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Valtteri Viljanen
University of Turku
  1.  35
    Spinoza.Justin Steinberg & Valtteri Viljanen - 2021 - Cambridge: Polity.
    Benedict de Spinoza is one of the most controversial and enigmatic thinkers in the history of philosophy. His greatest work, Ethics (1677), developed a comprehensive philosophical system and argued that God and Nature are identical. His scandalous Theological-Political Treatise (1670) provoked outrage during his lifetime due to its biblical criticism, anticlericalism, and defense of the freedom to philosophize. Together, these works earned Spinoza a reputation as a singularly radical thinker. -/- In this book, Steinberg and Viljanen offer a concise and (...)
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  2.  83
    Spinoza's Geometry of Power.Valtteri Viljanen - 2011 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This work examines the unique way in which Benedict de Spinoza combines two significant philosophical principles: that real existence requires causal power and that geometrical objects display exceptionally clearly how things have properties in virtue of their essences. Valtteri Viljanen argues that underlying Spinoza's psychology and ethics is a compelling metaphysical theory according to which each and every genuine thing is an entity of power endowed with an internal structure akin to that of geometrical objects. This allows Spinoza to offer (...)
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  3. Field Metaphysic, Power, and Individuation in Spinoza.Valtteri Viljanen - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (3):393-418.
    Spinoza developed a highly interesting metaphysical theory of nature and individuality. In this paper, I endeavor to bring forward some ideas on how Spinozistic views on extended substance, physical world, and individuality can be approached using the concept of power as the basis of interpretation. Jonathan Bennett's ‘field metaphysical’ interpretation of Spinoza's doctrine of one extended substance has generated much discussion, and forms the other starting point of my paper. I believe that the field metaphysical interpretation enables one to deal (...)
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  4.  54
    The Early Modern Rationalists and the Substantial Form: From Natural Philosophy to Metaphysics.Valtteri Viljanen - manuscript
    This paper argues that, contrary to what one might think, early modern rationalism displays an increasing and well-grounded sensitivity to certain metaphysical questions the substantial form was designed to answer – despite the fact that the notion itself was in such disrepute, and emphatically banished from natural philosophy. This main thesis is established by examining the thought of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz through the framework constituted by what have been designated as the two aspects, metaphysical and physical, of the substantial (...)
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  5.  24
    Why Virtue Is Not Quite Enough: Descartes on Attaining Happiness.Valtteri Viljanen - 2021 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 103 (1):54-69.
    Descartes explicitly states that virtue is sufficient for attaining happiness. In this paper I argue that, within the framework he develops, this is not exactly true: more than virtuous action is needed to secure happiness. I begin by analyzing, in Section 2, the Cartesian notion of virtue in order to show the way in which it closely connects to what, for Descartes, forms the very essence of morality – the correct use of our free will. Section 3, in turn, discusses (...)
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  6.  37
    The Young Spinoza on Scepticism, Truth, and Method.Valtteri Viljanen - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):130-142.
    This paper offers a new interpretation of the young Spinoza’s method of distinguishing the true ideas from the false, which shows that his answer to the sceptic is not a failure. This method combines analysis and synthesis as follows: if we can say of the object of an idea which simple things underlie it, how it can be constructed out of simple elements, and what properties it has after it has been produced, doubt concerning the object simply makes no sense. (...)
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  7. Spinoza's Essentialist Model of Causation.Valtteri Viljanen - 2008 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):412 – 437.
    Spinoza is most often seen as a stern advocate of mechanistic efficient causation, but examining his philosophy in relation to the Aristotelian tradition reveals this view to be misleading: some key passages of the Ethics resemble so much what Surez writes about emanation that it is most natural to situate Spinoza's theory of causation not in the context of the mechanical sciences but in that of a late scholastic doctrine of the emanative causality of the formal cause; as taking a (...)
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  8.  22
    Spinoza’s Essentialism in the Short Treatise.Valtteri Viljanen - 2015 - In The Young Spinoza: A Metaphysician in the Making. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 183–195.
    This essay traces the rather consistent essentialist thread that runs through the whole Short Treatise. This allows us not only to better understand the work itself but also to obtain a firmer grasp of the nature of Spinoza’s entire philosophical enterprise. In many ways, the essentialism we find in the Short Treatise is in line with Spinoza’s mature thought; but there are also significant differences, and discerning them throws light on the development of Spinoza’s philosophy.
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  9.  69
    On the Derivation and Meaning of Spinoza's Conatus Doctrine.Valtteri Viljanen - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 4:89-112.
    Spinoza’s conatus doctrine, the main proposition of which claims, “[e]ach thing, to the extent it is in itself, strives [conatur] to persevere in its being” (E3p6), has been the subject of growing interest. This is understandable, for Spinoza’s psychology and ethics are based on this doctrine. In my paper I shall examine the way Spinoza argues for E3p6 in its demonstration which runs as follows: "For singular things are modes by which God’s attributes are expressed in a certain and determinate (...)
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  10.  27
    Striving (Conatus).Valtteri Viljanen - manuscript
    The entry on striving (conatus) for the Cambridge Spinoza Lexicon, edited by Karolina Hübner and Justin Steinberg. This is the October 2021 draft; please do not quote, but comments are very welcome.
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  11.  22
    Goethe.Valtteri Viljanen - manuscript
    The entry on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) for the Cambridge Spinoza Lexicon, edited by Karolina Hübner and Justin Steinberg. This is the November 2021 draft; please do not quote, but comments are very welcome.
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  12.  18
    Schopenhauer.Valtteri Viljanen - manuscript
    The entry on Arthur Schopenhauer’s (1788–1860) for the Cambridge Spinoza Lexicon, edited by Karolina Hübner and Justin Steinberg. This is the October 2021 draft; please do not quote, but comments are very welcome.
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  13.  46
    The World as Active Power: Studies in the History of European Reason.Juhani Pietarinen & Valtteri Viljanen (eds.) - 2009 - Leiden: Brill.
    This collection of essays discusses a central feature of European philosophy: the idea of a universal active power as the ultimate world-explanation.
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  14.  62
    Spinoza on Activity in Sense Perception.Valtteri Viljanen - 2014 - In José Filipe Silva & Mikko Yrjönsuuri (eds.), Active Perception in the History of Philosophy: From Plato to Modern Philosophy. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 241-254.
    There can be little disagreement about whether ideas of sense perception are, for Spinoza, to be classed as passions or actions—the former is obviously the correct answer. All this, however, does not mean that sense perception would be, for Spinoza, completely passive. In this essay I argue argues that there is in the Ethics an elaborate—and to my knowledge previously unacknowledged—line of reasoning according to which sense perception of finite things never fails to contain a definite active component. This argument (...)
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  15.  52
    Spinoza on Activity and Passivity: The Problematic Definition Revisited.Valtteri Viljanen - 2019 - In Martina Reuter & Frans Svensson (eds.), Mind, Body and Morality: New Perspectives on Descartes and Spinoza. London: Routledge. pp. 157-174.
    This chapter takes a fresh look at 3d2 of Spinoza’s Ethics, an absolutely pivotal definition for the ethical theory that ensues. According to it, “we act when something happens, in us or outside us, of which we are the adequate cause,” whereas we are passive “when something happens in us, or something follows from our nature, of which we are only a partial cause.” The definition of activity has puzzled scholars: how can we be an adequate, i.e. complete, cause of (...)
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  16.  49
    Spinoza on Virtue and Eternity.Valtteri Viljanen - 2014 - In Matthew J. Kisner & Andrew Youpa (eds.), Essays on Spinoza’s Ethical Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 258–271.
    The goal of this essay is twofold. First, I will explicate the dynamic nature of Spinoza’s doctrine of virtue by discerning his reasons for defining virtuousness in terms of active power. Second, by taking this understanding of virtue as the point of departure, I will suggest a sense in which we can be said to be more or less eternal to the extent that we are virtuous and active. Spinoza’s specific brand of essentialism underpins both his doctrine of virtue and (...)
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  17.  26
    Spinoza's Ontology.Valtteri Viljanen - 2009 - In Olli Koistinen (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza's Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 56–78.
    In this essay, I present the basics of Spinoza’s ontology and attempt to go some distance toward clarifying its most pertinent problems. I start by considering the relationship between the concepts of substance and mode; my aim is to show that despite his somewhat peculiar vocabulary there is much here that we should find rather familiar and intelligible, as Spinoza’s understanding of these matters harks back to the traditional distinction of substance and accident, or thing and property. After this I (...)
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  18.  22
    Genealogia historiallisena ontologiana. Foucault’n suhteesta Nietzscheen ja hermeneutiikkaan.Valtteri Viljanen - 2003 - In Sakari Ollitervo, Jussi Parikka & Timo Väntsi (eds.), Kohtaamisia ajassa. Kulttuurihistoria ja tulkinnan teoria. Turku: University of Turku. pp. 110-135.
    [The title in English: "Genealogy as Historical Ontology: On Foucault's Relationship to Nietzsche and Hermeneutics."] Foucault’n genealogiaa voidaan luonnehtia olemistamme konstituoivien valta–tieto-verkostojen määrittämien käytäntöjen historiallisen polveutumisen analyysiksi. Kysyn artikkelissani, miten Foucault’n genealogia määrittyy suhteessa Friedrich Nietzschen (1844–1900) ajatteluun ja hermeneuttiseen käsitykseen tulkinnasta. Tähän vastatakseni aloitan tarkastelemalla genealogian perusteita suhteessa Nietzschen perintöön, ja tässä yhteydessä nostan esiin myös ”perinteisen” historiankirjoituksen kritiikin. Tämän jälkeen käsittelen genealogian suhdetta tulkinnan teemaan, jolloin suhde Martin Heideggerin (1889–1976) jälkeiseen hermeneuttiseen tieteenfilosofiaan nousee keskeiseen asemaan. Samalla täsmentyy genealoginen (...)
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  19.  21
    Spinoza’s Ontology Geometrically Illustrated: A Reading of Ethics IIP8S.Valtteri Viljanen - 2018 - In Spinoza’s Philosophy of Ratio. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 5-18.
    This essay offers an in-depth reading of the geometrical illustration of Ethics IIP8S and shows how it can be used to explicate the whole architecture of Spinoza’s system by specifying the way in which all the key structural features of his basic ontology find their analogies in the example. The illustration can also throw light on Spinoza’s ontology of finite things and inform us about what is at stake when we form universal ideas. In general, my reading of IIP8S thus (...)
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  20.  10
    Schopenhauer's Twofold Dynamism.Valtteri Viljanen - 2009 - In Juhani Pietarinen & Valtteri Viljanen (eds.), The World as Active Power: Studies in the History of European Reason. Leiden: Brill. pp. 305-330.
    Even if we grant that the concept of force has an important place in Schopenhauer’s view of natural sciences and that we definitely should avoid treating Schopenhauer’s theory of the will as a scientific hypothesis, it still does not follow that dynamic concepts would not be of utmost importance for metaphysics as Schopenhauer conceives it. A careful analysis that takes into account the context provided by early modern thinkers reveals that Schopenhauer’s system is based on an elaborate theory in which (...)
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  21.  17
    The Problem of Rationality in Comparing Different Forms of Life.Valtteri Viljanen - 2007 - In Jón Ólafsson & Juha Räikkä (eds.), Rationality in Global and Local Contexts – Proceedings of the Research Project. Turku: University of Turku. pp. 92–104.
    In this paper, I examine some main philosophical positions taken in the admittedly multifarious discussion concerning the possibility of rational evaluation in comparing different forms of life. Most importantly, I will outline a view of rational evaluation that would be as sensitive as possible to the diversity and offerings of various cultural viewpoints.
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  22.  16
    Häpeän filosofiasta.Valtteri Viljanen - 2011 - In Jyrki Korkeila, Kaisla Joutsenniemi, Eila Sailas & Jorma Oksanen (eds.), Irti häpeäleimasta. Helsinki: Duodecim. pp. 54–62.
    [The title in English: "On the Philosophy of Shame."] Viimeaikaisessa filosofianhistoriallisessa tutkimuksessa on kiinnitetty yhä enemmän huomiota siihen, että ainakin osa tunteistamme on muuttunut historian saatossa. Lieneekin ilmeistä, että tunne-elämämme on merkittävässä määrin erilaista kuin esimerkiksi voimakkaasti kristinuskon leimaamalla keskiajalla. Toisinaan näkee väitettävän, että myös suhteemme häpeään olisi muuttunut varsin radikaalisti tai että se olisi jopa kokonaan kadonnut esimerkiksi suomalaisesta nykykulttuurista. Tämä olisi yllättävää, sillä häpeällä on vahvat perinteet kulttuurissamme. Häpeän pitkän historian lisäksi myös sen luonteen filosofinen analyysi antaa viitteitä (...)
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  23.  15
    Theory of Conatus.Valtteri Viljanen - 2015 - In André Santos Campos (ed.), Spinoza: Basic Concepts. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 95–105.
    In this essay, I will begin by delineating the context of the conatus principle, after which I will provide a reading of the two propositions (EIIIP6 and P7) that contain the very core of the theory. This in turn will enable me to explain how Spinoza’s theory of conatus is connected to his views on desire, activity, and teleology.
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  24.  12
    Elämän käsite Spinozan filosofiassa.Valtteri Viljanen - 2005 - In Jussi Haukioja & Juha Räikkä (eds.), Elämän merkitys. Filosofisia kirjoituksia elämästä. Kuopio: Unipress. pp. 31–39.
    [The title in English: "The Concept of Life in Spinoza's Philosophy."] Tarkastelen tässä kirjoituksessa elämän käsitteen merkitystä Spinozan filosofian eri vaiheissa, ja selvitän, miksi käsitteellä ei enää hänen Etiikkansa ontologiassa ole keskeistä asemaa. Samalla piirtyy esiin joitakin Spinozan ajattelun olennaisia aspekteja.
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  25.  14
    Spinoza’s Actualist Model of Power.Valtteri Viljanen - 2009 - In Juhani Pietarinen & Valtteri Viljanen (eds.), The World as Active Power: Studies in the History of European Reason. Leiden: Brill. pp. 213–228.
    In addition to the notion of power (potentia), Spinoza employs the notion of power of acting (agendi potentia), especially in the Ethics. This raises the question, if Spinoza uses both ‘power’ and ‘power of acting’, what is the difference between the two? What else could power be, for Spinoza, but power of acting? What is the relationship between power and activity in his system? This essays aims at giving answers to these questions; thereby emerges what may be called an actualist (...)
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  26.  12
    Leibniz on Force, Activity, and Passivity.Arto Repo & Valtteri Viljanen - 2009 - In Juhani Pietarinen & Valtteri Viljanen (eds.), The World as Active Power: Studies in the History of European Reason. Leiden: Brill. pp. 229-250.
    Our examination explicates not only how Leibniz’s emphasis on force or power squares well with (and most probably largely stems from) his endorsement of certain central Aristotelian tenets, but also how the concept of force is incorporated into his mature idealist metaphysics. That metaphysics, in turn, generates some thorny problems with regard to the concept of passivity; and so we shall also ask whether and how Leibniz’s monadology, emphasizing the activity as much as it does, is able to encompass the (...)
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  27.  11
    Review of Spinoza Past and Present: Essays on Spinoza, Spinozism, and Spinoza Scholarship by Wiep van Bunge. [REVIEW]Valtteri Viljanen - 2013 - Renaissance Quarterly 66 (3):1053–1054.
    A review of Wiep van Bunge's Spinoza Past and Present (Leiden: Brill, 2013).
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  28.  43
    Kant on Moral Agency: Beyond the Incorporation Thesis.Valtteri Viljanen - 2020 - Kant-Studien 111 (3):423–444.
    This paper aims to discern the limits of the highly influential Incorporation Thesis to give proper weight to our sensuous side in Kant’s theory of moral action. I first examine the view of the faculties underpinning the theory, which allows me to outline the passage from natural to rational action. This enables me to designate the factors involved in actual human agency and thereby to show that, contrary to what the Incorporation Thesis may tempt one to believe, we do not (...)
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  29.  16
    Causal Efficacy of Representational Content in Spinoza.Valtteri Viljanen - 2010 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (1):17-34.
    Especially in the appendix to the opening part of his Ethics, Spinoza discusses teleology in a manner that has earned him the status of a staunch critic of final causes. Much of the recent lively discussion concerning this complex and difficult issue has revolved around the writings of Jonathan Bennett who maintains that Spinoza does, in fact, reject all teleology. Especially important has been the argument claiming that because of his basic ontology, Spinoza cannot but reject thoughtful teleology, that is, (...)
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  30. Spinoza's Dynamics of Being: The Concept of Power and Its Role in Spinoza's Metaphysics.Valtteri Viljanen - 2007 - Dissertation, University of Turku