Spinoza on Individuation

The Monist 55 (4):640-659 (1971)

Abstract

In this paper I wish to examine in detail the arguments which Spinoza uses in a very brief section of the Ethics, the lemmas following Proposition 13 of Part II. My aim in this analysis will be twofold: to attempt a preliminary sketch of the nature of a physical system in Spinoza’s view, and to clarify what Spinoza means by speaking of certain items as “individuals.” At least a partial fulfillment of the first aim is a necessary condition for the second, since most of what Spinoza has to say about individuation in the Ethics and elsewhere is expressed in terms of individual bodies. His own solution of the mind-body problem entails that there will be correlative statements true at the ideational level; but, unfortunately, he usually leaves such correlations to his reader. I use the term “ideational” herein in preference to “mental” to avoid any dualistic connotation. Ideational and extensional levels for Spinoza refer to a dualism of denoting complexes, but not to a dualism of objects denoted by these.

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Citations of this work

Field Metaphysic, Power, and Individuation in Spinoza.Valtteri Viljanen - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (3):393-418.
Schelling on Individuation.Daniel Whistler - 2016 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 8 (3):329-344.
Holism in Cartesianism and in Today's Philosophy of Physics.Michael Esfeld - 1999 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 30 (1):17-36.
Individuation and Death in Spinoza’s Ethics: The Spanish Poet Case Reconsidered.Davide Monaco - 2019 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27 (5):941-958.

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