MT205-P01. PREV - NEXT - THIS - UPPER - TOPWe proceed to the simplicity of God. In order to correctly understand this attribute of God we should recall what Descartes said in the "Prin. of Phil.," Part 1., Arts. 48 and 49, viz., that in nature we know only substances and their modes. From this comes the distinction, Arts. 60, 61, and 62, of things as real and modal, and rational. That is called real which distinguishes two substances from one another, whether two different substances, or attributes of the same substance; as for example, thought and extension or different parts of matter. These we know are different because each may be conceived apart from the other, and consequently may so exist. Modal distinctions are of two kinds, namely, that between a mode of a substance and the substance itself, and that between two modes of one substance. The first we recognize because while one mode may be conceived without another, neither can exist apart from the substance whose modes they are; the second because while substance can be conceived without its modes, modes cannot be conceived apart from substance. Finally, a rational distinction is that arising between substance and its attributes, as, for example, when duration is distinguished from extension. We recognize this distinction because substance cannot be understood without that attribute.
The threefold distinction of things as real, modal, and rational.
MT205-P02. PREV - NEXT - THIS - UPPER - TOPFrom these three forms of things all forms of combination arise. The first form is that made by the combination of two or more substances, the attributes being the same, as the combination of bodies, or the attributes being different, as in man. The second class is made by the union of different modes. The third is not made in reality, but only conceived as made in order to better understand objects. What does not come under the first two of these heads is not composite, but simple in its nature.
Whence combinations arise, and how many forms there are.