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Justin Steinberg [8]Justin D. Steinberg [1]
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Justin Steinberg
Brooklyn College (CUNY)
  1.  32
    Two Puzzles Concerning Spinoza's Conception of Belief.Justin Steinberg - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):261-282.
    Spinoza's account of belief entails that if A has two ideas, p and q, with incompatible content, A believes that p if the idea of p is stronger than the idea of q. This seems to leave little space for dominant non-beliefs, or cases in which there is discord between one's beliefs and one's affective-behavioral responses. And yet Spinoza does allow for two classes of dominant non-beliefs: efficacious fictions [fictiones] and ideas that conduce to akrasia. I show how Spinoza can (...)
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  2. Spinoza’s Curious Defense of Toleration.Justin Steinberg - 2010 - In Yitzhak Melamed Michael Rosenthal (ed.), Spinoza’s ‘Theological-Political Treatise’: A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 210 – 230..
    In this essay I consider what grounds Spinoza’s defense of the freedom to philosophize, considering why Spinoza doesn’t think that we should attempt to snuff out irrationality and dissolution with the law’s iron fist. In the first section I show that Spinoza eschews skeptical, pluralistic, and rights-based arguments for toleration. I then delineate the prudential, anticlerical roots of Spinoza’s defense, before turning in the final section to consider just how far and when toleration contributes to the guiding norms of governance: (...)
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  3.  45
    Imitation, Representation, and Humanity in Spinoza's Ethics.Justin Steinberg - 2013 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (3):383-407.
    In IVP50S, Spinoza claims that “one who is moved to aid others neither by reason nor by pity is rightly called inhuman. For (by IIIP27) he seems to be unlike a man” (IVP50S). At first blush, the claim seems implausible, as it relies on the dubious assumption that beings will necessarily imitate the affects of conspecifics. In the first two sections of this paper, I explain why Spinoza accepts this thesis and show how this claim can be made compatible with (...)
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  4.  73
    An Epistemic Case for Empathy.Justin Steinberg - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):47-71.
    Much recent work on empathy assumes that one cannot give non-question-begging reasons for empathizing with others. In this article I argue that there are epistemic reasons for cultivating empathy. After sketching a brief general account of empathy, I proceed to argue that empathic information is user-friendly, fostering the achievement of widely held cognitive goals. It can also contribute to social knowledge and the satisfaction of democratic ideals. The upshot of my analysis is that there are strong, but defeasible, epistemic reasons (...)
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  5.  66
    Affect, Desire, and Judgement in Spinoza's Account of Motivation.Justin Steinberg - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (1):67-87.
    Two priority problems frustrate our understanding of Spinoza on desire [cupiditas]. The first problem concerns the relationship between desire and the other two primary affects, joy [laetitia] and sadness [tristitia]. Desire seems to be the oddball of this troika, not only because, contrary to the very definition of an affect, desires do not themselves consist in changes in one's power of acting, but also because desire seems at once more and less basic than joy and sadness. The second problem concerns (...)
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  6.  22
    Spinoza on Human Purposiveness and Mental Causation.Justin Steinberg - 2011 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 14.
    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 (...)
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  7.  96
    Spinoza on Civil Liberation.Justin Steinberg - 2009 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (1):pp. 35-58.
    In the final chapter of the Tractactus Theologico-Politicus , Spinoza declares that “the purpose of the state is, in reality, freedom.” While this remark obviously purports to tell us something important about Spinoza’s conception of the civitas , it is not clear exactly what is revealed. Recently, a number of scholars have interpreted this passage in a way that supports the view that Spinoza was a liberal for whom civic norms are rather more modest than the freedom of the Ethics (...)
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  8.  52
    Spinoza on Being Sui Iuris and the Republican Conception of Liberty.Justin D. Steinberg - 2008 - History of European Ideas 34 (3):239-249.
    Spinoza's use of the phrase “sui iuris” in the Tractatus Politicus gives rise to the following paradox. On the one hand, one is said to be sui iuris to the extent that one is rational; and to the extent that one is rational, one will steadfastly obey the laws of the state. However, Spinoza also states that to the extent that one adheres to the laws of the state, one is not sui iuris, but rather stands under the power [sub (...)
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  9.  47
    Benedict Spinoza: Epistemic Democrat.Justin Steinberg - 2010 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (2):145-164.
    In this paper, I maintain—contrary to those commentators who regard him as a principled republican—that at the core of Spinoza’s political theory is an instrumental, rather than an intrinsic, defense of democratic procedures. Specifically, Spinoza embraces democratic decision procedures primarily because they tend to result in better decisions, defined relative to a procedure-independent standard of correctness or goodness. In contemporary terms, Spinoza embraces an epistemic defense of democracy. I examine Spinoza’s defense of collective governance, showing not only how it differs (...)
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