Andrea Sangiacomo


University of Groningen

The metaphysics of determination, from Descartes to Spinoz

One of the major features of Spinoza’s Ethics is a particular conception of the nature of finite things, which are there considered not only as modifications of an infinite and unique substance, but also as endowed with active powers to operate in the world. However, according to several scholars, such an “ontology of activity” would be at odd with the mechanical picture offered by the new science (Gaukroger 2006). Rather, it would be a Spinozean revival of some aspects of the scholastic or Renaissance thought (Zac 1963, Viljanen 2011).