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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

Spinoza's Conatus Argument

Chapter:
(p.127) 7 Spinoza's Conatus Argument
Source:
Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes
Author(s):

Don Garrett

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019512815X.003.0008

This essay contends that Spinoza’s argument for the conatus doctrine does not commit any of the five fallacies of equivocation. The key to a better understanding of his argument lies in a Spinoza’s “theory of inherence” — that is, his theory of what it is to be “in” something. Spinoza’s conatus argument is a valid demonstration from Spinozistic premises about inherence, conception, causation, and related matters. These premises reflect his deep commitment to a rigorous Principle of Sufficient Reason, to a conception of things as causing their own properties through their essences, and to a closely-related conception of causation as identical with or parallel to logical consequence.

Keywords:   Spinoza, conatus doctrine, conception, causation, inherence

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