Justin Steinberg
Brooklyn College (CUNY)
Despite Spinoza’s reputation as a thoroughgoing critic of teleology, in recent years a number of scholars have argued convincingly that Spinoza does not wish to eliminate teleological explanations altogether. Recent interpretative debates have focused on a more recalcitrant problem: whether Spinoza has the resources to allow for the causal efficacy of representational content. In this paper I present the problem of mental causation for Spinoza and consider two recent attempts to respond to the problem on Spinoza’s behalf. While these interpretations certainly shed some light on Spinoza’s account of cognitive economy, I argue that both fail to point the way out of the problem because they fail to differentiate between two forms of representation, one of which is causally efficacious, one of which is not. I close by suggesting that there is some reason to believe that Spinoza’s account of mind avoids some of the problems typically associated with mental causation. Spinoza gilt zwar als kompromissloser Kritiker der Teleologie, aber in den letzten Jahren haben mehrere Philosophiehistoriker überzeugend dafür argumentiert, dass er keineswegs alle teleologischen Erklärungen verabschieden möchte. Neuere Interpretationsdebatten haben sich auf ein hartnäckigeres Problem konzentriert: Verfügt Spinoza über die Ressourcen, um die kausale Wirksamkeit des repräsentationalen Inhalts zuzulassen? In diesem Aufsatz stelle ich das Problem der geistigen Verursachung bei Spinoza dar und betrachte zwei neuere Versuche, im Sinne Spinozas auf dieses Problem einzugehen. Diese Interpretationen werfen sicherlich Licht auf Spinozas Auffassung von kognitiver Sparsamkeit, aber ich argumentiere, dass beide darin scheitern, einen Ausweg aus diesem Problem aufzuzeigen, da es beide versäumen, zwischen zwei Formen von Repräsentationen zu unterscheiden: einer kausal wirksamen und einer, die nicht wirksam ist. Es gibt Grund zur Überzeugung, so lege ich abschließend nahe, dass Spinozas Auffassung des Geistes einige der Probleme vermeidet, die typischerweise mit geistiger Verursachung verbunden sind.
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DOI 10.30965/26664275-01401005
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References found in this work BETA

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
Misrepresentation.Fred I. Dretske - 1986 - In Radu Bogdan (ed.), Belief: Form, Content, and Function. Oxford University Press. pp. 17--36.
A Study of Spinoza's Ethics.Jonathan Bennett - 1984 - Cambridge University Press.
Mechanism, Purpose, and Explanatory Exclusion.Jaegwon Kim - 1989 - Philosophical Perspectives 3:77-108.

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Citations of this work BETA

Affect, Desire, and Judgement in Spinoza's Account of Motivation.Justin Steinberg - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (1):67-87.

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