Monism and individuation in Anne Conway as a critique of Spinoza

Nastassja Pugliese
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
In chapter IX of the Principles, Anne Conway claims that her metaphysics is diametrically opposed to those of Descartes and Spinoza. Scholars have analyzed her rejection of Cartesianism, but not her critique of Spinoza. This paper proposes that two central points of Conway’s metaphysics can be understood as direct responses to Spinoza: (1) the relation between God, Christ, and the creatures in the tripartite division of being, and (2) the individuation of beings in the lowest species. I will argue that Conway, in criticizing Spinoza’s identification between God and nature, defends a paradoxical monism, and that her concept of individuation is a reductio ad absurdum of Spinoza’s criterion of identity in the individuation of finite modes.
Keywords anne conway  Spinoza  individuation
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2018.1563764
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Time, Space, and Process in Anne Conway.Emily Thomas - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (5):990-1010.
The Metaphysics of the Theological-Political Treatise.Yitzhak Y. Melamed - 2010 - In Yitzhak Y. Melamed & Michael A. Rosenthal (eds.), Spinoza's 'Theological-Political Treatise': A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press.
Anne Conway: Bodies in the Spiritual World.Marcy P. Lascano - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (4):327-336.
The Vitalism of Anne Conway: Its Impact on Leibniz's Concept of the Monad.Carolyn Merchant - 1979 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 17 (3):255-269.

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