•  58
    Dreaming with Open Eyes: Cartesian Dreams, Spinozan Analyses
    Idealistic Studies 33 (2/3): 141-159. 2003.
    "Dreaming with open eyes" is a tagline for Spinoza's critique of Descartes; the dreams in question are principally those of volition and the active imagination. In this article, I compare the Cartesian theory of imagination as an active, but not fully rational, power of the mind and the Cartesian account of the volitional self to Spinoza's views. Descartes's own dreams and theories of dreaming are the focus of the first part of the article. Thereafter I examine Spinoza's critique of Descartes an…Read more
  •  95
    The Question of Pantheism in the Second Objections to Descartes’s Meditations
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 77 (3): 357-379. 2003.
    Through a close analysis of texts from the Second Objections and Replies to the Meditations, this article addresses the tension between the pursuit of certainty and the preservation of divine transcendence in Descartes’s philosophy. Via a hypothetical “atheist geometer,” the Objectors charge Descartes with pantheism. While the Objectors’ motivations are not clear, the objection raises provocative questions about the relation of the divine and the human mind and about the being of created or depe…Read more
  • Descartes' Occluded Metaphysics
    Dissertation, Vanderbilt University. 1996.
    Scholars of seventeenth century philosophy increasingly recognize that Descartes is both the last medieval and the first modern thinker, and his work is revealed in recent literature as a sophisticated appropriation of as well as departure from his predecessors and contemporaries. Paradoxically, Descartes, the philosopher most associated with the repudiation of history and an insistence on radical originality, emerges as a transitional figure in the history of philosophy and one whose contributi…Read more
  •  69
    Aristotle and Descartes in Spinoza’s Approach to Matter and Body
    Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 26 (2): 157-176. 2005.
    Considered in its seventeenth-century context, Spinoza’s way of thinking about substance and nature is striking for its simultaneous refusal of Cartesian dualism and Hobbesian materialism. Spinoza knew both thinkers’ work well, yet sided with neither. Where Descartes divides substance into thinking and extended substance, and where Hobbes reduces all things to body, Spinoza espouses what is best called a double-aspect or non-reductive monism. The single substance of the Ethics is expressed as an…Read more
  •  26
    Memory and the Extension of Thinking in Descartes’s Regulae
    International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (1): 23-40. 2002.
    This article discusses the impact of Descartes’s substance-dualism on his account of discursive reason. Taking the presentation of deduction in the Rules as a paradigmatic case of thought’s extension and movement in time, I analyze the relation between intuitive and discursive understanding and that between intellect and imagination. I focus specifically on the mediation of corporeal impressions and of intellectual ideas by ingenium. As intellectual, ingenium is a faculty of understanding; as jo…Read more
  •  42
    Descartes’s Critique of the Atheist Geometer
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 38 (3): 429-445. 2000.
  •  49
    Spinoza’s Debt to Gersonides
    Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 24 (1): 19-43. 2003.
    In proposition 7 of the second part of the Ethics, Spinoza famously contends that the “order and connection of things is the same as the order and connection of ideas.” On this basis, Spinoza argues in the scholium that thought and extension are different ways of conceiving one and the same substance: “the thinking substance and the extended substance are one and the same substance, which is now comprehended under this attribute, now under that”. Less famously, in the same scholium, Spinoza insi…Read more
  •  23
    Etienne Balibar's Marxist Spinoza
    Philosophy Today 44 (Supplement): 41-50. 2000.
  •  19
    The cambridge companion to early modern philosophy (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4). 2008.
    This admirable volume treats the period from Montaigne to Kant. As the editor, Donald Rutherford, promises in his Introduction, the volume reflects the broadly contextualist consensus among scholars in the field over the last few decades. Neither intellectual history nor abstract conceptual analysis, contextualist scholarship looks at the way philosophical ideas develop in concrete settings, within intellectual horizons, and in response to specific philosophical problems. Thus this Cambridge Com…Read more
  •  70
    Nature's Metabolism: On Eating in Derrida, Agamben, and Spinoza
    Research in Phenomenology 33 (1): 186-217. 2003.
    This article studies a series of provocative references to Spinoza by Jacques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben. For both contemporary philosophers, the context is discussions of eating, a subject matter that turns out to involve such central issues as subjectivity, nature, ethics, and teleology. Each situates Spinoza in a counter-history of philosophy and suggests that Spinoza constitutes an important resource for contemporary reflections. Through an analysis of the three philosophers' texts about ea…Read more