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Featured article Conatus is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 1, 2008.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
March 19, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
April 14, 2007 Peer review Reviewed
May 5, 2007 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

GA (On Hold)[edit]

Citations. If you're going to have a list of references and cite with name and page number, please use the Harvard style.

Whoops... I was confusing MLA and Harvard... I'll implement the standardized Harvard templates tomorrow.
Done! -- Rmrfstar 20:47, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Citations needed.

  • First paragraph under "Classical origins". First sentance under "In the psyche" under "Hobbes".
    • Done.
  • Second and/or third sentance in the paragraph after the quote under "In physics" under "Hobbes".
    • This whole paragraph is found in "Jesseph", and seems to me sufficiently cited.
  • First sentance, third paragraph under "Spinoza".
    • Done.
  • First sentance, second paragraph under "Psychological manisfestation".
    • Done.
  • First and/or second sentance under "Physical manisfestation".
    • I removed the second sentence (I can't find a good enough citation for it), and I think the first sentence needs no specific, separate citation as it is so general and is supported by so many.
  • Clear up specify tag under "Modern interpretations".
    • Will do this tomorrow. -- Rmrfstar 03:57, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
      • Done! -- Rmrfstar 20:47, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Address these issues and I believe it would meet GA standards. Vassyana 14:01, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Looking good. Vassyana 12:16, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
I believe that all of your objections have been addressed as of now. -- Rmrfstar 20:47, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

GA Review (Passed)[edit]

  1. Well-written. The writing is clear and fairly concise. It is clean and provides a reader an excellant overview of the topic.
  2. Factually accurate and verifiable. The article is well-cited and provides an accurate presentation of the topic. There is room for improvement. The article could have a greater number of references to provide a broader coverage of available sources and to provide information to flesh out the article more.
  3. Broad in coverage. Certainly covers all the bases and gives a solid impression of the breadth of the subject. Again, there is still room for improvement. Short sections could be expanded. Additional sources could provide additional interpretations and viewpoints for the article.
  4. Neutral point of view. No problems at all. The presentation is interesting but neutral.
  5. Stable. The article is stable.
  6. Images. Good use of images, but perhaps reconsider selection and placement to better compliment the article.

Overall, well within GA standards, but definately room for improvement. If someone was looking to bring this up to 1.0 or FA status, I would recommend the above mentioned improvements and a peer review. Good job on the article. Vassyana 21:31, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

A few comments[edit]

I, Cryptic, will add notes here as I read through the article.


  • This sentence, Often the concept is associated with God's will in a pantheist view of Nature, as Spinoza used it, though not always. is obnoxiously worded.

Classical origins

  • What exactly is ὁρμήν? This is the English wiki, not the Greekish wiki.
I don't know... it's Greek to me!
  • Cicero's full name is given as a caption to the picture, but not in the prose. Perhaps you should consider putting the full name next to Diogenes Laertius for consistency, and replacing the caption with information about the medium and origin of that sculpture.
  • There's no time frame whatsoever. The reader should be familiar with the basic time line of these definitions without having to click the links to the philosophers' articles.
  • "impetus" should be replaced with a more commonly used word. Wikilinking it doesn't help, as impetus is just a disambig with definition that really makes sense here.
I used a different word because impetus happens to be a technical term used elswhere in a different sense within the article.
  • The last paragraph just boggles me. Is it about science or romance?
Metaphysics, a mixture of the two.

In Teh Psychzor

  • Missing a quotation mark after threatens this peace. (fixed)
  • I truly loathe the second quote. Who said it? Schmitter? Given that it's such a large and dense chunk of text, it should either be set off as a block quote or paraphrased.
I separated it from the text.

In Fizyx

Why not, indeed?
  • The plural conatuses is used for the first time here. I had been under the impression that conatus (which, by the way, needs to be italicized consistently) was not a quantifiable noun.
I reworded this.
  • No comma needed in springs, and bladders for example. (fixed)
  • I before e except after c. (fixed)


  • Specify!
  • Wtf is conatus sese conservandi?
I have defined this in the article.
  • Use a consistent tense. You flip-flopped from he used the term to he most often uses.
I believe I have fixed this.
  • as Descartes had before even him yarg. I had to read that one 5 or 6 times to understand it.

I'd keep going, but I have no attention span. It's time to watch porn. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 21:51, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Bad reference[edit]

  • Very small point: Note 57 lists "Vico 1988", but the date listed in the Further Reading section for this reference is that of its original publication (1710), and does not list the date of republication. Chubbles 23:53, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I fixed this. -- Rmrfstar 00:08, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Spinoza and "self-preservation"[edit]

Nice article, however... The last section on other philosophers links them several times to Spinoza's conatus, understood as "self-preservation". This is a misunderstanding of Spinoza, and is a more accurate description of Hobbes' conatus. For Spinoza, the conatus was a sort of tendency towards empowerment, a dynamic, and not a static notion as "self-preservation" — see for ex. Gilles Deleuze's little book on Spinoza with an index of Spinozist notions (Spinoza: Practical Philosophy). Self-preservation is only the "first determination" of conatus, according to him "the conatus, in second determination, is the tendency to maintain and obtain at maximum the aptitude to be affected [cites Ethics, IV, 38]" (Deleuze, 1981).

Beside, the so-called counter examples of a "lit candle" or "suicidal people" (?) are really simplists. Would you really think that Spinoza was dumb enough not to think about this objection? The fact that a candle dies is explained by any other death in Spinoza's system: a "bad encounter" with another, foreign part, certainly not something belonging to the body itself. A "suicidal person" would also be "suicidal" because "sad", and "sad" in turn because of ill-fated encounter with parts that he should have known better than to meet (see Courses on Spinoza and letters to Blyenberg; English transl.))... Again, see Deleuze's book for an exposition of this, and, for ex., Ethics, IV, P39 (and scholium), IV Axiom. According to Deleuze, in sadness, our power is blocked and can only react, while in joy, our power is affirmed and the conatus expands itself (Ethics, IV, P18). The conatus (third determination) is also the striving to expands one joy, according to Deleuze (cites Ethics, III, 12, 13, 28, etc.)

I thus move here the passage on "Counter-examples", which I think only leads the reader to a misunderstanding of Spinoza:

Despite Spinoza's extensive arguments for the existence of a universal conatus principle, many arguments against it have been formulated. Martin Lin, professor at the University of Toronto, points to lit candles, time bombs and suicidal persons as counterexamples to Spinozan conatus. Some counter-counter examples may be the observations that lit candles do not light themselves, or that “Tongley's sculpture or a time bomb involve parts that never succeed in constituting genuinely integrated wholes.”-Lin 2004, p. 30-

Furthermore, Nietzsche's should be cited precisely ; besides, using the forged book The Will to Power as a reference is not really reliable. Date & number of fragment using the German completed edition would be more serious. Lapaz 23:20, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, 1) I didn't add those counterexamples and 2) I'm not really an expert on Spinoza's mechanical views of the universe, so I'll leave your additions here. I must add, however, that I try to avoid Delueze and other such nonsense as much as possible, and I strongly recommend others do so as well. It's very difficult to do so over here in popomo, anti-scientific Europe. (Since when is Deleuze considered an expert on the history of science!! Good god....). Anyway, please try to find more serious analytic and/or scientific sources on these topics. Thank you very much.--Francesco Franco 09:10, 7 September 2007 (UTC)--Francesco Franco 09:10, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Mind you, now that I think on't, you can add ANYTHING you like at all. I don't even know why I responded. No one will know the difference one way or the other and, if they do, the truly knowlegable ones won't give a fuck since this is Wackipedia and not something serious and scholarly. What a complete waste of time and energy!!I used do it because I was nuts., but I'm doing much better now. You? --Francesco Franco 09
24, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Hello Lapaz, thanks for helping. here's what I think:
I agree with most of your edits. I think the matter of the static vs. dynamic conatus of Spinoza is akin to splitting hairs, and nothing is misleading. Do you think anything needs to be further changed?
I do feel that the counter arguments should be left in, not because they are serious arguments which disprove Spinoza (they're not), but for the edification (brain food?) of the average curious adult. Also, it's a matter of NPOV, I think. I don't think anyone could be led to misunderstand Spinoza simply by reading this section called "Counter-arguments". Especially considering the counter-counter arguments mentioned. However, I dont' feel particularly strongly about the matter.
What's wrong with citing The Will to Power? Do you have access to the German complete edition? Do you read German? I don't. -- Rmrfstar 21:12, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree on this one. The Will To Power is a collection of aphorisms and longer writings by Neitzche that were deliberately taken out of context, altered, manipulated and poshumously publishedby his sister to serve as anti-semitic, proto-Nazi propaganda. It's HER work, much more than his. Therefore, it shouldn't be cited as a legitimate source for the beliefs of Freidrich Nietzche, nor much else for that matter. It's apocryphal.--Francesco Franco 09:51, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Franco for further explanations concerning "The Will to Power". Amusingly, one of the first philosopher to have acclaimed Mazzino Montinari's philologist work on the matter was... Deleuze. I don't know where you get your idea that Deleuze is "anti-scientifical", but I do have to point out that Deleuze's work on Spinoza has been recognized by a number of people. Furthermore, I do not think that the "matter of the static vs. dynamic conatus" is "splitting hairs" — indeed, it is a very important feature of Spinozism. I don't think either that for the sake of "NPOV" we should include a not too bright counter-argument; see WP:UNDUE. Otherwise, I'm sure the article could still be improved, but it's not easy to work on such a notion — and if Wikipedia certainly is not Wakopedia, philosophical matters seems hard to discuss on wikis. Regards, Lapaz 20:04, 10 September 2007 (UTC)


This article is now featured but there are some parts needing citations, particularly in sections one and seven. Can anyone fix this? Thank you. --Efe (talk) 00:19, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

I propose to remove, I think three, sentences that need citation until its resolved. --Efe (talk) 01:17, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Don't remove anything so fast. I'll work to source these questionable statements. Until then, only maybe comment them out. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 05:56, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Uhm, Im not in hurry. That's why I left message here. --Efe (talk) 08:11, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
It is pretty embarrassing that Today's Featured Article has three "citation needed" tags on it, and they're not even new (added last September!) Anon., 08:17, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I consulted SandyGeorgia on this. --Efe (talk) 09:21, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for jumping on you Efe: I was in a rush when I wrote the above response and didn't want any rash actions taken in my absence. Having looked more closely since then, I believe that the first two "citation tags" have little reason to exist. These two tags were added by User:Lapaz with no edit summary. I believe that I wrote both of the sentences in question while referencing the source cited at the end of their respective paragraphs. Perhaps it makes sense to duplicate the references to make this more obvious. Or we could simply delete the tags...
The matter of the third "citation needed" tag is harder. There used to be a citation for this statement pointing to The Will to Power, though without a page number. I removed this citation (diff), calling it a "bad citation" based on the above discussion (read: argument). In short, the cause for the ref's removal was that Lapaz called the cited work, The Will to Power apocryphal and an unreliable source. He suggested citing the "date & number of fragment using the German completed edition" instead. So, there are three options: we find someone to follow Lapaz's advice; we decide the source was reliable; we find another source for this statement all together; or we remove the statement. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 18:19, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I've followed my own advice, removed the first two tags and commenting out the Will to Power material. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 08:58, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Recent Vandalism[edit]

Well, since im ne w, that dude, is an IP from The Jesse H. Jones Rotary House International, which is an Hotel. So, what do we do now? —Preceding unsigned comment added by II MusLiM HyBRiD II (talkcontribs) 00:25, 1 July 2008 (UTC) His IP IS FROM MusLiM HyBRiD II (talk) 00:27, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

He vandalized the page seven times. That's too much. He has been warned. No worries, he's temporarily blocked. --Efe (talk) 01:15, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
wait.. ive been warned? For what? Didnt i take the correct procedures to stop this user?II MusLiM HyBRiD II (talk) 12:52, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, This situation has been fixed. Section Closed.II MusLiM HyBRiD II (talk) 13:16, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Latin origin[edit]

The first line correctly identifies this as a word of Latin origin, but the Latin meanings given are present and continuous. This word comes from the perfect participle, which describes action completed in the past. --EncycloPetey (talk) 01:49, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

I do not know Latin; but a number of Latin dictionaries provide the same definitions that this article does, for example the one cited in article (Traupman)... also this one.
As used here, conatus is a 4th declension masculine noun (nominative conātus, genitive conātūs). It is identical in form to the nominative singular masculine of the past participle, but the participle is a 1st/2nd declension adjective (masc. nom. conātus, genitive conātī; fem. nom. conāta, etc.). Of course it's related to the participle, but it isn't a participle at all. Anon., 06:50, 1 July 2008 (UTC)


This is ridiculous: "After its formulation in ancient Greece, successive philosophers to adopt the term put their own personal twist on the concept, each developing the term differently such that it now has no concrete and universally accepted definition.[3]" It's obviously a Latin word. It may be traced back to a concept in Greek, but the way it stands this just sounds stupid. So I'm just deleting these sentences and someone with more info should come fix it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:05, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

OK, I don't see at all how those sentences are ridiculous: conatus is not just a Latin word. Philosophers have, throughout the ages, actively and passively redefined it to fix their theories. Do you not like the wording? And don't delete anything: comment it out, please. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 06:04, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I think the point is that although the concept of conatus may have been formulated in ancient Greece, the term conatus, being Latin, clearly wasn't used then. The Greeks would have called it something else. Anon., 06:52, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Ahhh... I think I fixed this. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 22:00, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
The origin of the name needn't be relevant to the discussion of the concept itself. For example, there are many articles on various aboriginal cultures. Few of those cultures used the words that are used in those articles to describe them, since they are mostly Western derived words - should those articles have all the references to aboriginal culture prior to the arrival of the Western explorers removed? Adacore (talk) 09:15, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
In this case, the etymology is relevant. The Latin was used to translate the Greek, etc. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 14:40, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Latin query[edit]

The Latin cōnātus comes from the verb cōnor, which is usually translated into English as, "to endeavor": Shouldn't that be either "conari" or "I endeavor"? 45ossington (talk) 07:04, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, that is my fault. I switched it from the infinitive to the present active indicative 1st singular, in order to link to the Wiktionary entry (I figured a discussion on words might benefit from a dictionary's perspective). On Wiktionary Latin (as well as Ancient Greek) verbs have the main entry at the PAI1S form, following the tradition of nearly all other dictionaries of the language(s). The entry for cōnārī simply says "present active infinitive of cōnor." It does link to the main entry, but it's an extra step for the user. However, I must admit that putting "I endeavour" might throw off the average user, who might wonder about the inflected form, being used to an infinitive for a simple definition. As I rarely edit Wikipedia, I'll leave this in the hands of more experienced editors here to do as they think best. Sorry about the trouble. Atelaes (talk) 18:09, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Ambiguous sentence[edit]

The sentence "In systems theory and the sciences in general, the concept of a conatus may be related to the phenomenon of emergence, whereby complex systems may spontaneously form from a multiplicity of more simple structures." (emphasis is mine) is ambiguous, because "more" could be taken as qualifying either "simple" or "structures". Does "more simple structures" mean "structures that are more simple" or "more structures, which are simple"? If the former, rephrase as "simpler structures"; if the latter, rephrase as "more, simple structures" or, better, "further simple structures". — Paul G (talk) 09:58, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Good catch. I changed "more simple" to "simpler", and the sentence is much better now. Thanks! -- Rmrfstar (talk) 21:38, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


Wouldn't a reference to Meme be suited to be included in a pontential See also section of the article? Raborg (talk) 10:42, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

No. There are a lot of memes! -- Rmrfstar (talk) 14:37, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


Is this word always pronounced with an "ei" sound for the "a"? It certainly isn't pronounced that way in Latin, where it's a long "a", but this article doesn't mention that, or the possibility (I don't know how widespread it might be) that some English speakers pronounce it with a long "a" too. Would it be excessively pedantic to expand the pronunciation bit so that it covers both ways of saying it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:49, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

It does seem odd to be applying the Great Vowel Shift to a not-so-commonly-heard Latin term. Do we have a citation either way, though? I'd say include whatever we can support with references ... and, of course, nothing more. JIMp talk·cont 01:05, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps I'm missing something here, but surely we don't need a citation for an IPA pronunciation that is readily available in online dictionaries. Sunray (talk) 02:21, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Why not? Especially considering the obviously non-Latin nature of the pronunciation we're giving. As for its being readily available, you pointed us to, Sunray, but neither AHD nor Cambridge have an entry. I've added the ref you gave, if you think it doesn't belong, delete it. JIMp talk·cont 04:06, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
The pronunciation of the word, if listed, should be that of Latin. Considering the extreme variety with which this word was probably pronounced, I say we should remove the pronunciation guide (and with it the reference). -- Rmrfstar (talk) 14:35, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. JIMp talk·cont 14:38, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


This sentence is part of the intro:

The concept may be expanded and split into separate things for definition by the mind and body, or even consolidated as with centrifugal force ending at inertia.

Please, what does it mean? Rracecarr (talk) 20:04, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

The version you read was recently introduced. I changed it back. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 20:54, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Write about the thing not the word[edit]

I had reworded the intro such that the first sentence refers to conatus rather than the term conatus. This was reverted. Is it not better to refer to the thing itself rather than the word which describes it? JIMp talk·cont 01:03, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I made the reversion, though I agreed with the spirit of your edit. I undid it for two reasons: one, because of the large, broad scope of this article, it sometimes makes sense to talk about "conatus" as a variable term, and not just one of that term's meanings. The second reason was that your rewording, while made for the right reasons, created some inconsistencies in the first paragraph; it was merely a temporary stop-gap.
I have reinstated your change, with appropriate modifications to the following sentences. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 20:22, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


" Around 1700, Telesius and Campanella extended the ancient Greek notions and applied them to all objects, animate and inanimate.[8]"

Around 1700 is improbable since Telesius lived in the 16th century and Campanella died 10 1639.

Alsichcan (talk) 14:47, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Nice catch! Probably 1600 was meant. Unfortunately, I don't have the reference on hand... I'll change "1700" to "later", for now, and leave a comment in the text. Thanks. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 11:28, 2 September 2009 (UTC)


"This stability required to maintain life can also refer to the notion of homeostasis developed by Claude Bernard which later inspired the field of cybernetics." was removed for a lack of source. Feel free to check the existing page on homeostasis and pull references from there since I think the 2 concepts are really rather close. Since Im not familiar with conatus though I let you decide, especially since my addition was instantly commented out.

PS : I don't really understand why the next sentence on Jung still stays without providing sources.

Utopiah (talk) 23:43, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't think homeostatis and conatus are much related. The claim about Jung is not very controversial; actually it's rather obvious. I'll comment it out, though, just to be safe. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 03:27, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Newton before 1679[edit]

Newton before 1679 believed in conatus too. This should be included in the article. See p. 65 of Cohen's guide to the Principia (in the 1999 edition from U. California Press, bound with his translation of the Principia), as well as Planetary Astronomy from the Renaissance to the Rise of Astrophysics, Part A by Reni Taton, p. 235ff. JKeck (talk) 22:57, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

The article should not in-depth discuss every use of the term, but only the most significant cases. As I remember, Newton's conception of conatus was rather derivative of that of Hobbes, Descartes, etc. See the last section of "In Descartes". -- Rmrfstar (talk) 23:30, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

File:Thomas Hobbes (portrait).jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Diogenes Laertius c. 235 BCE?[edit]

Can someone verify if that information is correct? The entrance for Diogenes Laertius in the section "Classical origins" states that he lived circa 235 BCE., I believe that the 'B' is an error, being it correctly "circa 235 CE". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:56, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

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