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Baruch Spinoza

Spinoza (1632-1677) was a Dutch Rationalist who, building off Descartes' ideas, famously proposed that God and nature are one and the same. Spinoza was strongly influenced by Descartes but disagreed with him on several key points, most notably, the idea that the universe consists of two distinct substances, bodies and minds. To Spinoza, everything in nature was one, and the underlying substance, God or nature, had infinite properties and causes and effects, of which extension and thought were just two. Interestingly, Spinoza was a determinist, characterizing free-will as our lack of understanding of the infinitely complex chain of cause and effect that made up the universe.