University of Chicago
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2010
Areas of Specialization
17th/18th Century Philosophy
Metaphysics
PhilPapers Editorships
Spinoza: Philosophy of Action
  •  34
    The Trouble with Feelings, or Spinoza on the Identity of Power and Essence
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (1): 35-53. 2017.
    Spinoza claims both that a thing’s essence is identical to power, and that emotions are fundamentally variations in this power. The conjunction of these two theses creates difficulties for his metaphysics and ethics alike. The three main worries concern the coherence of Spinoza’s accounts of essence, diachronic identity, and emotional “bondage,” and put in question his ability to derive ethical and psychological doctrines from his metaphysical claims. In response to these difficulties, this pape…Read more
  •  9
    Mythische und wissenschaftliche denkformen
    Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 40 (4). 1978.
  •  11
    Genesis and modern theories of evolution
    Man and World 25 (3/4): 395. 1992.
    We have seen that the theory of the evolution of the universe is very remote from being matter of absolute knowledge as its popular presentation today would have us believe. Moreover, it is based on a certain aspect of reality, namely, that of science, which cannot pretend to be the only one possible and thus to exclude the religious aspect of the world as a creation by God. The same is true regarding the evolutionary theories of life by Eigen or Vollmert, both being based on polymeric chemistry…Read more
  •  28
    Spinoza on the Limits of Explanation
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  •  43
    The paper examines a relatively neglected element of Spinoza's theory of mind-body relations: the intentional relation between human minds and bodies, which for Spinoza constitutes their “union”. Prima facie textual evidence suggests, and many readers agree, that because for Spinoza human minds are essentially ideas of bodies, Spinoza is also committed to an ontological and explanatory dependence of certain properties of human minds on properties of bodies, and thus to a version of materialism. …Read more
  •  7
    Spinoza's Thinking Substance and the Necessity of Modes
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (1): 3-34. 2016.
  •  47
    Reconceiving Spinoza, by Samuel Newlands
    Mind 129 (513): 307-314. 2020.
    Reconceiving Spinoza, by Samuel Newlands. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. x + 283.
  •  41
    Spinoza on Essences, Universals, and Beings of Reason
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (1): 58-88. 2016.
    The article proposes a new solution to the long-standing problem of the universality of essences in Spinoza's ontology. It argues that, according to Spinoza, particular things in nature possess unique essences, but that these essences coexist with more general, mind-dependent species-essences, constructed by finite minds on the basis of similarities that obtain among the properties of formally-real particulars. This account provides the best fit both with the textual evidence and with Spinoza's …Read more
  •  695
    On the Significance of Formal Causes in Spinoza’s Metaphysics
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 97 (2). 2015.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie Jahrgang: 97 Heft: 2 Seiten: 196-233
  •  12
    Spinoza and the Case for Philosophy by Elhanan Yakira
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (1): 170-171. 2016.
    Despite its generic title, Yakira’s Spinoza and the Case for Philosophy has a specific and idiosyncratic focus: Spinoza’s mind-body doctrine, in the context of both an ontology of thought and a search for what Spinoza calls “salvation.” The book will be of value to those interested in Spinoza’s philosophy of mind and epistemology, especially in the context of his moral theory.Yakira’s discussion of Spinoza’s mind-body doctrine is thought-provoking, confronting head-on not just well-known puzzles…Read more
  •  1031
    Spinoza's Thinking Substance and the Necessity of Modes
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3): 3-34. 2014.
    The paper offers a new account of Spinoza's conception of “substance”, the fundamental building block of reality. It shows that it can be demonstrated apriori within Spinoza's metaphysical framework that (i) contrary to Idealist readings, for Spinoza there can be no substance that is not determined or modified by some other entity produced by substance; and that (ii) there can be no substance (and hence no being) that is not a thinking substance.
  •  766
    Spinoza on Essences, Universals, and Beings of Reason
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2): 58-88. 2015.
    The article proposes a new solution to the long-standing problem of the universality of essences in Spinoza's ontology. It argues that, according to Spinoza, particular things in nature possess unique essences, but that these essences coexist with more general, mind-dependent species-essences, constructed by finite minds on the basis of similarities that obtain among the properties of formally-real particulars. This account provides the best fit both with the textual evidence and with Spinoza's…Read more
  •  604
    The article explores the idea that according to Spinoza finite thought and substantial thought represent reality in different ways. It challenges “acosmic” readings of Spinoza's metaphysics, put forth by readers like Hegel, according to which only an infinite, undifferentiated substance genuinely exists, and all representations of finite things are illusory. Such representations essentially involve negation with respect to a more general kind. The article shows that several common responses to t…Read more
  •  509
    Essence as power, or Spinoza on heartbreak
    Journal of the History of Philosophy. forthcoming.
  •  945
    This paper offers a new interpretation of Spinoza's doctrine of parallelism. It argues Spinoza reinterprets the ancient doctrine of metaphysical sympathy among ostensibly disconnected and distant beings in terms of fully intelligible relations of 1) identity between formal and objective reality, and in terms of 2) "real identity," grounded in Spinoza's substance-monism. Finally, the paper argues against the standard reading of mind-body pairs as "numerically identical".