Spinoza and the problem of other substances

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):481-507 (2019)
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ABSTRACTMost of Spinoza’s arguments for God’s existence do not rely on any special feature of God, but instead on merely general features of substance. This raises the following worry: those arguments prove the existence of non-divine substances just as much as they prove God’s existence, and yet there is not enough room in Spinoza’s system for all these substances. I argue that Spinoza attempts to solve this problem by using a principle of plenitude to rule out the existence of other substances and that the principle cannot be derived from the PSR, as many claim.Abbreviation: PSR: Principle of Sufficient Reason.

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Galen Barry
Iona University


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