Michael LeBuffe

in From Bondage to Freedom

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780195383539
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199870530 | DOI:

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This chapter defends an interpretation of Spinoza's theory of representation, the obscurity of which in Spinoza might otherwise present a problem for our understanding of how passions represent objects and so lead to error. In response to arguments by Wilson and Della Rocca, it is argued that Spinoza takes an idea of imagination to represent an external object in virtue of a causal relationship between that object and the affection in the human body that is identical to the idea. Representation is thus an extensional notion in Spinoza in the sense that it does not restrict the thought content of an idea. Nevertheless, Spinoza does characterize the thought content of ideas of imagination: human minds imagine external objects “as present” to them.

Keywords: Della Rocca; ideas; imagination; representation; thought content; Wilson

Chapter.  7679 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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