Kant and Spinoza

In Yitzhak Y. Melamed (ed.), A Companion to Spinoza. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. pp. 517–526 (2021)
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Kant makes a striking reference to Spinoza in the 1788 Critique of Practical Reason. This chapter begins by investigating whether Kant directly concerned himself with Spinoza, focusing on Omri Boehm's recent affirmative argument. Kant thinks the objective principle yields radical metaphysical conclusions only in conjunction with further claims about specific conditioning relations. Kant's privileging of Spinozism among realist views seems generally detached from Spinoza's actual thought. The chapter deals with points of convergence or near‐convergence between Kant and Spinoza. It identifies two philosophically interesting points on which Spinoza's and Kant's views come surprisingly close: their arguments for the limitations of our sensory knowledge and their arguments for the timelessness of the mind. Spinoza's official argument for the timelessness of the mind appeals to his doctrines of the body's eternal essence, the parallel between bodies and ideas, and the identity of the human mind with God's idea of the human body.

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Colin Marshall
University of Washington


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