Finite in Infinity

Stance 5 (1):97-109 (2012)
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Abstract

One of the main themes in Spinoza’s Ethics is the issue of human freedom: What does it consist in and how may it be attained? Spinoza’s ethical views crucially depend on his metaphysical theory, and this close connection provides the answer to several central questions concerning Spinoza’s conception of human freedom. Firstly, how can we accommodate human freedom within Spinoza’s necessitarianism—in the context of which Spinoza rejects the notion of a free will? Secondly, how can humans, as merely finite beings, genuinely attain freedom? Can Spinoza defend his claim that we may even attain blessedness? I will argue that these questions are answered by appeal to a twofold in human nature. According to Spinoza, we are finite in infinity.

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