•  46
    From theism to idealism to monism: a Leibnizian road not taken
    Philosophical Studies 178 (4): 1143-1162. 2021.
    This paper explores a PSR-connected trail leading from theistic idealism to a form of substance monism. In particular, I argue that the same style of argument available for a Leibnizian form of metaphysical idealism actually leads beyond idealism to something closer to Spinozistic monism. This path begins with a set of theological commitments about the nature and perfection of God that were widely shared among leading early modern philosophers. From these commitments, there arises an interesting…Read more
  •  24
    Spinozistic Selves
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (1): 16-35. 2020.
    Spinoza's Ethics promises a path for sweeping personal transformations, but his accounts face two sets of overarching problems. The first concerns his peculiar metaphysics of action and agents; the second his apparent neglect of the very category of persons. Although these are somewhat distinct concerns, they have a common, unified solution in Spinoza's system that is philosophically rich and interesting, both in its own right and in relation to contemporary work in moral philosophy. After prese…Read more
  •  11
    Reconceiving Spinoza
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    Samuel Newlands presents a sweeping new interpretation of Spinoza's metaphysical system and the way in which his metaphysics shapes, and is shaped by, his moral program. Engaging with contemporary metaphysics and ethics, Newlands reveals just how exciting and vibrant Spinoza's philosophical outlook remains for philosophers today.
  •  82
    Theism and Ultimate Explanation – Timothy O'Connor
    Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239): 438-442. 2010.
    This is a book review of "Theism and Ultimate Explanation", by Timothy O'Connor
  •  202
    The Harmony of Spinoza and Leibniz
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1): 64-104. 2010.
    According to a common reading, Spinoza and Leibniz stand on opposite ends of the modal spectrum. At one extreme lies ‘‘Spinoza the necessitarian,’’ for whom the actual world is the only possible world. At the other lies ‘‘Leibniz the anti-necessitarian,’’ for whom the actual world is but one possible world among an infinite array of other possible worlds; the actual world is privileged for existence only in virtue of a free decree of a benevolent God. In this paper, I challenge both of these rea…Read more
  •  6
    Introduction
    In Samuel Newlands & Larry M. Jorgensen (eds.), Metaphysics and the Good: Themes From the Philosophy of Robert Merrihew Adams, Oxford University Press. 2009.
    Throughout his philosophical career at Michigan, UCLA, Yale, and Oxford, Robert Merrihew Adams's wide-ranging contributions have deeply shaped the structure of debates in metaphysics, philosophy of religion, history of philosophy, and ethics. Metaphysics and the Good: Themes from the Philosophy of Robert Merrihew Adams provides, for the first time, a collection of original essays by leading philosophers dedicated to exploring many of the facets of Adams's thought, a philosophical outlook that co…Read more
  •  83
    More Recent Idealist Readings of Spinoza
    Philosophy Compass 6 (2): 109-119. 2011.
    In this two-part series, I explore some of the most important and influential interpretations of Spinoza as an idealist. In this second part, I turn to more recent idealistic interpretations of Spinoza, including the important British idealist school (including Pollock, Martineau, Joachim, and John Caird) at the turn of the 20th century to a very recent and important kind of idealist reading found in the work of Michael Della Rocca.
  •  32
    New Essays on Leibniz’s Theodicy (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2014.
    In 1710 G. W. Leibniz published Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil. This book, the only one he published in his lifetime, established his reputation more than anything else he wrote. The Theodicy brings together many different strands of Leibniz's own philosophical system, and we get a rare snapshot of how he intended these disparate aspects of his philosophy to come together into a single, overarching account of divine justice in the face of the …Read more
  •  965
    Leibniz and the Ground of Possibility
    Philosophical Review 122 (2): 155-187. 2013.
    Leibniz’s views on modality are among the most discussed by his interpreters. Although most of the discussion has focused on Leibniz’s analyses of modality, this essay explores Leibniz’s grounding of modality. Leibniz holds that possibilities and possibilia are grounded in the intellect of God. Although other early moderns agreed that modal truths are in some way dependent on God, there were sharp disagreements surrounding two distinct questions: (1) On what in God do modal truths and modal trut…Read more
  •  54
    Spinoza's modal metaphysics
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    Spinoza studies have seen a renaissance of interest in his views on modality, from which considerable disagreement has emerged about Spinoza's modal commitments. Much of this disagreement stems from larger interpretive disagreements about Spinoza's metaphysics. After a brief introduction, this SEP article begins with Spinoza's views on the distribution of modal properties, which quickly leads the heart of Spinoza's metaphysics, intersecting his views on causation, inherence, God, ontological ple…Read more
  •  70
    Backing into Spinozism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3): 511-537. 2016.
    One vexing strand of Spinozism asserts that God's nature is more expansive than traditionally conceived and includes properties like being extended. In this paper, I argue that prominent early moderns embrace metaphysical principles about causation, mental representation, and modality that pressure their advocates towards such an expansive account of God's nature in similar ways. I further argue that the main early modern escape route, captured in notions like “eminent containment,” fails to ade…Read more
  •  397
    Leibniz on Privations, Limitations, and the Metaphysics of Evil
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (2): 281-308. 2014.
    There was a consensus in late Scholasticism that evils are privations, the lacks of appropriate perfections. For something to be evil is for it to lack an excellence that, by its nature, it ought to have. This widely accepted ontology of evil was used, in part, to help explain the source of evil in a world created and sustained by a perfect being. during the second half of the seventeenth century, progressive early moderns began to criticize the traditional privative account of evil on a variety…Read more
  •  89
    Thinking, Conceiving, and Idealism in Spinoza
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 94 (1): 31-52. 2012.
    According to Spinoza, what is the relationship between the mental – ideas, minds, and the attribute of Thought – and the conceptual – concepts, conceiving, and conceptual dependence? The natural and pervasive interpretive assumption that Spinoza’s appeals to the conceptual are synonymous with appeals to the mental ought to be rejected, a rejection that prevents some of his central metaphysical doctrines from otherwise collapsing into incoherence. A close reading of key texts shows instead that c…Read more
  •  69
    Hegel’s Idealist Reading of Spinoza
    Philosophy Compass 6 (2): 100-108. 2011.
    In this two-part series, I explore some of the most important and influential interpretations of Spinoza as an idealist. In this first part, I examine Hegel’s case for interpreting Spinoza as a kind of frustrated idealist and show how doing so raises fresh interpretative challenges for Spinoza’s contemporary readers
  •  66
    Throughout his philosophical career at Michigan, UCLA, Yale, and Oxford, Robert Merrihew Adams's wide-ranging contributions have deeply shaped the structure of debates in metaphysics, philosophy of religion, history of philosophy, and ethics. Metaphysics and the Good: Themes from the Philosophy of Robert Merrihew Adams provides, for the first time, a collection of original essays by leading philosophers dedicated to exploring many of the facets of Adams's thought, a philosophical outlook that co…Read more
  •  168
    Another Kind of Spinozistic Monism
    Noûs 44 (3): 469-502. 2010.
    I argue that Spinoza endorses "conceptual dependence monism," the thesis that all forms of metaphysical dependence (such as causation, inherence, and existential dependence) are conceptual in kind. In the course of explaining the view, I further argue that it is actually presupposed in the proof for his more famed substance monism. Conceptual dependence monism also illuminates several of Spinoza’s most striking metaphysical views, including the intensionality of causal contexts, parallelism, met…Read more