Spinoza's Causal Axiom: A Defense

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Doppelt, Torin
Spinoza , axiom , cause , knowledge , rationalism , conception , effect , substance
In the first chapter, I examine the definitions and axioms in Part One of Spinoza's Ethics. From there, I discuss five interpretations of Spinoza's notion of `axiom' in order to strengthen our understanding of the role Spinoza took axioms to play in his work. In the second chapter, I move from the discussion of what an axiom is to a consideration of the precise meaning of the fourth axiom of the first part (1A4). A key move in this chapter is to show that Spinoza does not separate causation and conception. In the third chapter, I defend the truth of 1A4 by showing that it follows from the definitions of Substance and Mode. I argue that in virtue of the conclusions of the previous two chapters, the axiom can be regarded as true for its relevant magnitude (in a way akin to the 'common notions' of Euclid's Elements).
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