Perfection and desire: Spinoza on the good

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (1):97-117 (2010)
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While Spinoza claims that our good is both what increases our essential power and what helps us to satisfy our desires, he admits that people desire things that do not increase their power. This paper addresses this problem by arguing that Spinoza conceives of desires as expressions of our conatus , so that satisfying our desires necessarily increases our power and vice versa. This reading holds, in opposition to recent work, that Spinoza upholds a desire-satisfaction theory of the good, though an unusual one, since our good is only determined by desires arising from our conatus , in other words, active desires.



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Matthew Kisner
University of South Carolina

Citations of this work

Spinoza on Lying and Suicide.Steven Nadler - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (2):257-278.
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