Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (3):477-490 (2003)

Andrew Youpa
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
In Part 4 of his "Ethics," Spinoza puts forward and defends what might appear to be the controversial Hobbesean thesis that the desire to prolong one’s life is the basis of virtue (i.e., E4p22). Indeed there is a tradition of commentators offering an egoistic, Hobbesean interpretation of Spinoza’s ethical theory. In this paper, however, I argue that we should not understand Spinozistic self-preservation in the commonsense, empiricist sense of prolonging our lives. Instead I argue that, for Spinoza, self-preservation is a matter of perfection-preservation and perfection-enhancement, which does not essentially involve extending the duration of an individual’s existence.
Keywords Spinoza  self-preservation  ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0038-4283
DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2003.tb00962.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,683
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Thinking with Spinoza About Education.Elizabeth de Freitas, Sam Sellar & Lars Bang Jensen - 2018 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 50 (9):805-808.
Spinoza on Emotion and Akrasia.Christiaan Remmelzwaal - 2016 - Dissertation, Université de Neuchatel

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Spinoza and the Dictates of Reason.Donald Rutherford - 2008 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (5):485 – 511.
Utilitarianism and Preservation.Eric Katz - 1979 - Environmental Ethics 1 (4):357-364.
Spinoza on Self-Preservation and Self-Destruction.Mitchell Gabhart - 1999 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (4):613-628.
Environment as Heritage.Janna Thompson - 2000 - Environmental Ethics 22 (3):241-258.
Joy.Hilary Kathleen Sloan - 2011 - Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (4):419-431.
Multiple Conclusions.Greg Restall - 2005 - In Petr Hájek, Luis Valdés-Villanueva & Dag Westerståhl (eds.), Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science. College Publications.
Economic Incentives for Tropical Forest Preservation: Why and How?Martin T. Katzman & William G. Cale - 1988 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 1 (4):257-273.
Spinoza’s Scientia Intuitiva.Joseph Grange - 1988 - Philosophy and Theology 2 (3):241-257.


Added to PP index

Total views
58 ( #188,319 of 2,462,426 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #144,280 of 2,462,426 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes