Category Archives: Spinoza

I am Not Luke Roelofs

Yesterday I argued that human beings have no real individuality – we can treat them, approximately, as individuals but questions about their identity over time will sometimes have no determinate answer. But this feels deeply wrong, and I think that … Continue reading

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Luke Roelofs is Not a Real Individual

Yesterday I argued that human beings are not substances or ‘things’ but rather complex actions performed by matter or by ‘the universe’. This might not seem like a big deal. After all, if might sound strange to say “the universe … Continue reading

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You Are a Mode: Spinoza on Individuals

One of the most famous claims of Spinoza’s metaphysics is that there is only one substance – only one real ‘thing’ – and everything else is a ‘mode’ of that. ‘Mode’ here means something like a property, an action, a … Continue reading

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Nietzsche/Spinoza: Striving and the Will-to-Power

Nietzsche and Spinoza are philosophers very different in temperament, but I’d like to suggest they agree entirely on a certain sort of motivational monism. Nietzsche famously suggests – with that vague, casual, conviction that characterises his writing – that every … Continue reading

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Spinoza, Panpsychism, and the Difference between Animals and Objects

What’s the difference between the mental lives of animals and of inanimate objects – between a human, say, and some mustard? The usual answer is simple: objects like mustard don’t have mental lives at all, while animals do. But some … Continue reading

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Having “Something to Do”: Spinoza as an Existentialist

In my recent posts on Spinoza I talked alot about the idea of our minds having a characteristic structure, and our mental lives being the self-maintenance of this structure. But what is this structure? What is the human ‘essence’? Spinoza … Continue reading

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Reading Spinoza’s ‘Ethics’, Post 7: EIIIP12-13

This is going to be the last of my posts focusing on particular propositions from the ‘Ethics’, because I think by the time you reach Propositions 12 and 13, it becomes less useful to focus on propositions in isolation than … Continue reading

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Reading Spinoza’s ‘Ethics’, Post 6: EIIIP11

Previous post here. “Whatever increases or diminishes…the power of activity in our body, the idea thereof increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of thought in our mind.” This proposition is actually fairly trivial, given Spinoza’s commitment to mind-body … Continue reading

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Reading Spinoza’s ‘Ethics’, Post 5: EIIIP10

An idea, which excludes the existence of our body, cannot be postulated in our mind, but is opposed to it. This is somewhat perplexing. What is it for an idea to exclude the existence of our body? Or to be … Continue reading

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Reading Spinoza’s ‘Ethics’, Post 4: EIIIP9

“The mind, both in so far as it has clear and distinct ideas, and also in so far as it has confused ideas, strives to persist in its being for an indefinite period, and of this endeavour it is conscious.” … Continue reading

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