The Necessity of Finite Modes in Spinoza

Cheolhak-Korean Journal of Philosophy 156:49-89 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


It is standard to think that in Spinoza’s system, all things are necessary and in no sense contingent. However, in his classic book, Spinoza’s Metaphysics, published in 1969, Edwin Curley argues based on the proposition 28 of the first part of the Ethics that Spinoza endorses necessitarianism of only a modest kind, according to which when it comes to finite modes, there is a sense in which they are contingent. In this paper, I revisit Curley’s argument. Commentators have responded to Curley’s argument, showing that Spinoza’s remarks on infinite modes entail that finite modes can in no sense be contingent. But this alone falls short of dispelling Curley’s misgivings about the standard interpretation, for it remains unexplained why Curley is wrong in thinking that the proposition 28 supports his moderate necessitarian interpretation. In defense of the standard interpretation, I bolster the usual response to Curley in greater detail than has been done in the literature and explain why, pace Curley, the proposition 28 plays no evidential role in support of Curley’s interpretation.

Author's Profile

Sungil Han
Seoul National University


Added to PP

38 (#82,975)

6 months
38 (#54,677)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?