Spinoza on Causation and Power

Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (3):297-319 (2013)


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.”

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Francesca Di Poppa
Texas Tech University

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Citations of this work

Spinoza and the Problem of Other Substances.Galen Barry - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):481-507.
Can the Berkeleyan Idealist Resist Spinozist Panpsychism?Graham Clay & Michael Rauschenbach - 2021 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 24:296-325.
Spinoza and the Logical Limits of Mental Representation.Galen Barry - 2019 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 1 (1):5.

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