The Universal Nature of a Spinozistic Substance




Spinoza, Attributes, Universals, Properties, Realism, Antirealism, Monism, Tropes, Nominalism


There is a longstanding alliance between rationalism and realism concerning universals. Spinoza does not disrupt that alliance. The nature of a Spinozistic substance, after all, is a universal. That is what I argue here. My central point is that a realist conception of universals is a key presumption behind Spinoza’s case for substance monism, a view historically recognized as a natural outgrowth of realism’s toleration of strict identity in diversity. After defending my central point (and, in addition, the secondary point that Spinoza is likely cognizant of this presumption), I respond to two concerns. First, I explain how the nature of a Spinozistic substance is a universal even though there can be only one instance of that nature. Second, I explain how Spinoza’s infamous rejection of universals does not contradict the fact that the nature of a substance is a universal.