more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 4311

[catalogued under 16. Persons / F. Free Will / 6. Determinism / a. Determinism]

Full Idea

Men think themselves free because they are conscious of their volitions and their appetites, yet never give a thought to the causes which dispose them to desire or to exercise the will as they do, since they are wholly unaware of them.

Gist of Idea

We think we are free because we don't know the causes of our desires and choices


Baruch de Spinoza (The Ethics [1675])

Book Reference

Cottingham,John: 'The Rationalists' [OUP 1988], p.160

A Reaction

This encapsulates the determinist idea nicely. In the end we just choose, but we have no idea why we prefer one reason to another, or simply opt for one thing rather than another.