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Spinoza’s Physics (Lemmata Following 2P13)

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Chapter Summary

In the course of accounting in more detail for the claim of Proposition 13 of Book 2 of the Ethics (2p13), Spinoza offers a brief exposition of the fundamentals of natural philosophy, which is of particular significance since in effect it acts for him as a model for enquiry generally. It is of course Cartesian natural philosophy that Spinoza sets out in the Lemmata to Proposition 13. The first thing we need to understand is how Cartesian natural philosophy can act as a model for knowledge. The principle that the quantity of motion in the universe is constant plays a crucial role in Spinoza's metaphysics. It is simply the material constituents of the body that provide it with its physical identity. In the Ethics, Spinoza introduces the idea of conatus, by which a body strives to retain its identity, to account in a different way for the individuation of bodies.

Keywords: 2P13; Cartesian; Ethics; Lemmata; metaphysics; natural philosophy; physical identity; proposition; quantity of motion; Spinoza



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