Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):436-458 (2012)

Authors
Eric Schliesser
University of Amsterdam
Abstract
This study explores several arguments against Spinoza's philosophy that were developed by Henry More, Samuel Clarke, and Colin Maclaurin. In the arguments on which I focus, More, Clarke, and Maclaurin aim to establish the existence of an immaterial and intelligent God precisely by showing that Spinoza does not have the resources to adequately explain the origin of motion. Attending to these criticisms grants us a deeper appreciation for how the authority derived from the empirical success of Newton's enterprise was used to settle debates within philosophy. What I emphasize is that in the progression from More to Clarke to Maclaurin, key Newtonian concepts from the Principia (1687), such as motion, atomism, and the vacuum, are introduced and exploited in order to challenge the account of matter and motion that is presented in Spinoza's Ethics (1677). Building on this treatment, I use the arguments from More and Clarke especially to help discern the anti-Spinozism that can be detected in Newton's General Scholium (1713). Ultimately, the Newtonian criticisms that I detail offer us a more nuanced view of the problems that plague Spinoza's philosophy, and they also challenge the idea that Spinoza seamlessly fits into a progressive narrative about the scientific revolution
Keywords GENERAL SCHOLIUM
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DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2012.00132.x
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References found in this work BETA

Spinoza's 'Ethics': An Introduction.Steven Nadler - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.
Principles of Philosophy.René Descartes, Valentine Rodger Miller & Reese P. Miller - 1983 - Reidel Distributed by Kluwer Boston, C1983.

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Citations of this work BETA

On Reading Newton as an Epicurean: Kant, Spinozism and the Changes to the Principia.Eric Schliesser - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):416-428.
Spinoza on Physical Science.Alison Peterman - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (3):214-223.
Clarke Against Spinoza on the Manifest Diversity of the World.Timothy Yenter - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (2):260-280.
Was Spinoza a Naturalist?Alexander Douglas - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1):77-99.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

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