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Early Modern PhilosophyMind, Matter, and Metaphysics$
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Christia Mercer and Eileen O'Neill

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177602

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195177606.001.0001

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The Strange Hybridity of Spinoza's Ethics

The Strange Hybridity of Spinoza's Ethics

Chapter:
(p.86) The Strange Hybridity of Spinoza's Ethics
Source:
Early Modern Philosophy
Author(s):

Catherine Wilson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195177606.003.0006

This chapter shows how Spinoza's severe ontology is at odds with his commitment to the general ethical program. It then tries to explain why, as a recent commentator expresses it, “Spinoza's ethical theory has been historically less influential than the ethical theories of such early modern philosophers as Hume and Kant”. However, the same commentator suggests that “in its naturalism, its practical rationalism, its asymmetrical conception of moral freedom and responsibility, its nonretributivism, its emphasis on virtue as well as consequences, and its close relations to social and political theory, it is a forerunner of and of special relevance to contemporary trends in ethical theorizing”. It is argued that the vector of contemporary moral theory is irreversibly pointed away from Spinozism and shares few assumptions with it.

Keywords:   ethical theory, moral freedom, responsibility, contemporary moral theory, Spinoza

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