Free Will And Determinism Articulated By Spinoza Essay

2317 Words Nov 25th, 2016 10 Pages
Is action free or determined, Spinoza argues that it is determined but there is a freedom of will in the doctrine of the conatus. This view rests on three metaphysical positions that Spinoza advocates for, namely immanent necessitarianism, reductive naturalism and monism. All that exists and has is and will happen is immanent and inevitably going to happen. This he argues is because nature is constructed by a free uncaused cause (that which has no external constraint). This uncaused cause started the causal chain and therefore to gain relative freedom compared to other determined things one must understand causality. Relative freedom is the only attainable state because the only thing that is fully free is the infinite, uncaused cause substance that is nature. However the compatibilism of free will and determinism articulated by Spinoza has its contradictions. These contradictions are primarily in understanding infinite substance and causation. The following pages will outline the three foundational arguments leading to a section on compatibilism, this will culminate in a critical overview of the contradictions inherent in Spinoza that cause the question of free will to be an open one and essentially unanswerable. This is because Spinoza restricts the infinite substance (nature) as well as asserts rather than demonstrates the existence of an uncaused cause.

Immanent Necessitarinism Spinoza writes: “In nature there is nothing contingent.” (1P29) That might seem…

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