Chapter

Spinoza, Thoughtful Teleology, and the Causal Significance of Content

Richard N. Manning

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.003.0010
 Spinoza, Thoughtful Teleology, and the Causal Significance of Content

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This essay contends that Jonathan Bennett gave a passive reading of conatus, and that he misunderstood Spinoza’s conception of mental representation, mistakenly attributing to Spinoza the common, contemporary view that representational content does not supervene on the intrinsic features of representations. A reading of the conatus as an active, motive principle of opposition is presented. It is argued that Spinoza’s notion of representation is best understood as grounded in a conception of causation on which effects bear intrinsic, distinctive structural marks of their causes.

Keywords: Spinoza; Jonathan Bennett; conatus; mental representation; causation

Chapter.  16412 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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