- The Oxford Handbook of Spinoza
- Commonly Cited English Translations
- The Virtues of Geometry
- From Maimonides to Spinoza: Three Versions of an Intellectual Transition
- Spinoza and Descartes
- The Building Blocks of Spinoza’s Metaphysics: Substance, Attributes, and Modes
- But Why Was Spinoza a Necessitarian?
- The Principle of Sufficient Reason in Spinoza
- Spinoza and the Philosophy of Science: Mathematics, Motion, and Being
- Representation, Misrepresentation, and Error in Spinoza’s Philosophy of Mind
- Finite Subjects in the Ethics: Spinoza on Indexical Knowledge, the First Person, and the Individuality of Human Minds
- Spinoza on Skepticism
- The Highest Good and Perfection in Spinoza
- Spinoza on Mind
- The Intellectual Love of God
- The Metaphysics of Affects or the Unbearable Reality of Confusion
- Spinoza’s Unorthodox Metaphysics of the Will
- Spinoza’s Philosophy of Religion
- Spinoza’s Political Philosophy
- Leibniz’s Encounter with Spinoza’s Monism, October 1675 to February 1678
- Playing with Fire: Hume, Rationalism, and a Little Bit of Spinoza
- Kant and Spinoza Debating the Third Antinomy
- “Nothing Comes from Nothing”: Judaism, the Orient, and Kabbalah in Hegel’s Reception of Spinoza
- Nietzsche and Spinoza: Enemy-Brothers
- Spinoza’s Afterlife in Judaism and the Task of Modern Jewish Philosophy
- Spinoza’s Relevance to Contemporary Metaphysics
- Literary Spinoza
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter argues that the standard conception of Spinoza as a fellow-traveling mechanical philosopher and proto-scientific naturalist is misleading.1 It argues, first, that Spinoza’s account of the proper method for the study of nature presented in the Theological-Political Treatise points away from the one commonly associated with the mechanical philosophy. Moreover, throughout his works Spinoza’s views on the very possibility of knowledge of nature are decidedly skeptical. Third, in the seventeenth-century debates over proper methods in the sciences, Spinoza sided with those who criticized the aspirations of the physico-mathematicians like Galileo, Huygens, Wallis, and Wren who thought the application of mathematics to nature was the way to make progress. In particular, he offers grounds for doubting their confidence in the significance of measurement as well as their piecemeal methodology. Along the way, this chapter offers a new interpretation of common notions in the context of treating Spinoza’s account of motion.
Eric Schliesser is Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and Visitor Professor of Moral Sciences & Philosophy at Ghent University. His monograph on Adam Smith is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. In addition to publishing on early modern philosophy and science, he writes about the philosophy of economics.
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