Chapter

Causation in Spinoza

Olli Koistinen

in Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780195128154
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786008 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019512815X.003.0004
 Causation in Spinoza

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This essay argues that Spinoza’s theory of causation provides another way to reconcile God’s causation with causation between finite individuals. It analyzes and identifies problems in Descartes’s theory of causation and Malebranche’s occasionalism. It is argued that Spinoza was aware of the problems that causation posed for ontologies which allowed substance-pluralism. In Spinoza’s monism, the view that God is the cause of everything is reconcilable with the determinism of the new physics. It is shown that Leibniz’s account of intrasubstantial causation closely resembles Spinoza’s view.

Keywords: Spinoza; theory of causation; God; occasionalism; intrasubstantial causation; monism; Descartes; Malebranche; Leibniz

Chapter.  5990 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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