Spinoza on Human Purposiveness and Mental Causation

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Despite Spinoza’s reputation as a thoroughgoing critic of teleology, in recent years a number of scholars have argued convincingly that Spinoza does not wish to eliminate teleological explanations altogether. Recent interpretative debates have focused on a more recalcitrant problem: whether Spinoza has the resources to allow for the causal efficacy of representational content. In this paper I present the problem of mental causation for Spinoza and consider two recent attempts to respond to the problem on Spinoza’s behalf. While these interpretations certainly shed some light on Spinoza’s account of cognitive economy, I argue that both fail to point the way out of the problem because they fail to differentiate between two forms of representation, one of which is causally efficacious, one of which is not. I close by suggesting that there is some reason to believe that Spinoza’s account of mind avoids some of the problems typically associated with mental causation.
Categories
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
STESOH
Revision history
First archival date: 2018-08-04
Latest version: 2 (2018-08-04)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Imitation, Representation, and Humanity in Spinoza's Ethics.Justin Steinberg - 2013 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (3):383-407.
Affect, Desire, and Judgement in Spinoza's Account of Motivation.Justin Steinberg - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (1):67-87.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2015-02-06

Total views
27 ( #38,668 of 42,348 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #34,155 of 42,348 )

How can I increase my downloads?

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