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The definition of error as privation in Spinoza's philosophy

Grant number: 19/27118-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2020
Effective date (End): January 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Luís César Guimarães Oliva
Grantee:Gabriel Frizzarin Ramalhães de Souza
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/19880-4 - Power, conflict and freedom: Spinoza and the ways of Modern and Contemporary Political Philosophy about democracy, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):21/09908-1 - The duplicity of imagination in Spinoza's philosophy, BE.EP.MS


In the Fourth Meditation and the Principles of Philosophy, Descartes uses the term privation to refer to the form of error, which derives from the misuse of the free will. But a free will is exactly what Spinoza, in Letter 2 and propositions 48 and 49 of Ethics II, seeks to eliminate. Why, then, does Ethics II use the term privation to define the form of error? What is the purpose of Spinoza in evoking this term to describe something apparently marked by deep conceptual differences? These questions build the problem of error definition as privation of knowledge. In view of this, our research project aims to understand how this privation is placed in the Spinoza's speech about error and what meaning it has. By examining the various figures of privation in Spinoza's writings (Letters to Blyenbergh, Principles of Cartesian Philosophy and Metaphysical Thoughts), we aim to clarify Spinoza's use of the term and to measure it in relation to an apparent return to Cartesianism. (AU)

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
SOUZA, Gabriel Frizzarin Ramalhães de. Dreaming with open eyes: a study of the concepts of error and privation in Spinoza\'s philosophy. 2023. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD) São Paulo.

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