Title

Spinoza on Conatus and Persistence through Time

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

This paper concerns Spinoza’s theory of conatus and an important consequence of this theory concerning how bodies persist through time. I first argue that a conatus is the self-maintaining activity of a mode and not (as many scholars maintain) a tendency toward self-preservation or some kind of force. I then argue that it follows from this theory of conatus that bodies persist through time by having temporal parts. I conclude the paper by arguing that attributing a temporal parts (or ‘four-dimensional’) metaphysic to Spinoza is not as implausible or anachronistic as it might first seem to be.