Spinoza on causation and power

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The purpose of this paper is to argue that, for Spinoza, causation is a more fundamental relation than conceptual connection, and that, in fact, it explains conceptual connection. I will firstly offer a criticism of Michael Della Rocca's 2008 claims that, for Spinoza, causal relations are identical to relations of conceptual dependence and that existence is identical to conceivability. Secondly, I will argue that, for Spinoza, causation is more fundamental than conceptual dependence, offering textual evidence from both Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect and Ethics. In particular, I will offer an interpretation of the attributes as first and foremost causal activities, or powers: this interpretation has the advantage to clarify the role of 1D6 as a genetic definition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-319
Number of pages23
JournalSouthern Journal of Philosophy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


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