Whose Freedom? The Idea of Appropriation in Spinoza’s Compatibilism

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Spinoza’s notion of freedom confronts us with a paradoxical idea: on the one hand, freedom requires us to act with rational insight into the causally determined order of the natural world. On the other hand, grasping this order seems to leave us with the insight that there is nothing that could be justly termed a human person. As I see it, the key to resolving this tension is to be sought within a special reading of Spinoza’s theory of the striving for selfpreservation (conatus): I shall argue that Spinoza’s conatus doctrine entails an appropriation thesis: according to Spinoza’s account, we ought to re-describe our personal histories in terms of a gradual appropriation of the natural order and take supposedly external causes as our own reasons for action. The present paper tries to set out this solution and its difficulties against the background of the contemporary debate on freedom.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)343-357
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftZeitschrift für philosophische Forschung
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
Vroegere onlinedatum2017
StatusPublished - sep-2017

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