spinoza on free will and determinism

a2 ethics with OCR

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  • Created by: Cara
  • Created on: 05-06-12 20:03

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Traditional view is false
Hard determinist
1. Biblical account is anthropomorphic
2. God has purposes, makes decisions and has free will
3. Creation occurred at a specific point in time
4. God is distinct from His creation
Old Testament applies human characteristics to God ­ walk, emotions, voice, face
Confused ­ infinite ­ cannot have a finite, physical form
Corporeal, that is not in a body
The Biblical language is symbolic ­ help understanding
Rejects the traditional view that God is either male or female
Even those who think of God being corporeal is nonsense, still apply mental attributes such as
intellect, will, create, love to Him
Infinite will would be different from finite
No point of agreement other than the name
E.g. the celestial constellation of the dog and the dog who barks
People think of God as a person because they project the best human characteristics on to the
divine ­ Freud
God will be ascribed by each group
Biblical ­ God decided to create the world; exercise free will
Spinoza rejects this
Applying free will is anthropomorphism
Humans are wrong; there is no free will
Everything is part of a causal system
Interconnected; no real, significant free will
Only one substance which is case of itself
If humans are free they would cause themselves
We think our minds and bodies are something else ­ we are subject to the same rules an part of it
Part of the created world regardless of conscious thought
Everything is caused, including our decisions
Denies free will ­ no absolute
Conscious of their volitions and desires
Stone ­ external cause propels it
Continues to move after the cause has stopped
No freedom ­ choices affected by external factors
Even if you accept there is a God, any application, according to Spinoza, of human characteristics such
as love and will are nonsense as God is infinite and therefore has no relation to finite beings
Spinoza asks what the stone would think if it was conscious
Men are conscious of their desires and ignorant of the causes


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