1st Edition

Davidson and Spinoza Mind, Matter and Morality

By Floris van der Burg Copyright 2007

    Baruch Spinoza a Dutch rationalist philosopher of the 17th century and Donald Davidson one of the most distinguished contemporary American analytic philosophers, are two thinkers not usually analysed in conjunction with each other in the philosophical literature yet there are remarkable parallels in their thought. In this book Floris van der Burg identifies topics of comparison in the areas of ontology, epistemology, philosophy of mind and philosophy of language and, after explaining the theory of each philosopher, examines the parallel themes between Spinoza and Davidsonian theory. In the light of this comparison van der Burg shows that the staunch naturalism of Spinoza, even in the mental realm, should not be abandoned in modern times. Rather it is exactly what Spinoza lacks in this area, the linguistic turn in philosophy, characterised by Davidson, that allows for his naturalism to be salvaged after 300 years. Van der Burg's analysis culminates in his paving the way for a Spinozistic ethics for a Davidsonian philosophy.

    Contents: Introduction; A brief intellectual history; Mind versus matter: parallelism and anomalous monism; Knowing the world and those who live in it: issues in epistemology and metaphysics; Naturalism, representationalism and the linguistic turn; An ethics for our time?; Bibliography; Index.


    Dr Floris van der Burg is from University College Utrecht, The Netherlands.