Date of Graduation

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Philosophy

Advisor

Jacob Adler

Committee Member

Eric Funkhouser

Second Committee Member

Christopher Stevens

Third Committee Member

Barry Ward

Keywords

Problem of Arbitrarity, Problem of Existence, Spinoza

Abstract

Philosophers from Leibniz to Parfit have tackled the problem of existence and the problem of arbitrarity. I divide the solutions to these two problems into three general categories: (1) infinite regress answers, (2) ex nihilo answers, and (3) self-caused cause answers. I show that the first two (infinite regress and ex nihilo) categories of answers either fail to answer the problem of existence or the problem of arbitrarity or fail to satisfy one or more reasonable assumptions about said problems. Believing it to be useful to a self-caused cause answer to the problem of existence and the problem of arbitrarily, I explicate Baruch de Spinoza’s metaphysics. Finally, I construct a self-caused cause answer to the problem of existence and the problem of arbitrarity using Spinozistic metaphysics.

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