Final Causation in Spinoza

Author: 
Hoffman, Paul
Volume: 
Abstract: 
John Carriero has argued that for Spinoza there is no final causality in the Aristotelian sense and that the striving of things is merely to be understood in terms of metaphysical inertia. This paper makes a case against this claim. First it is argued that Spinoza’s notion of striving does in principle meet Thomas Aquinas’ criterion for final causation. Second it is shown that Carriero’ s denial of final causation in Spinoza leads to a deflationary interpretation of Spinoza’s notions of the good and striving of things, which is at odds with many passages of Spinoza’s Ethics. One can only do justice to these passages if one assumes that Spinoza did accept final causation in the traditional sense.