (2):155-204.
    Descartes notoriously characterizes substance in two ways: first, as an ultimate subject of properties ; second, as an independent entity. The characterizations have appeared to many to diverge on the definition as well as the scope of the notion of substance. For it is often thought that the ultimate subject of properties need not—and, in some cases, cannot—be independent. Drawing on a suite of historical, textual, and philosophical considerations, this essay argues for an interpretation that reconciles Descartes's two characterizations. It (...)
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    The Ontic and the Iterative: Descartes on the Infinite and the Indefinite.Anat Schechtman - 2018 - In Igor Agostini, Richard T. W. Arthur, Geoffrey Gorham, Paul Guyer, Mogens Lærke, Yitzhak Y. Melamed, Ohad Nachtomy, Sanja Särman, Anat Schechtman, Noa Shein & Reed Winegar (eds.), Infinity in Early Modern Philosophy. Springer Verlag. pp. 27-44.
    Descartes’s metaphysics posits a sharp distinction between two types of non-finitude, or unlimitedness: whereas God alone is infinite, numbers, space, and time are indefinite. The distinction has proven difficult to interpret in a way that abides by the textual evidence and conserves the theoretical roles that the distinction plays in Descartes’s philosophy—in particular, the important role it plays in the causal proof for God’s existence in the Meditations. After formulating the interpretive task, I criticize extant interpretations of the distinction. I (...)
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    The Allegedly Cartesian Roots of Spinoza's Metaphysics.Anat Schechtman - 2018 - Philosophers' Imprint 18.
    There is a familiar story about Spinoza on which his substance monism arises straightforwardly from Descartes’ own conception of substance, which the latter combines—not entirely consistently—with substance pluralism. I argue that this story is mistaken: substance pluralism is fully consistent with Descartes’ conception of substance; it is also consistent with his claim that the term ‘substance’ is non-univocal. In defense of these claims, I argue that Descartes denies, whereas Spinoza accepts, that causation precludes the kind of independence that is characteristic (...)
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    Infinity in Early Modern Philosophy.Igor Agostini, Richard T. W. Arthur, Geoffrey Gorham, Paul Guyer, Mogens Lærke, Yitzhak Y. Melamed, Ohad Nachtomy, Sanja Särman, Anat Schechtman, Noa Shein & Reed Winegar (eds.) - 2018 - Springer Verlag.
    This volume contains essays that examine infinity in early modern philosophy. The essays not only consider the ways that key figures viewed the concept. They also detail how these different beliefs about infinity influenced major philosophical systems throughout the era. These domains include mathematics, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, science, and theology. Coverage begins with an introduction that outlines the overall importance of infinity to early modern philosophy. It then moves from a general background of infinity up through Kant. Readers will learn (...)
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