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Teleology vs. Imagined Ideal

Teleology vs. Imagined Ideal

(p.139) Five Teleology vs. Imagined Ideal
Maimonides and Spinoza
Joshua Parens
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the suspicion of some modern interpreters of Spinoza's and Maimonides's disenchantment with teleology. This is evidenced by the ambiguities in Spinoza's attack on teleology and the moderation of Maimonides's approach to it. However Spinoza understands human action, his turn toward conatus has led to an expectation of a nonteleological account of human action. Before turning to the details of the disputes about whether teleology is present in either Spinoza or Maimonides or both, this chapter considers the inferences drawn from the claim that they both equally eschew teleology. Warren Z. Harvey claims that both thinkers treat the human good as subjective and establish good and evil as the province of the imagination. It should also be determined here how these three claims, subjectivism, imagination as moral guide, and denial of teleology, are intimately connected with one another.

Keywords:   teleology, spinoza, maimonides, conatus, Warren Z. Harvey, subjectivism, imagination

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