Write a paper a total length of between 10 and 15 typed, double-spaced pages on one or more of the following topics. Please make sure to REFER TO THE READINGS, and your class notes where appropriate. If you use a secondary source not on our website, make sure you provide a citation for it. A hard copy of your paper must be in my Philosophy Department mailbox (5th floor of Wheatley) by 2pm on Wednesday, May 22. THIS IS A HARD AND FAST DEADLINE. Because of my need to enter grades shortly after, I will not be able to accept papers that come in after this date and time. If you want your paper back with comments, please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
Spinoza’s theory of the relationship between mind and body. What is the human body? What is the mind? How does Spinoza argue that physical events do not cause mental events, and that mental events do not cause physical events? How are mind and body related to one another if they do not interact causally?
Spinoza’s theory of freedom. What is the distinction between free choice of the will and freedom as self-determination. How does Spinoza argue in support of the thesis that all of our thoughts and actions are determined by causes? Is there a conflict between this thesis and Spinoza’s attempt to convince us that his philosophy is true? What is Spinoza’s positive conception of freedom?
Spinoza’s theory of the emotions. What is the relationship between emotions and ideas? What are the three component elements of every emotion? How does Spinoza distinguish between negative and positive emotions?To what extent is it possible to control our emotions? Illustrate with reference to Spinoza’s treatment of love and related emotions, hatred and related emotions, or both.
Spinoza’s conception of absolutely infinite substance in its relation to attributes and modes. In what sense does Spinoza identify God and Nature? What is the relationship between active nature and passive nature? What does it mean to say that Substance, God, or Nature is infinite? Does the idea that there are an infinite number of attributes, but that we only know two of them – extension and thought – make sense?
Spinoza’s theory of knowledge. What is the distinction between adequate ideas and inadequate ideas? What are the three forms of knowledge? Why does imagination result in a false conception of the world. What is the relationship between the highest form of knowledge and intellectual love of God?