Aristotle, Heereboord and the polemical target of Spinoza’s critique of final causes

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This paper aims to identify the polemical target of Spinoza’s critique of final causes in the Appendix to the first part of the Ethics. I assess Spinoza’s arguments on the background of a comparison between Aristotle’s own account of unthoughtful teleology and Adriaan Heereboord’s account of final causes proposed in his Meletemata Philosophica (1654). Although Heereboord explicitly presents himself as an Aristotelian and an anti-scholastic, his view on final causes is at odds with that of Aristotle and can be rather traced back to Suárez. The paper proves that Spinoza’s arguments are effective against Heereboord’s view, but not against Aristotle’s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-420
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of the History of Philosophy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2016


  • Spinoza, Benedictus de
  • final causes

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