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The power of reason in Spinoza

In Olli Koistinen (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza's Ethics. Cambridge University Press (2009)

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  1. Spinoza on Activity in Sense Perception.Valtteri Viljanen - 2014 - In José Filipe Silva & Mikko Yrjönsuuri (eds.), Active Perception in the History of Philosophy: From Plato to Modern Philosophy. Cham [Switzerland]: Springer. pp. 241-254.
    There can be little disagreement about whether ideas of sense perception are, for Spinoza, to be classed as passions or actions—the former is obviously the correct answer. All this, however, does not mean that sense perception would be, for Spinoza, completely passive. In this essay I argue argues that there is in the Ethics an elaborate—and to my knowledge previously unacknowledged—line of reasoning according to which sense perception of finite things never fails to contain a definite active component. This argument (...)
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  • Spinoza on the Power of Reason Over the Passions.Noa Lahav Ayalon - 2023 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 31 (5):665-688.
    In the first half of Part 5 of the Ethics, Spinoza presents his directions for mitigating the passions through reason. He touts his account of the power of reason over the passions as ground-breaking and unique, while positioning himself squarely within the traditional debate of akrasia, or weakness of will. Spinoza claims he is the first to identify the affects through their characteristic effects, and demonstrate the way these effects can be countered by the mind’s activity. It follows that Spinoza’s (...)
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  • Reason and Knowledge in Spinoza.John R. T. Grey - 2015 - In Andre Santos Campos (ed.), Spinoza: Basic Concepts. Imprint Academic. pp. 71-83.
    This chapter investigates Spinoza's conception of reason, focusing on (i) the difference between reason and the imagination, and (ii) the difference between reason and intuitive knowledge. The central interpretive debate this chapter considers is about the scope of rational cognition. Some commentators have argued that it is only possible to have rational cognition of properties that are universally shared, whereas intuitive knowledge may grasp the essences of particular individuals. Another prominent interpretation is that reason differs from intuition only in virtue (...)
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  • The Susceptibility of Intuitive Knowledge to Akrasia in Spinoza's Ethical Thought.Sanem Soyarslan - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (4):725-747.
    Spinoza unequivocally states in the Ethics that intuitive knowledge is more powerful than reason. Nonetheless, it is not clear what exactly this greater power promises in the face of the passions. Does this mean that intuitive knowledge is not liable to akrasia? Ronald Sandler offers what, to my knowledge, is the only explicit answer to this question in recent Spinoza scholarship. According to Sandler, intuitive knowledge, unlike reason, is not susceptible to akrasia. This is because, intuitive knowledge enables the knower (...)
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  • Part V of Spinoza's Ethics: Intuitive knowledge, contentment of mind, and intellectual love of God.Kristin Primus - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (6):e12838.
    Philosophy Compass, Volume 17, Issue 6, June 2022.
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  • Spinoza on Destroying Passions with Reason.Colin Marshall - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):139-160.
    Spinoza claims we can control any passion by forming a more clear and distinct idea of it. The interpretive consensus is that Spinoza is either wrong or over-stating his view. I argue that Spinoza’s view is plausible and insightful. After breaking down Spinoza’s characterization of the relevant act, I consider four existing interpretations and conclude that each is unsatisfactory. I then consider a further problem for Spinoza: how his definitions of ‘action’ and ‘passion’ make room for passions becoming action. I (...)
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  • Rational Mastery, the Perfectly Free Man, and Human Freedom.Yakir Levin - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (3):1253-1274.
    This paper examines the coherence of Spinoza’s combined account of freedom, reason, and the affects and its applicability to real humans in the context of the perfectly free man Spinoza discusses towards the end of part 4 of the Ethics. On the standard reading, the perfectly free man forms the model of human nature and thus the goal to which real humans should aspire. A recently proposed non-standard reading, however, posits that the perfectly free man should not be considered the (...)
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  • A Critical Assessment of Spinoza’s Theory of Affect: Affects, Beliefs, and Human Freedom.Ahmet Aktaş - 2018 - Beytulhikme An International Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):251-272.
    Affects are intentional structures of beliefs and desires. Many philosophers have plausibly argued that Spinoza’s theory of ideas is a kind of theory of belief by this time yet this claim has rarely been taken into account when it comes to Spinoza’s theory of affects, which is actually a part of his theory of ideas. This paper shows that if this point is taken seriously when regarding Spinoza’s theory of affects we reach significant results about the fifth part of Ethics. (...)
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  • Mind-Body Parallelism and Spinoza's Philosophy of Mind.Ruben Noorloos - 2022 - Dissertation, Central European University
    Mind-body parallelism is the view that mind and body stand in the same “order and connection,” as Spinoza put it, or that corresponding mental and physical states have corresponding causal explanations in terms of other mental and physical states. This dissertation investigates the nature and role of mind-body parallelism, as well as other forms of parallelism, in Spinoza’s philosophy of mind. In doing so, it also considers how Spinoza’s views relate to current discussions. In present-day philosophy of mind, mind-body parallelism (...)
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  • Spinoza's Rethinking of Activity: From the Short Treatise to the Ethics.Andrea Sangiacomo & Ohad Nachtomy - 2018 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (1):101-126.
    This paper argues that God's immanent causation and Spinoza's account of activity as adequate causation (of finite modes) do not always go together in Spinoza's thought. We show that there is good reason to doubt that this is the case in Spinoza's early Short Treatise on God, Man and His Well‐being. In the Short Treatise, Spinoza defends an account of God's immanent causation without fully endorsing the account of activity as adequate causation that he will later introduce in the Ethics (...)
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  • Spinoza and the Inevitable Perfection of Being.Sanja Särman - 2019 - Dissertation, The University of Hong Kong
    Metaphysics and ethics are two distinct fields in academic philosophy. The object of metaphysics is what is, while the object of ethics is what ought to be. Necessitarianism is a modal doctrine that appears to obliterate this neat distinction. For it is commonly assumed that ought (at least under normal circumstances) implies can. But if necessitarianism is true then I can only do what I actually do. Hence what I ought to do becomes limited to what I in fact do. (...)
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  • Spinoza on Emotion and Akrasia.Christiaan Remmelzwaal - 2016 - Dissertation, Université de Neuchatel
    The objective of this doctoral dissertation is to interpret the explanation of akrasia that the Dutch philosopher Benedictus Spinoza (1632-1677) gives in his work The Ethics. One is said to act acratically when one intentionally performs an action that one judges to be worse than another action which one believes one might perform instead. In order to interpret Spinoza’s explanation of akrasia, a large part of this dissertation investigates Spinoza’s theory of emotion. The first chapter is introductory and outlines Spinoza’s (...)
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  • Spinoza's Theory of the Human Mind: Consciousness, Memory, and Reason.Oberto Marrama - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Groningen/Uqtr
    Spinoza attributes mentality to all things existing in nature. He claims that each thing has a mind that perceives everything that happens in the body. Against this panpsychist background, it is unclear how consciousness relates to the nature of the mind. This study focuses on Spinoza’s account of the conscious mind and its operations. It builds on the hypothesis that Spinoza’s panpsychism can be interpreted as a self-consistent philosophical position. It aims at providing answers to the following questions: what is (...)
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