The Susceptibility of Intuitive Knowledge to Akrasia in Spinoza's Ethical Thought

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (4):725-747 (2014)
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Abstract

Spinoza unequivocally states in the Ethics that intuitive knowledge is more powerful than reason. Nonetheless, it is not clear what exactly this greater power promises in the face of the passions. Does this mean that intuitive knowledge is not liable to akrasia? Ronald Sandler offers what, to my knowledge, is the only explicit answer to this question in recent Spinoza scholarship. According to Sandler, intuitive knowledge, unlike reason, is not susceptible to akrasia. This is because, intuitive knowledge enables the knower to greater power over the passions due to its immediacy, its foundation and because it engenders the boundlessly powerful intellectual love of God. In this paper, I consider to what extent intuitive knowledge is liable to akrasia by exploring whether Sandler's claim can justifiably be attributed to Spinoza. I argue that, given our modal status, it is not plausible to claim that akrasia would never apply to intuitive knowledge. Since intuitive ideas are the ideas of a finite ..

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Sanem Soyarslan
North Carolina State University

Citations of this work

Two Ethical Ideals in Spinoza’s "Ethics": The Free Man and The Wise Man.Sanem Soyarslan - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):357-370.
Spinoza’s Critique of Humility in the Ethics.Sanem Soyarslan - 2018 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (3):342-364.
Rational devotion and human perfection.Christina Chuang - 2020 - Synthese 197 (6):2333-2355.
Spinoza on the Power of Reason Over the Passions.Noa Lahav Ayalon - forthcoming - International Journal of Philosophical Studies:1-24.

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References found in this work

Spinoza, practical philosophy.Gilles Deleuze - 1988 - San Francisco: City Lights Books.
A Study of Spinoza's Ethics.Jonathan Bennett - 1984 - Cambridge University Press.
Five Types of Ethical Theory.C. D. Broad - 1930 - Paterson, N. J.,: Routledge.
Spinoza.Michael Della Rocca - 2008 - New York: Routledge.

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