Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes
Olli I. Koistinen, John Biro
Oxford University Press, Jan 3, 2002 - Philosophy - 272 pages
Spinoza's philosophy has an undeserved reputation for being obscure and incomprehensible. But now, in this indispensable collection, Spinoza is portrayed in the manner he deserves--as a brilliant metaphysician who paved the way for an exciting new science. The volume focuses on several important areas, including monism, the concept of conatus, the nature of and the relation between mind and body, and Spinoza's relationship to Descartes and Leibniz. The new physics posed difficult questions about the existence and power of God; however, it was commonplace of seventeenth-century metaphysics to claim that all force was God's. In his philosophy, Spinoza solves this problem, identifying God with nature. But, what happens to individuals after that identification? And what is an individual for Spinoza? How does it act? How are its actions explained? This volume clearly addresses these and other fascinating questions. It explores Spinoza's account of the relationship between mind and body, along with his view on the ontology of values. Spinoza saw the threat of deterministic physics to mind-body interaction. How is it possible that minds act on bodies and vice versa? Furthermore, the volume examines the problem of the nature of values, asking is there room for an independent realm of values in the new philosophy? Finally, the collection investigates problems in the interpretation of Spinoza that stem from Spinoza's debatable place in seventeenth-century philosophy; it is often claimed that Spinoza's ideas evolved from Cartesian doctrines while profoundly influencing Leibniz. With a stellar group of contributors--including Michael Della Rocca, John Carriero, Richard Mason, Steven Barbone, Don Garrett, Olli Koistinen, Richard Manning, Peter Dalton, Charles Jarrett, Charles Huenemann, and Mark Kulstad--this volume serves as an excellent resource and represents the best work of a new generation of Spinoza scholars.
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