•  510
  •  486
    Spinoza and consciousness
    Mind 117 (467): 575-601. 2008.
    Most discussions of Spinoza and consciousness—and there are not many— conclude either that he does not have an account of consciousness, or that he does have one but that it is at best confused, at worst hopeless. I argue, in fact, that people have been looking in the wrong place for Spinoza's account of consciousness, namely, at his doctrine of "ideas of ideas". Indeed, Spinoza offers the possibility of a fairly sophisticated, naturalistic account of consciousness, one that grounds it in the na…Read more
  •  193
    Occasionalism and general will in Malebranche
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 31 (1): 31-47. 1993.
    This paper examines a common misreading of the mechanics of Malebranche's doctrine of divine causal agency, occasionalism, and its roots in a related misreading of Malebranche's theories. God, contrary to this misreading, is for Malebranche constantly and actively causally engaged in the world, and does not just establish certain laws of nature. The key is in understanding just what Malebranche means by general volitions'
  •  164
    On Spinoza's 'Free Man'
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (1): 103-120. 2015.
    In this paper, I examine Spinoza's 'model of human nature' in the Ethics, and especially his notion of the 'free man'. I argue that, contrary to usual interpretations, the free man is not an individual without passions and inadequate ideas but rather an individual who is able consistently to live according to the guidance of reason. Therefore, it is not an impossible and unattainable ideal or incoherent concept, as has often been claimed, but a very realizable goal for the achievement of human w…Read more
  •  159
    Spinoza's 'Ethics': An Introduction
    Cambridge University Press. 2006.
    Spinoza's Ethics is one of the most remarkable, important, and difficult books in the history of philosophy: a treatise simultaneously on metaphysics, knowledge, philosophical psychology, moral philosophy, and political philosophy. It presents, in Spinoza's famous 'geometric method', his radical views on God, Nature, the human being, and happiness. In this wide-ranging 2006 introduction to the work, Steven Nadler explains the doctrines and arguments of the Ethics, and shows why Spinoza's endless…Read more
  •  149
    Descartes and occasional causation
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 2 (1). 1994.
    After a brief analysis of the nature of occasional causation, distinguishing it from both efficient causation and the doctrine of occasionalism, it is argued that this model of causation informs Descartes' account of the generation of sensory ideas in the mind. It is further argued that, consequently, Descartes is not an occasionalist on this matter
  •  145
    Spinoza on Lying and Suicide
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (2): 257-278. 2016.
    Spinoza is often taken to claim that suicide is never a rational act, that a ‘free’ person acting by the guidance of reason will never terminate his/her own existence. Spinoza also defends the prima facie counterintuitive claim that the rational person will never act dishonestly. This second claim can, in fact, be justified when Spinoza's moral psychology and account of motivation are properly understood. Moreover, making sense of the free man's exception-less honesty in this way also helps to c…Read more
  •  115
    Eternity and immortality in Spinoza's ethics
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 26 (1). 2002.
  •  114
    Occasionalism: causation among the Cartesians
    Oxford University Press. 2011.
    These essays examine the philosophical, scientific, theological and religious themes and arguments of occasionalism, as well as its roots in medieval views on ...
  •  112
    Louis de La Forge and the Development of Occasionalism: Continuous Creation and the Activity of the Soul STEVEN NADLER THE DOCTRINE OF DIVINE CONSERVATION is a dangerous one. It is not theologi- cally dangerous, at least not in itself. From the thirteenth century onwards, and particularly with the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas, the notion of the continuous divine sustenance of the world of created things was, if not univer- sally accepted, a nonetheless common feature of theological orthodoxy, …Read more
  •  107
    Berkeley’s Ideas and the Primary/Secondary Distinction
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20 (1): 47-61. 1990.
    Part of Berkeley's strategy in his attack on materialism in the Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous is to argue that the epistemological distinction between ideas of so-called primary qualities and ideas of secondary qualities, especially as this distinction is found in Locke, is untenable. Both kinds of ideas-those presenting to the mind the quantifiable properties of bodies and those which are just sensations -are equally perceptions in the mind, and there is no reason to believe that …Read more
  •  97
    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2003.
    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy focuses on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries--the extraordinary period of intellectual flourishing that begins, very roughly, with Descartes and his contemporaries and ends with Kant. It also publishes papers on thinkers or movements outside of that framework, provided they are important in illuminating early modern thought.
  •  87
    Cordemoy and occasionalism
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 43 (1): 37-54. 2005.
    This is an examination of the nature and extent of Cordemoy's commitment to the doctrine of occasionalism
  •  80
    From Bondage to Freedom: Spinoza on Human Excellence
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (5): 947-950. 2010.
    This Article does not have an abstract
  •  74
    Arnauld’s God
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4). 2008.
    In this paper, I argue that Arnauld’s conception of God is more radical than scholars have been willing to allow. It is not the case that, for Arnauld, God acts for reasons, with His will guided by wisdom (much as the God of Malebranche and Leibniz acts), albeit by a wisdom impenetrable to us. Arnauld’s objections to Malebranche are directed not only at the claim that God’s wisdom is transparent to human reason, but at the whole distinction between will and wisdom in God, even if that wisdom wer…Read more
  •  74
    Malebranche's occasionalism: A reply to Clarke
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 33 (3): 505-508. 1995.
  •  73
    In the not too distant past, it was common to treat Hume's skeptical doubts regarding the justification of our beliefs in causal connections—understood as necessary connections between objects or events—as having appeared per conceptionem immaculatam in his post-Cartesian mind. Thanks to recent efforts by scholars in early modern philosophy, however, we are now more informed about the roots of Hume's conclusions in Cartesian thought itself, especially the influence of Malebranche and his argumen…Read more
  •  71
    Review: The science of conjecture (review)
    Mind 112 (447): 539-542. 2003.
  •  58
    Cartesianism and Port-Royal
    The Monist 71 (4): 573-584. 1988.
    Contrary to what appears to be popular belief, Port-Royal was not a bastion of cartesianism. In fact, Of all the port-Royalists of the seventeenth century, Only arnauld can be considered a cartesian in any interesting sense. Most of the others associated with the order were hostile to the new philosophy and actively campaigned against it, Believing it to pose a threat to piety and "true" religion. This can be seen by examining the writings of de sacy, Du vaucel, And nicole, And the various philo…Read more
  •  57
    Descartes on forms and mechanisms (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (3): 399-400. 2010.
    Recent research by scholars such as Dennis Des Chene and Roger Ariew, among others, has deepened our knowledge of the Scholastic context of Descartes's philosophy, especially his metaphysics and natural philosophy. Helen Hattab's book is a valuable addition to this literature. Her main concern is the development from explanations by Aristotelian substantial forms in late Scholastic thought to the allegedly more perspicuous explanations that characterized the new mechanistic science. More specifi…Read more
  •  56
    Descartes's Demon and the Madness of Don Quixote
    Journal of the History of Ideas 58 (1): 41-55. 1997.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Descartes’s Demon and the Madness of Don QuixoteSteven NadlerDescartes’s “malicious demon” (genius malignus, le mauvais génie)—the evil deceiver of the Meditations on First Philosophy whose hypothetical existence threatens to undermine radically Descartes’s confidence in his cognitive f aculties—is an artful philosophical and literary device. There is considerable debate over the significance of this powerful and malevolent being wit…Read more
  •  55
    Malebranche and ideas
    Oxford University Press. 1992.
    Nicolas Malebranche's account of the nature of ideas and their role in knowledge and perception has been greatly misunderstood by both his critics and commentators. In this work, Nadler examines Malebranche's theory of ideas and the doctrine of the vision in God with the aim of replacing the standard interpretation of Malebranche's account with a new reading. He argues that Malebranche's ideas should be seen as essences or logical concepts, and that our apprehension of them is thus of a purely i…Read more
  •  52
    Knowledge, volitional agency and causation in Malebranche and geulincx
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 7 (2). 1999.
  •  51
    Spinoza on Knowledge and the Human Mind (review)
    International Studies in Philosophy 33 (4): 153-154. 2001.
  •  49
    Descartes's Dualism
    with Gordon Baker and Katherine Morris
    Philosophical Books 38 (3): 157-169. 1997.