University of California, San Diego
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2000
Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
PhilPapers Editorships
Spinoza: Ethical Theory
  •  39
    Spinoza, Baruch
    International Encyclopedia of Ethics. 2013.
    Baruch, or Benedictus, Spinoza (1632–77) is the author of works, especially the Ethics and the Theological-Political Treatise, that are a major source of the ideas of the European Enlightenment. The Ethics is a dense series of arguments on progressively narrower subjects – metaphysics, mind, the human affects, human bondage to passion, and human blessedness – presented in a geometrical order modeled on that of Euclid. In it, Spinoza begins by defending a metaphysics on which God is the only subs…Read more
  •  4
    These volumes in Bloomsbury's series of studies in continental philosophy arise from the editors' and authors' conviction that a study of Spinoza's views about authority can be productive politically. The volumes include works of scholarship, then, but scholarship with a purpose beyond that of understanding Spinoza. The editors and authors take Spinoza to have enduring relevance for the criticism of and resistance to harmful power structures in society today. The essays ought to be read as works…Read more
  •  7
    On Arash Abizadeh, 'Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics' (review)
    European Hobbes Society 2018. 2018.
    I would like to begin by congratulating Arash Abizadeh. Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics is a splendid book. Even where I have disagreed with Abizadeh, the book has been a great help to me in framing central issues and in setting out pressing questions for different interpretations. I am sure that it will be a valuable resource for students of Hobbes for many years. Here I will discuss Abizadeh’s views on the science of morality in Hobbes, and I will focus on his Chapter 3. I will begin from t…Read more
  •  2
    Spinoza's Rules of Living
    In Yitzhak Melamed (ed.), The Young Spinoza. 2014.
    Chapter 5 addresses the provisional morality of the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect (TIE). The young Spinoza proposes that even as one works at emending the intellect, one should live by certain rules, which one must assume to be good. One should accommodate ordinary ways of speaking and living to the extent that one can without compromising one’s project. One should enjoy pleasures in moderation. Finally, one should seek instrumental goods only insofar as they are necessary for heal…Read more
  • This essay focuses on Spinoza’s claim that ideas of reason are necessary. While Spinoza understands necessity to imply that something cannot be otherwise, the author shows that Spinoza employs a narrower notion of necessity that applies only to some things, what LeBuffe describes as omnipresence: existing at all times and in all places. This account of the sense in which the ideas of reason are necessary makes evident that such ideas have especially strong motivational power. Our affects are mor…Read more
  •  68
    From Bondage to Freedom: Spinoza on Human Excellence
    Oxford University Press USA. 2010.
    Spinoza rejects fundamental tenets of received morality, including the notions of Providence and free will. Yet he retains rich theories of good and evil, virtue, perfection, and freedom. Building interconnected readings of Spinoza's accounts of imagination, error, and desire, Michael LeBuffe defends a comprehensive interpretation of Spinoza's enlightened vision of human excellence. Spinoza holds that what is fundamental to human morality is the fact that we find things to be good or evil, not w…Read more
  •  24
    Reconceiving Spinoza
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3): 635-636. 2019.
    Volume 97, Issue 3, September 2019, Page 635-636.
  • Dramatic changes in the understanding of nature and turbulent debates in religion marked seventeenth century moral philosophy. Many of the most important works of the century were attempts to defend new moral concepts or to recast old ones, as a way of responding to new doctrines in religion, epistemology, ad metaphysics. Many others were attempts to show that traditional conceptions of value, or elements of them, did not after all require revision. Moral concepts depend, or might be taken to de…Read more
  •  13
    The Oxford Handbook of Spinoza ed. by Michael Della Rocca
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 56 (4): 755-756. 2018.
    Della Rocca's edited volume offers notable contributions to our understanding of Spinoza and his place in the history of philosophy. It will be a valuable resource for students and scholars alike. Its twenty-seven chapters are impossible to survey in a short review. I will focus here on a few exceptional entries.Among essays that introduce students to particular topics, Yitzhak Melamed's account of the central notions of Spinoza's metaphysics and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's contribution on Spi…Read more
  • Spinoza on Reason
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
    Michael LeBuffe explains claims about reason in Spinoza's metaphysics, theory of mind, ethics, and politics. He emphasizes the extent to which different claims build upon one another so contribute to the systematic coherence of Spinoza's philosophy.
  •  10
    Spinoza's summum bonum
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (2): 243-266. 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
  • Two Types of Seventeenth Century Naturalistic Ethics
    Dissertation, University of California, San Diego. 2000.
    Whereas Spinoza's ethics is often thought to be a recasting of Hobbesian ethics, I argue that his theory of motivation is better than Hobbes's, that his theory of value is richer than Hobbes's, and that both are highly distinctive. Edwin Curley and Jonathan Bennett both attribute to Spinoza an ethical theory similar to Hobbes's: all human agents necessarily want to do whatever they think will preserve them, and anything valuable has moral value just because it is a necessary means to what agents…Read more
  •  37
    Reply to Yitzhak Melamed
    The Leibniz Review 21 161-164. 2011.
  •  61
    Change and the eternal part of the mind in Spinoza
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (3): 369-384. 2010.
    Spinoza insists that we can during the course of our lives increase that part of the mind that is constituted by knowledge, but he also calls that part of the mind its eternal part. How can what is eternal increase? I defend an interpretation on which there is a sense in which the eternal part of the mind can become greater without changing intrinsically at all
  •  57
    Spinoza on Human Freedom: Reason, Autonomy, and the Good Life
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (1). 2012.
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Volume 20, Issue 1, Page 195-198, January 2012
  •  56
    Paul-Henri thiry (baron) d'holbach
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2014.
    Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach was a philosopher, translator, and prominent social figure of the French Enlightenment. In his philosophical writings Holbach developed a deterministic and materialistic metaphysics which grounded his polemics against organized religion and his utilitarian ethical and political theory. As a translator, Holbach made significant contributions to the European Enlightenment in science and religion. He translated German works on chemistry and geology into French, sum…Read more
  •  153
    Theories about Consciousness in Spinoza's Ethics
    Philosophical Review 119 (4): 531-563. 2010.
    Spinoza's remarks about consciousness in the Ethics constitute two theories about conscious experience and knowledge. Several remarks, including 3p9 and 4p8, make the point that self knowledge—an especially valuable good for Spinoza—is not available to introspection. We are, as a matter of course, conscious of ourselves, but we do not, as a matter of course, know ourselves. A second group of remarks, all of which occur in part 5 of the Ethics, emphasizes a different point about consciousness and…Read more
  •  6
    Reply to Yitzhak Melamed (review)
    The Leibniz Review 21 161-164. 2011.
  •  30
    Virtue as Power
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 35 (1): 164-178. 2011.
  •  28
  •  1
    The anatomy of the passions
    In Olli Koistinen (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza's Ethics, Cambridge University Press. pp. 188--222. 2009.
  •  57
    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.
  •  81
    Hobbes on the origin of obligation
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (1). 2003.
    This Article does not have an abstract