Causation and Determinate Existence of Finite Modes in Spinoza

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Proposition 28 of Part One of Spinoza's Ethics is considered to be one of the most central propositions of this magnum opus primarily because it is key to establishing the determinism pervading Spinoza's universe. Commentators have taken for granted that what is being described here is an infinite regress of efficient causation among bodies or events. I propose an alternative reading of this fundamental feature of Spinoza's philosophy, which, given its centrality, has far-reaching implications. I claim that the relation between finite things expressed in 1P28 must be understood as constitutive of the individuation of finite modes rather than describing the interaction between already established finite singular things.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-357
Number of pages24
JournalArchiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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