•  111
    Spinoza on the “Principles of Natural Things”
    The Leibniz Review 22 37-65. 2012.
    This essay considers Spinoza’s responses to two questions: what is responsible for the variety in the physical world and by what mechanism do finite bodies causally interact? I begin by elucidating Spinoza’s solution to the problem of variety by considering his comments on Cartesian physics in an epistolary exchange with Tschirnhaus late in Spinoza’s life. I go on to reconstruct Spinoza’s unique account of causation among finite bodies by considering Leibniz’s attack on the Spinozist explanation…Read more
  •  65
    Spinoza on Physical Science
    Philosophy Compass 9 (3): 214-223. 2014.
    In this paper, I discuss Spinoza on the proper methods and content of physical science. I start by showing how Spinoza's epistemology leads him to a kind of pessimism about the prospects of empirical and mathematical methods in natural philosophy. While they are useful for life, they do not tell us about nature, as Spinoza puts it, “as it is in itself.” At the same time, Spinoza seems to allow that we have some knowledge of physical things and their behavior. So I go on to outline and critique a…Read more
  •  64
    Spinoza on Extension
    Philosophers' Imprint 15. 2015.
    This paper argues that Spinoza does not take extension in space to be a fundamental property of physical things. This means that when Spinoza calls either substance or a mode “an Extended thing”, he does not mean that it is a thing extended in three dimensions. The argument proceeds by showing, first, that Spinoza does not associate extension in space with substance, and second, that finite bodies, or physical things, are not understood through the intellect when they are conceived as extended i…Read more
  •  37
    The empress of Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World dismisses pure mathematicians as a waste of her time, and declares of the applied mathematicians that “there [is] neither Truth nor Justice in their Profession”. In Cavendish’s theoretical work, she defends the Empress’ judgments. In this paper, I discuss Cavendish’s arguments against pure and applied mathematics. In Sect. 3, I develop an interpretation of some relevant parts of Cavendish’s metaphysics and epistemology, focusing on her anti-a…Read more
  •  23
    Margaret Cavendish on Motion and Mereology
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (3): 471-499. 2019.
    what is motion, according to Margaret Cavendish? There has been a groundswell of exciting work on Cavendish’s natural philosophy lately, all of which highlights her materialism, as well as the centrality of motion in her system.1 But none of it directly addresses this question in detail. Cavendish claims that motion grounds all qualitative and quantitative variety in matter, but we will not understand her explanations of natural phenomena if we do not know what motion is.In this paper, I argue t…Read more
  •  17
    The Young Spinoza: A Metaphysician in the Making ed. by Yitzhak Y. Melamed
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (1): 169-170. 2016.
    What passes as Spinozism in most circles can be found in the first two parts of the Ethics, and even Spinoza scholars can be guilty of making only opportunistic use of weirder works such as the Short Treatise and Cogitata Metaphysica. The goal of The Young Spinoza, Melamed explains in the introduction, is to stimulate research on Spinoza’s early works, both because of what serious consideration of those works can tell us about the Ethics and because they contain plenty of interesting philosophy.…Read more
  •  13
    Canonizing Cavendish
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science. forthcoming.
  •  8
    Canonizing CavendishDavid Cunning. Cavendish. Abingdon: Routledge, 2016. Pp. 322. $145.00 ; $54.95
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 8 (1): 191-197. 2018.