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Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes$
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Olli I. Koistinen and John I. Biro

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195128154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/019512815X.001.0001

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Spinoza, Thoughtful Teleology, and the Causal Significance of Content

Spinoza, Thoughtful Teleology, and the Causal Significance of Content

(p.182) 9 Spinoza, Thoughtful Teleology, and the Causal Significance of Content
Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes

Richard N. Manning

Oxford University Press

This essay contends that Jonathan Bennett gave a passive reading of conatus, and that he misunderstood Spinoza’s conception of mental representation, mistakenly attributing to Spinoza the common, contemporary view that representational content does not supervene on the intrinsic features of representations. A reading of the conatus as an active, motive principle of opposition is presented. It is argued that Spinoza’s notion of representation is best understood as grounded in a conception of causation on which effects bear intrinsic, distinctive structural marks of their causes.

Keywords:   Spinoza, Jonathan Bennett, conatus, mental representation, causation

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