Spinoza on Destroying Passions with Reason

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
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 propose two solutions to this problem, both of which yield a hint regarding what act Spinoza has in mind. Using that hint, I propose that we can appreciate Spinoza’s insight by considering how philosophizing about a feeling can 'kill the mood.' The act of grasping how a passion exemplifies certain general truths, I hold, is a distinctly rational activity that has all the features Spinoza describes. I conclude by showing how this interpretation fits with Spinoza’s larger views on rational knowledge, rational joy, the comprehensibility of passions, and the relation between second- and first-order ideas.
Reprint years
2012
PhilPapers/Archive ID
MARSOD-3
Revision history
Archival date: 2016-05-15
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2011-10-25

Total views
487 ( #5,997 of 42,148 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
68 ( #8,491 of 42,148 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.