University of California, San Diego
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2000
Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
PhilPapers Editorships
Spinoza: Ethical Theory
  •  61
    Why Spinoza tells people to try to preserve their being
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 86 (2): 119-145. 2004.
    It is puzzling that Spinoza both urges people to seek to preserve themselves and also holds that, as a matter of fact, people do strive to preserve themselves. I argue that the striving for self-preservation that characterizes all individuals grounds, for Spinoza, the claim that human beings seek only whatever they anticipate will lead to pleasure (laetitia). People desire ends other than self-preservation because they anticipate pleasure in those ends, and Spinoza urges people to seek to preser…Read more
  •  44
    The Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms: Miracles, Monotheism, and Reason in Spinoza
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (2): 318-332. 2015.
    Spinoza insists in the Theological Political Treatise that philosophy and theology are two separate kingdoms. I argue here that there is a basis in the psychology of the Ethics for one of the major components of the doctrine of the two kingdoms. Under the kingdom of theology, religion's principal function is to overcome the influence of harmful passion that prevents people from living life according to a fixed plan: people can live according to a fixed plan because they can obey. Through a serie…Read more
  •  2
    Spinoza’s Normative Ethics
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (3): 371-391. 2007.
    Spinoza presents his ethics using a variety of terminologies. Propositions that are, or at least might be taken for, normative include only very few explicit guidelines for action. I will take this claim from Vp10s to be one such guideline:Vp10s: So that we may always have this rule of reason ready when it is needed, we should think and meditate often about common human wrongs and how and in what way they may best be driven away by nobility.
  •  44
    Spinoza's summum bonum
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (2). 2005.
    : As Spinoza presents it, the knowledge of God is knowledge, primarily, of oneself and, secondarily, of other things. Without this know‐ledge, a mind may not consciously desire to persevere in being. That is why Spinoza claims that the knowledge of God is the most useful thing to the mind at IVP28. He claims that the knowledge of God is the highest good, however, not because it is instrumental to perseverance, but because it is also the best among those goods that we seek for their own sakes. It…Read more