Volume 11, Issue 1, 2014
A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
Inesse and Concipi in Spinoza’s Ethics
In this paper I examine the prospects of the two major approaches to interpreting the ‘inesse’ relation in Spinoza’s definitions of substance and mode in the Ethics – the ‘inherence’ interpretation and the ‘causal’ interpretation. I argue that these interpretations will find it difficult to reconcile the claim that modes ‘are in’ substance with the claim that modes are conceived through substance. I consider a number of strategies that proponents of these readings might use to overcome the problem, and conclude that none is satisfactory.