A Vindication of Spinoza's Strict Necessitarianism: The Necessity of the Finite Modes
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This thesis tackles several difficulties surrounding Spinoza’s strict necessitarianism, the view that the actual world is the only possible world and thus wholly necessary. The discussion in recent Spinoza scholarship has often been about the question of whether Spinoza’s views do indeed amount to strict necessitarianism. The current thesis presupposes that the majority view that he was a strict necessitarian is correct and looks into the difficulties which such a strict form of necessitarianism meets from within Spinoza’s own system, that is the difficulties for Spinoza’s strict necessitarianism which are immanent to his own metaphysics. The research question it answers is therefore: does Spinoza’s metaphysics succeed in accounting for his strict necessitarianism? The aim of the thesis is to demonstrate first that there are several challenges which Spinoza’s strict necessitarianism encounters from within his general metaphysics, most notably that of explaining how the finite modes spring necessarily from God, and second that these challenges can be met by a certain interpretation of how the necessity of the finite modes is to be accounted for, based on the eternity of these finite modes. That interpretation also helps solving the other challenges the thesis sees with regard to Spinoza’s strict necessitarianism, such as the challenges of the apparent contingency of singular things and of the distinction between two forms of necessity.