In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Clarke's Extended Soul EZIO VAILATI DESCARTES NOTORIOUSLY denied that the soul is extended, at least in the same way in which res extensa is, because extension and thought are distinct attributes belonging to different types of substance, body and mind. His view was vigorously attacked by Henry More, who, to Descartes's claim that the soul could be considered extended only in the sense that its operations can affect the body, rather pointedly replied that since the operations of a substance are nothing but its modifications, spirits must be substantially present where they operate, and consequently must be extended.' However, the claim that the soul is extended was apparently at odds with the traditional immaterialist view that the soul is indivisible. More's difficulties were indicative of the problem. At times, he seemed satisfied with merely claiming that there is no contradiction in the notion of a soul which is both extended and indivisible, i.e., such that its parts are so tied together as to be inseparable.' At other times, he tried to prove that the soul is indivisible by dubious arguments revolving around the notion of necessary emanation from the "Center of the Spirit, which is not a Mathematical point, but Substance, so little in magnitude, that it is indivisible."3 However, in spite of More's protestations to the contrary, it seemed clear that the infinite littleness of the centers of spirits could at most guarantee defacto indivisibility and would fall short of the essential indivisibility which was traditionally attributed to the soul.4 ' See More's third letter to Descartes, in Henry More, OperaOmnia (London, a674-79; reprint Hildesheim, 1966), vol. II, tome 2, p. 255. Henceforth cited as More, followed by volume, tome, and page numbers. The same point is repeated, e.g., in Er~hiridiumMetaphysicum,ch. 27, sec. 5, in More, II, l, 3o9, in the middle of a sustained attack against nullibilism, the position that the soul is not in space and which More associated most closely with Descartes, whom he called "nullibistarum princeps" (ch. 27, sec. 2, in More, II, 1, 3o7). On Descartes's reception in England, see A. Pacchi, Cartesioin lnghilterra da More a Boyle(Bail, 1973). 9More, ImmortalitasAnimae, bk. l, ch. 2, sec. a2, in More, II, 2,294-95. sMore, lmmortalitasAnimae, bk. i, ch. 6, sec. 1, in More, II, 2, 3o2. For his viewson emanation, see sees. 2-3, in More II, 2,302-303. 4More, ImmortalitasAnimae, bk. t, ch. 6, sec. 3, in More, If, 2, 3o3. For More, the soul enjoys "perfect indivisibilityof the parts, although not an intellectual indivisibility" (lmmortalitasAnimae, hk. [387] 388 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 31:3 JULY 1993 Among the philosophers who agreed with More's suggestion that the soul is both extended and indivisible was Samuel Clarke.s He held that the soul is an essential unity, and consequently necessarily indivisible, because it is the subject in which consciousness, itself an essentially unitary power, inheres. In light of More's problems, it should come as no surprise that Clarke's thesis that the soul is an essential unity which is also extended was repeatedly attacked. In particular, the issue of the extension of the soul played a significant role in the correspondence between Clarke and Leibniz. What follows is a study of Clarke's claim that the soul is both essentially indivisible and extended, and of the challenges presented to it by two philosophers engaged in controversy with him, namely, Anthony Collins and Leibniz. In addition, we shall briefly consider two objections which an anonymous correspondent aimed at Clarke's claims about divine immensity, because Clarke's replies will prove relevant to the issue of the extension of the soul. The material considered was written in the period between 17o4 and 1716, Clarke's philosophically most productive years. 1. THE EXTENSION OF THE SOUL According to Clarke, while God is not in space, everything else, including souls and thoughts, is.6 Not only is the soul in space, but it is in a particular place, the semorium, which a part of the brain occupies (C. to L., IV, 37). I, ch. 6, sec. 3; see also sec...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 387-403
Launched on MUSE
Open Access


Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.