Samuel Newlands
University of Notre Dame
According to Spinoza, what is the relationship between the mental – ideas, minds, and the attribute of Thought – and the conceptual – concepts, conceiving, and conceptual dependence? The natural and pervasive interpretive assumption that Spinoza’s appeals to the conceptual are synonymous with appeals to the mental ought to be rejected, a rejection that prevents some of his central metaphysical doctrines from otherwise collapsing into incoherence. A close reading of key texts shows instead that conceptual relations are attribute-neutral for Spinoza; mental relations comprise a proper subset of conceptual relations. This surprising conclusion, that the conceptual outstrips the mental, also sheds new light the relationship between the attributes, the extent of parallelism, and the nature of extension. It also shows how Spinoza’s frequent privileging of the conceptual avoids collapsing into a kind of idealism, a central point on which the most novel recent interpretation of Spinoza (Michael Della Rocca’s) falters.
Keywords Spinoza  conceptual dependence  parallelism
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1515/agph-2012-0002
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Leibniz and the Ground of Possibility.S. Newlands - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (2):155-187.
Spinoza's Thinking Substance and the Necessity of Modes.Karolina Hübner - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):3-34.
Spinoza on Composition, Causation, and the Mind's Eternity.John Grey - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (3):446-467.
The Two-Sense Reading of Spinoza’s Definition of Attribute.Ioannis Trisokkas - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (6):1093-1115.
Spinoza and the Feeling of Freedom.Galen Barry - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):1-15.

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