Spinoza's Geometry of Power

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 29, 2011 - Philosophy
This work examines the unique way in which Benedict de Spinoza (1632–77) combines two significant philosophical principles: that real existence requires causal power and that geometrical objects display exceptionally clearly how things have properties in virtue of their essences. Valtteri Viljanen argues that underlying Spinoza's psychology and ethics is a compelling metaphysical theory according to which each and every genuine thing is an entity of power endowed with an internal structure akin to that of geometrical objects. This allows Spinoza to offer a theory of existence and of action - human and non-human alike - as dynamic striving that takes place with the same kind of necessity and intelligibility that pertain to geometry. Viljanen's fresh and original study will interest a wide range of readers in Spinoza studies and early modern philosophy more generally.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Spinoza on being
8
Causation and geometry
33
Power existence activity
54
The derivation of the conatus doctrine
83
The meaning of the conatus doctrine
105
Geometrical dynamics of individuality
145
Conclusion
177
Bibliography
181
Index
191
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Valtteri Viljanen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Turku, Finland. He is co-editor (with Juhani Pietarinen) of the anthology The World as Active Power: Studies in the History of European Reason (2009) and the author of a number of journal articles on Spinoza's philosophy.

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