Leibniz in Paris -- Philosophy on the Left Bank -- Le Grand Arnauld -- Theodicy -- The kingdoms of nature and grace -- Touch the mountains and they smoke -- The eternal truths -- The specter of Spinoza.
Leibniz in Paris -- Philosophy on the Left Bank -- Le Grand Arnauld -- Theodicy -- The kingdoms of nature and grace -- "Touch the mountains and they smoke" -- The eternal truths -- The specter of Spinoza.
Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy focuses on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries--the extraordinary period of intellectual flourishing that begins, very roughly, with Descartes and his contemporaries and ends with Kant. It also publishes papers on thinkers or movements outside of that framework, provided they are important in illuminating early modern thought.
Spinoza's Ethics is one of the most remarkable, important, and difficult books in the history of philosophy: a treatise simultaneously on metaphysics, knowledge, philosophical psychology, moral philosophy, and political philosophy. It presents, in Spinoza's famous 'geometric method', his radical views on God, Nature, the human being, and happiness. In this wide-ranging introduction to the work, Steven Nadler explains the doctrines and arguments of the Ethics, and shows why Spinoza's endlessly fascinating ideas may have been so troubling to his contemporaries, as (...) well as why they are still highly relevant today. He also examines the philosophical background to Spinoza's thought and the dialogues in which Spinoza was engaged - with his contemporaries (including Descartes and Hobbes), with ancient thinkers (especially the Stoics), and with his Jewish rationalist forebears. His book is written for the student reader but will also be of interest to specialists in early modern philosophy. (shrink)
Why was the great philosopher Spinoza expelled from his Portuguese-Jewish community in Amsterdam? Nadler's investigation of this simple question gives fascinating new perspectives on Spinoza's thought and the Jewish religious and philosophical tradition from which it arose.
The French philosopher and theologian Nicolas Malebranche was one of the most important thinkers of the early modern period. A bold and unorthodox thinker, he tried to synthesize the new philosophy of Descartes with religious Platonism. This is the first collection of essays to address Malebranche's thought comprehensively and systematically. There are chapters devoted to Malebranche's metaphysics, his doctrine of the soul, his epistemology, the celebrated debate with Arnauld, his philosophical method, his occasionalism and theory of causality, his philosophical theology, (...) his account of freedom, his moral philosophy, and his intellectual legacy. (shrink)
This paper examines a common misreading of the mechanics of Malebranche's doctrine of divine causal agency, occasionalism, and its roots in a related misreading of Malebranche's theories. God, contrary to this misreading, is for Malebranche constantly and actively causally engaged in the world, and does not just establish certain laws of nature. The key is in understanding just what Malebranche means by general volitions'.
Nicolas Malebranche's account of the nature of ideas and their role in knowledge and perception has been greatly misunderstood by both his critics and commentators. In this work, Nadler examines Malebranche's theory of ideas and the doctrine of the vision in God with the aim of replacing the standard interpretation of Malebranche's account with a new reading. He argues that Malebranche's ideas should be seen as essences or logical concepts, and that our apprehension of them is thus of a purely (...) intellectual character and serves to provide us with knowledge of eternal truths. He then shows that the visionary representationalist reading usually given to Malebranche's theory of perception simply misconstrues the nature of ideas and the role he intended them to play in perception. Nadler's discussion includes detailed analyses of Malebranche's notion of representation and of his arguments for the presence of divine ideas in knowledge and perception. These aspects of Malebranche's system are considered both in light of his Cartesian and Augustinian commitments and in the broader seventeenth-century philosophical context. (shrink)