Spinoza's Metaphysical Psychology

In Don Garrett (ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 192--266 (1996)
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This paper analyzes and evaluates Spinoza way of carrying out his naturalistic program in psychology. I begin by examining Spinoza’s general metaphysical doctrine according to which each thing strives to preserve itself. While this doctrine cannot be true in its unqualified form, it does receive some support from Spinoza’s views on the nature of complex individuals. I then explore the problematic way in which Spinoza applies the doctrine of self -preservation to human psychology. The paper goes on the investigate the naturalistic character of Spinoza’s views on such topics as irrational action, prudence, altruism, mental causation and the nature and classification of affects



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