Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-10-2017

Major Department or Program



Patrick Frierson


“Freedom and Bondage in Spinoza’s Ethics” concerns the availability of a ‘freedom worth wanting’ in Baruch Spinoza’s opus that is unthreatened by his metaphysics of determinism and substance monism. These metaphysical commitments seem to threaten a freedom that allows for phenomenology of choice and ethical responsibility, but, through a rigorous reading of the text, these are of no concern; Spinoza makes available a worthy theory of freedom. However, this reading argues that since freedom necessitates perfect adequate knowledge of the affects, only infinite modes can be free. Contrary to other scholarship on the matter, this reading further argues that humans are totally bound to the affects through their imperfection.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677), Liberty -- Philosophy, Ethics, Responsibility -- Ethical responsibility, Phenomenology -- Choice, Freedom, Monism, Rene Descartes (1596-1650) -- Metaphysics, Determinism (Philosophy), Syllogism, Metaphysics, Conatus, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2017 -- Philosophy Department

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Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Included in

Philosophy Commons



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