Restricting Spinoza's Causal Axiom

Philosophical Quarterly 65 (258):40-63 (2015)
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Abstract

Spinoza's causal axiom is at the foundation of the Ethics. I motivate, develop and defend a new interpretation that I call the ‘causally restricted interpretation’. This interpretation solves several longstanding puzzles and helps us better understand Spinoza's arguments for some of his most famous doctrines, including his parallelism doctrine and his theory of sense perception. It also undermines a widespread view about the relationship between the three fundamental, undefined notions in Spinoza's metaphysics: causation, conception and inherence.

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John Morrison
Barnard College

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