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Explaining Explanation And The Multiplicity Of Attributes In Spinoza

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Chapter Summary

The strangeness of Spinoza's substance monism is mitigated. The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) is the principle according to which each fact has an explanation. This chapter examines the argument for substance monism giving greater prominence to the role of the PSR. Author casts Spinoza's argument in the new light provided by the PSR and, by that means, to provide answers to questions concerning especially Spinoza's notion of attribute. To understand Spinoza's argument for substance monism, we need, of course, to understand Spinoza's notion of substance. He defines substance as that which is in itself and conceived through itself. For Spinoza each substance must have an attribute, a self-conceived feature, and we can see this by invoking the PSR. To argue in this way that substance must have at least one attribute is not yet to argue that substance has or must have a multiplicity of attributes.

Keywords: attributes; explanation; multiplicity; notion of substance; Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR); self-conceived feature; Spinoza; substance monism



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