Kant, Spinoza, and the Metaphysics of the Ontological Proof

Metaphysica 11 (1):17-37 (2010)
This paper provides an interpretation and evaluation of Spinoza's highly original version of the ontological proof in terms of the concept of substance instead of the concept of perfection in the first book of his Ethics. Taking the lead from Kant'€™s critique of ontological arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason, the paper explores the underlying ontological and epistemological presuppositions of Spinoza'€™s proof. The main topics of consideration are the nature of Spinoza's definitions, the way he conceives of the relation between a substance and its essence, and his conception of existence. Once clarity is shed upon these fundamental issues, it becomes possible to address the proof in its own terms. It is then easy to see that Kant's objections miss their target and that the same is true of those advanced by another of the ontological argument'€™s most famous critics, Bertrand Russell. Finally, several interpretations of Spinoza'€™s proof are proposed and critically evaluated; on all of them, the argument turns out to be either invalid or question-begging.
Keywords Kant  Russell  Spinoza  Ontological argument  Ideas  Possibilities
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12133-010-0056-0
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,453
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Bertrand Russell (2005). On Denoting. Mind 114 (456):873 - 887.
W. V. Quine (1961). On What There Is. In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), From a Logical Point of View. Harvard University Press. pp. 21--38.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Cecilia Wee (2012). Descartes's Ontological Proof of God's Existence. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (1):23 - 40.
Gregor Damschen (2011). Questioning Gödel's Ontological Proof: Is Truth Positive? European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 3 (1):161-169.
Nicholas Stang (2015). Kant's Argument That Existence is Not a Determination. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (1):583-626.
Olli Koistinen (2003). Spinoza's Proof of Necessitarianism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):283–310.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

58 ( #84,239 of 1,925,480 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #66,950 of 1,925,480 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.