Spinoza on Determination

Noa Shein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Like many other staple metaphysical concepts, “determination” acquires its own special flavor when translated into the Spinozistic framework. This process is even more pronounced when applied to finite modes. This chapter explains what the necessary conditions are for finite modes to be determined, and furthermore in what this determination consists. It looks at a couple of key texts where Spinoza discusses determination and highlight what might initially seem puzzling. One consequence of adhering to a plenum physics for both Spinoza and Descartes is that all motion is relative, and consequently, the proportion of motion and rest of a given body involves the proportion of motion and rest of surrounding bodies. The chapter concludes by highlighting the connection between determination and activity and the metaphysical consequences of this connection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Spinoza
EditorsYitzhak Y. Melamed
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781119538349
ISBN (Print)9781119538646
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Descartes’ physical determination
  • Spinoza
  • metaphysical consequences
  • plenum physics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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