Spinoza and liberal naturalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Was Spinoza a liberal naturalist? Liberal naturalism is defined by a rejection of supernatural entities – entities that can violate the laws of nature. Spinoza certainly rejects supernatural entities, holding that all things must be bound by the same unvarying order of nature. Before concluding that he is a liberal naturalist, however, we should consider how he thinks of the order of nature. He does not appear to mean an order of laws discovered by the natural sciences. Rather, he conceives of the order of nature as something akin to a system of mathematical objects, whose connections are established through deductive reasoning. In fact his position suggests a type of Pythagoreanism that treats all real objects as mathematical abstracta. If the ontologies of Parmenides and the Neoplatonists do not qualify as liberal naturalism, as De Caro and Voltolini have argued, then Spinoza’s ontology should not either.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of liberal naturalism
EditorsMario De Caro, David Macarthur
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781351209465, 9781351209472
ISBN (Print)9780815381822
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge handbooks in philosophy


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