Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Over onsFaculteit Godgeleerdheid en GodsdienstwetenschapAgenda

Agricola seminar: Intersubjectivity in Early Modern Philosophy: A Case Study on Spinoza's Philosophy of Mind

When:Mo 01-02-2016 16:00 - 18:00
Where:Room 130, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies

Martin Lenz: Intersubjectivity in Early Modern Philosophy: A Case Study on Spinoza's Philosophy of Mind

In this paper, I would like to defend the claim that Spinoza endorses an intersubjective or, more precisely, an interactionist view of the mind. What does this mean? The basic assumption of such a view is that our minds do not cognize things prior to our relation to others. This means that the content of our thoughts is determined by our mind’s relation to other minds.

But why should you care whether Spinoza held such a view? Like most other early modern philosophers, Spinoza is portrayed as an individualist or subjectivist who adheres to the Cartesian view of the mind as a private place with private mental states. On this reading, early modern philosophy is pervaded by the idea that thinking requires nothing beyond an individual mind, a self that thinks; indeed, the cogito is the starting point for building up true knowledge. In contrast to this reading, I would like to show that quite a number of early modern authors endorsed an intersubjectivist view of the mind, a view that would deny the sufficiency of a subjective cogito. In this paper, I will confine myself to Spinoza who, as I see it, defends an intersubjective view that is rooted in his metaphysiscs, defining the individual by means of interrelations to others.

Agricola unites all researchers in premodern studies. Looking forward to meeting you all,