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PHL210Y1 Lecture Notes - Baruch Spinoza

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Linda Hunter

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Philosophy Lecture
May 30, 2012
Free Will
When you know more about which or two options to take, you are
less indifferent [ex. 401 or 407 to Ottawa] you are more free to
choose when you have all the information [Descartes]
Descartes says freedom comes in degrees; freedom in terms of
spontaneity which is the highest state of freedom [all or nothing-
determined or not; this is a more perfect form of freedom] and the
other one is indifference and seems to come in degrees [are you
more or less inclined]
C&D ideas; no indifference in them whatsoever; the way to avoid
error is just no to ascend
He describes the will as synonymous with choice
Baruch Spinoza
No such thing as free will; there is only determined will
Denies there is such thing as a faculty of willing and non-willing;
all there is is particular volitions [this or that negations] there are
just instances of will
Faculty of will is just a mere mental construct
Any instance of volition in the mind is gonna be a modification
[mode] it’s a way in which the mind is at that particular moment
each volition will begin and end at a certain point and it is going to
be finite [limited and bounded because any volition is going to be
caused by some other finite volition in the mind]
Freedom definition [ID7]
Mind-Body Distinction
Evokes the truth rule as a guide to showing what things are really
Anything that I really C&D understand can be made by god in such
that way [does this by appealing to God; his powers are what
guarantees the possibility of what you can see]
C&D of it implies the possibility of a thing
Existence of Body
Ideas get their reality from sensible things themselves or God
He's so closely joined to his body that they constitute one single
He thinks there is a close relation between the mind and the body
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