1st Edition

Freedom, Action, and Motivation in Spinoza’s "Ethics"

ISBN 9780367362249
Published October 21, 2019 by Routledge
266 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

The present volume posits the themes of freedom, action, and motivation as the central principles that drive Spinoza’s Ethics from its first part to its last. It assembles essays by internationally leading scholars who provide different, sometimes opposing interpretations of these fundamental themes as they operate across the five parts of the Ethics and within its manifold domains. The diversity of issues, approaches, and perspectives within this volume, along with the chapters’ common focus, open up new ways of understanding not only some of the key concepts and main objectives in the Ethics but also the threads unifying the entire work.

The sequence of essays in the book broadly follows the order of the Ethics, providing up-to-date perspectives of Spinoza’s views on freedom, action, and motivation in their ontological, cognitive, physical, affective, and ethical facets. This enables readers to engage with a variety of new interpretations of these key themes of the Ethics and to reconsider their consequences both for other related issues in the Ethics and for the relevance of the Ethics to contemporary trends in philosophy of action and motivation. The essays will contribute to the growing interest in Spinoza’s Ethics and spark further discussion and debate within and outside the vast body of scholarship on this important work.  

Freedom, Action, and Motivation in Spinoza’s Ethics will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working on Spinoza and early modern philosophy, as well as on philosophy of action and motivation.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 

Noa Naaman-Zauderer

2. Steps toward Eleaticism in Spinoza’s Philosophy of Action

Michael Della Rocca

3. Spinoza’s Activities: Freedom without Independence

Matthew J. Kisner

4. Descartes and Spinoza on the Primitive Passions: Why So Different? 

Lisa Shapiro

5. Spinoza on the Primary Affects

John Carriero

6. Affectivity and Cognitive Perfection 

Lilli Alanen

7. Deciding What to Do: The Relation of Affect and Reason in Spinoza’s 

Ethics Donald Rutherford 

8. Materializing Spinoza’s Account of Human Freedom 

Julie R. Klein

9. Spinoza’s Values: Joy, Desire, and Good in the Ethics

Steven Nadler

10. Spinoza on Human Freedoms and the Eternity of the Mind 

Noa Naaman-Zauderer

11. The Enigma of Spinoza’s Amor Dei Intellectualis

Yitzhak Y. Melamed

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Noa Naaman-Zauderer is Tenured Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. She is the author of Descartes: The Loneliness of a Philosopher (2007), of Descartes’ Deontological Turn: Reason, Will, and Virtue in the Later Writings (2010; paperback 2013), and of articles and book chapters on Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz.


"The contributors are established participants in contemporary debates, and the volume showcases the development and enrichment of their illuminating perspectives. The collection is an excellent addition to the growing body of Anglophone literature on the moral psychology and ethical theory of the Ethics."Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews