Explanatory Rationalism

Jonathan Bennett

in Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 1

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198250913
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597053 | DOI:

Series: Learning from Six Philosophers (2 Volumes)

 Explanatory Rationalism

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  • History of Western Philosophy


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Like Leibniz and unlike Descartes, Spinoza was an explanatory rationalist: he held that there is a non‐trivial answer for every legitimate ‘Why?’‐question. This led him to causal rationalism, the view that causal necessity is logical necessity. He connects the concepts of necessity and of eternity; his way of doing so is explained. Spinoza was committed to thinking that this is the only possible world, but it is not clear whether he did. Leibniz was equally committed, and struggled hard to avoid the commitment, which he hated. His struggles are analysed.

Keywords: Descartes; eternity; Leibniz; necessity; rationalism; Spinoza

Chapter.  8581 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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