Partem totius naturae esse: Spinoza's alternative to the mutual incomprehension of physicalism and mentalism in psychology

Spinoza’s account of human agency is presented as a solution to the fundamental dichotomy between physicalism and mentalism in psychology. It is argued that this dichotomy originates in the 17th century with the Cartesian and Hobbesian responses to the collapse of the Scholastic synthesis. Spinoza’s view of nature as equally Mind and Body, and his understanding of efficient causality as grounded in a self-caused natural totality are described. Spinozism’s relative lack of influence on contemporary scientific culture is attributed to his work having been marginalized during the 1st century after his death by political and religious authorities. Contemporary responses to the mentalist/physicalist dichotomy are discussed, as are trends in contemporary psychology that were foreshadowed by Spinoza’s observations. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Keywords Spinoza   agency   naturalism   mentalism   physicalism   dichotomy   mind & body   contemporary psychology
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DOI 10.1037/a0015865
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