Michael Della Rocca

Michael Della Rocca

Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy

C 401
(203) 432-2764


PhD 1991, UC Berkeley

Areas of Interest

History of Early Modern Philosophy (particularly rationalism), Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind

Current or Recent Courses Taught

  • History of Early Modern Philosophy
  • Directed Studies
  • Causation in Early Modern Philosophy (with Ken Winkler)
  • Spinoza
  • Persistence and Possibility
  • Descartes
  • Monism

Selected Publications

  • Representation and the Mind–Body Problem in Spinoza, Oxford 1996
  • “Essentialists and Essentialism," Journal of Philosophy 1996
  • “Spinoza’s Metaphysical Psychology,” in The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza, Don Garrett (ed.), Cambridge, 1996
  • “Frankfurt, Fischer and Flickers” Nous 1998
  • “‘If a Body Meet a Body’: Descartes on BodyBody Causation” in New Essays on the Rationalists, Rocco Gennaro and Charles Huenemann (eds.), Oxford 1999
  • “Spinoza's Substance Monism”, Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes, John Biro and Olli Koistinen (eds.), Oxford University Press, 2002
  • Review of Margaret Wilson’s Ideas and Mechanism, Mind 2001.
  • “Essentialism versus Essentialism”, Gendler and Hawthorne (eds.), Imagination, Conceivabilty, Possibility, Oxford University Press, University Press, 2002.
  • Entry on Descartes for the Blackwell Companion to Early Modern Philosophy
  • “The Power of an Idea: Spinoza’s Critique of Pure Will,” Nous, 2003.
  • “A Rationalist Manifesto: Spinoza and the Principle of Sufficient Reason,” Philosophical Topics, 2003.
  • “Descartes, the Cartesian Circle, and Epistemology without God,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2005
  • “Two Spheres, Twenty Spheres, and the Identity of Indiscernibles,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 2006
  • “Descartes–Inseparability–Almog” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2005
  • “Will and Judgment” in The Blackwell Companion to Descartes’ Meditations, Stephen Gaukroger (ed.), Blackwell 2006
  • "Explaining Explanation and the Multiplicity of Attributes[in Spinoza]" in Baruch de Spinoza: Ethik, ed. Michel Hampe and Robert Schnepf with the assistance of Ursula Renz, Berlin: Akademie Verlag (2006)
  • "Spinoza and the Metaphysics of Scepticism", Mind, 2007
  • "Causation without Intelligibility and Without God in Descartes" in The Blackwell Companion to Descartes, Janet Broughton and John Carriero (eds.), 2008
  • “Rationalism Run Amok: Representation and the Reality of Emotions in Spinoza,” Interpreting Spinoza, ed. Charles Huenemann, Cambridge University Press, 2008
  • Spinoza, The Routledge Philosophers series, 2008
  • "The Identity of Indiscernibles and the Articulability of Concepts," Linguistics and Philosophical Investigations, 2008
  • "PSR, Philosophers' Imprint, 2010
  • "Getting his Hands Dirty: Spinoza's Criticism of the Rebel,"  Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise: A Critical Guide.
  • "Playing with Fire": Hume Rationalism, and a little bit of Spinoza, forthcomiing in the Oxford Handbook of Spinoza, ed. M. Della Rocca
  • "Primitive Persistence" and the Impasse Between Three-Dimensionalism and Four-Dimensionalism," forthcoming, Journal of Philosophyl
  • "Striving, Oomph, and Intelligibility" forthcoming in a volume and the judgement, edited by Maria vanderSchaar"
  • "Rationalism, Idealism, Monism, and Beyond" forthcoming in Spinoza and German Idealism, Yitzhak Melamed and Eckart Förster (eds.), Cambridge
  • "Violations of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in Leibniz and Spinoza", forthcoming in a volume on Grounding and Explanation, Fabrice Correia and Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Cambridge

Works in Progress

  • "Taking the Fourth: Steps Toward a New (Old) Reading of Descartes
  • “Violations of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in Leibniz and Spinoza"
  • "Rationalism, Idealism, Monism, and Beyond"
  • "Explaining Reference"
  • "The Taming of Philosophy"