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Een onderzoek naar individualiteit en verandering in de filosofie van Spinoza

In my doctoral thesis, I attempt to provide a groundwork account of Spinoza’s concept of the ‘individual’.  I begin by showing that Spinoza only provides a definition of individuals in the Ethics and that he most likely wrote this definition in the latter phase of his composition of the work.  But because he uses the term in a variety of different contexts---some of which were written during earlier periods of his philosophical development---, it is unclear how the different formulations of this notion all fit together.  I contend that Spinoza’s account is consistent if one understands that an individual, whether infinite or finite, cannot be understood independently of the relations that it forms with other individuals and that an individual remains self-identical by perpetually adapting or changing.  Thus, I maintain that, for Spinoza, individuals are both relations and processes.  I conclude by arguing that one can only have a true and adequate idea of the essence of an individual by transcending one’s own individuality.  I present my interpretation over the course of four chapters: 1) a study of the relation between formal essences and individuals, 2) a study of the relation between the ratio of motion and rest and conatus of the body, 3) a study of the self-identity of finite individuals and 4) a study of the possibility of having true and adequate ideas of individuals.

Datum:10 okt 2012 →  2 dec 2016
Trefwoorden:Philosophy of Baruch Spinoza
Project type:PhD project