- 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
Spinoza seems to commit himself to two implausible doctrines about representation: (i) that no idea can represent what is not the case and (ii) that every idea of imagination represents a truly vast amount of what is or has been the case. This essay examines the roles of confusion and causation in Spinoza’s theory of imaginative representation. In doing so, it uncovers a promising way in which he could use his distinctive conatus doctrine—that “each thing, insofar as it is in itself, strives to persevere in its being” (E3p6)—both to constrain the otherwise vast extent of the imaginative representation of what is and to explain how imaginative misrepresentation is possible.
Don Garrett is Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University. He is the author of Cognition and Commitment in Hume's Philosophy (1997), Hume (2015), and Nature and Necessity: Essays on Spinoza's Philosophy (forthcoming), as well as many articles in early modern philosophy. He is also the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza (1996).
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.