Summary[ edit ] Part I: Of God[ edit ] The first part of the book addresses the relationship between God and the universe. Tradition held that God exists outside of the universe, created it for a reason, and could have created a different universe if he chose. Spinoza denies each point. According to Spinoza, God is the natural world. Spinoza then begins to reason from these starting ideas.

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Summary[ edit ] Part I: Of God[ edit ] The first part of the book addresses the relationship between God and the universe. Tradition held that God exists outside of the universe, created it for a reason, and could have created a different universe if he chose. Spinoza denies each point. According to Spinoza, God is the natural world. Spinoza then begins to reason from these starting ideas. If an object exists, it must be infinite, [6] because otherwise another, finite, object would have to exist and take up the remaining parts of its finite attributes- something which is impossible according to earlier proposition.

This means that everything is, in some sense, dependent upon God. The nature of this dependence is disputed. Some scholars say that the modes are properties of God in the traditional sense.

Others say that modes are effects of God. Since God had to exist with the nature he has, nothing that has happened could have been avoided, and if God has fixed a particular fate for a particular mode, there is no escaping it. As Spinoza puts it, "A thing which has been determined by God to produce an effect cannot render itself undetermined. Spinoza attacks several Cartesian positions: 1 that the mind and body are distinct substances that can affect one another; 2 that we know our minds better than we know our bodies; 3 that our senses may be trusted; 4 that despite being created by God we can make mistakes, namely, when we affirm, of our own free will, an idea that is not clear and distinct.

Regarding 1 , Spinoza argues that the mind and the body are a single thing that is being thought of in two different ways. The whole of nature can be fully described in terms of thoughts or in terms of bodies.

However, we cannot mix these two ways of describing things, as Descartes does, and say that the mind affects the body or vice versa. Further, there is no difference between contemplating an idea and thinking that it is true, and there is no freedom of the will at all. Sensory perception, which Spinoza calls "knowledge of the first kind", is entirely inaccurate, since it reflects how our own bodies work more than how things really are.

We can also have a kind of accurate knowledge called "knowledge of the second kind", or "reason". This encompasses knowledge of the features common to all things, and includes principles of physics and geometry. We can also have "knowledge of the third kind", or " intuitive knowledge ".

This is a sort of knowledge that, somehow, relates particular things to the nature of God. This is usually taken to mean that things try to last for as long as they can. Spinoza explains how this striving " conatus " underlies our emotions love, hate, joy, sadness and so on. Our mind is in certain cases active, and in certain cases passive.

In so far as it has adequate ideas it is necessarily active, and in so far as it has inadequate ideas, it is necessarily passive. Part IV: Of the Servitude of Humanity, or the Strength of the Emotions[ edit ] The fourth part analyzes human passions, which Spinoza sees as aspects of the mind that direct us outwards to seek what gives pleasure and shun what gives pain. The "bondage" he refers to is domination by these passions or " affects " as he calls them.

Spinoza considers how the affects, ungoverned, can torment people and make it impossible for mankind to live in harmony with one another. Part V: Of the Power of the Intellect, or the Liberty of Humanity[ edit ] The fifth part argues that reason can govern the affects in the pursuit of virtue, which for Spinoza is self-preservation : only with the aid of reason can humans distinguish the passions that truly aid virtue from those that are ultimately harmful.

By reason, we can see things as they truly are, sub specie aeternitatis , "under the aspect of eternity," and because Spinoza treats God and nature as indistinguishable, by knowing things as they are we improve our knowledge of God. Seeing that all things are determined by nature to be as they are, we can achieve the rational tranquility that best promotes our happiness, and liberate ourselves from being driven by our passions. This is his pantheism. In his previous book, Theologico-Political Treatise , Spinoza discussed the inconsistencies that result when God is assumed to have human characteristics.

In the third chapter of that book, he stated that the word "God" means the same as the word "Nature". He wrote: "Whether we say For Spinoza, God or Nature—being one and the same thing— is the whole, infinite, eternal, necessarily existing, active system of the universe within which absolutely everything exists. This is the fundamental principle of the Ethics In this perspective, human beings are part of nature, and hence they can be explained and understood in the same way as everything else in nature.

However, my argument is this. Humans are not different in kind from the rest of the natural world; they are part of it. He articulates the psr in a strong fashion, as he applies it not only to everything that is, but also to everything that is not: Of everything whatsoever a cause or reason must be assigned, either for its existence, or for its non-existence — e.

The solution appeared to him more perplexing than the problem, and rather unscientific in spirit as involving a break in continuity. He preferred to think of the entire system of reality as its own ground. This view was simpler; it avoided the impossible conception of creation out of nothing; and it was religiously more satisfying by bringing God and man into closer relationship.

Instead of Nature, on the one hand, and a supernatural God, on the other, he posited one world of reality, at once Nature and God, and leaving no room for the supernatural. This so-called naturalism of Spinoza is only distorted if one starts with a crude materialistic idea of Nature and supposes that Spinoza degraded God.

The truth is that he raised Nature to the rank of God by conceiving Nature as the fulness of reality, as the One and All. He rejected the specious simplicity obtainable by denying the reality of Matter, or of Mind, or of God.

The cosmic system comprehends them all. Each attribute has modes. All bodies are modes of extension, and all ideas are modes of thought. These terms are very old and familiar, but not in the sense in which Spinoza employs them. To understand Spinoza, it is necessary to lay aside all preconceptions [15] about them, and follow Spinoza closely. Such an uncaused, self-sustaining reality he called substance.

So, for instance, he could not understand the reality of material objects and physical events without assuming the reality of a self-existing, infinite and eternal physical force which expresses itself in all the movements and changes which occur, as we say, in space. This physical force he called extension, and described it, at first, as a substance, in the sense just explained.

Similarly, he could not understand the various dependent, transient mental experiences with which we are familiar without assuming the reality of a self-existing, infinite and eternal consciousness, mental force, or mind-energy, which expresses itself in all these finite experiences of perceiving and understanding, of feeling and striving. This consciousness or mind-energy he called thought, and described it also, at first, as a substance.

But in view of the intimate way in which Extension and Thought express themselves conjointly in the life of man, Spinoza considered it necessary to conceive of Extension and Thought not as detached realities, but as constituting one organic whole or system. And in order to express this idea, he then described Extension and Thought as attributes, reserving the term Substance for the system which they constitute between them. This change of description was not intended to deny that Extension and Thought are substances in the sense of being self-existent, etc.

It was only intended to express their coherence in one system. The system of course would be more than any one attribute. For each attribute is only infinite of its kind; the system of all attributes is absolutely infinite, that is, exhausts the whole of reality. Spinoza, accordingly, now restricted the term "substance" to the complete system, though he occasionally continued to use the phrase "substance or attribute", or described Extension as a substance.

But this meaning must not be read into Spinoza. For Spinoza, Substance is not the support or bearer of the Attributes, but the system of Attributes — he actually uses the expression "Substance or the Attributes. So far only the two Attributes have been considered, namely, Extension and Thought. Spinoza, however, realised that there may be other Attributes, unknown to man. If so, they are part of the one Substance or cosmic system. And using the term " infinite " in the sense of "complete" or "exhaustive", he ascribed to Substance an infinity of Attributes, that is, all the attributes there are, whether known to man or not.

Substance is incessantly active, each Attribute exercising its kind of energy in all possible ways. Thus the various objects and events of the material world come into being as modes modifications or states of the attribute Extension; and the various minds and mental experiences come into being as modes of the attribute Thought or Consciousness. These modes are not external creations of the Attributes, but immanent results — they are not "thrown off" by the Attributes, but are states or modifications of them, as air-waves are states of the air.

Each Attribute, however, expresses itself in its finite modes not immediately or directly but mediately or indirectly , at least in the sense to be explained now. Galilean physics tended to regard the whole world of physical phenomena as the result of differences of motion or momentum. And, though erroneously conceived, the Cartesian conception of a constant quantity of motion in the world led Spinoza to conceive of all physical phenomena as so many varying expressions of that store of motion or motion and rest.

Spinoza might, of course, have identified Extension with energy of motion. But, with his usual caution, he appears to have suspected that motion may be only one of several types of physical energy. So he described motion simply as a mode of Extension, but as an infinite mode because complete or exhaustive of all finite modes of motion and as an immediate mode as a direct expression of Extension.

Again, the physical world or "the face of the world as a whole", as Spinoza calls it [17] retains a certain sameness in spite of the innumerable changes in detail that are going on. Accordingly, Spinoza described also the physical world as a whole as an infinite mode of extension "infinite" because exhaustive of all facts and events that can be reduced to motion , but as a mediate or indirect mode, because he regarded it as the outcome of the conservation of motion itself a mode, though an immediate mode.

The physical things and events of ordinary experience are finite modes. In essence each of them is part of the Attribute Extension, which is active in each of them. But the finiteness of each of them is due to the fact that it is restrained or hedged in, so to say, by other finite modes. This limitation or determination is negation in the sense that each finite mode is not the whole attribute Extension; it is not the other finite modes. But each mode is positively real and ultimate as part of the Attribute.

But in this case, as in the case of Extension, Spinoza conceives of the finite modes of Thought as mediated by infinite modes.

The immediate infinite mode of Thought he describes as "the idea of God"; the mediate infinite mode he calls "the infinite idea" or "the idea of all things". The other Attributes if any must be conceived in an analogous manner. And the whole Universe or Substance is conceived as one dynamic system of which the various Attributes are the several world-lines along which it expresses itself in all the infinite variety of events.

The cosmic system is certainly a logical or rational system, according to Spinoza, for Thought is a constitutive part of it; but it is not merely a logical system — it is dynamic as well as logical. His frequent use of geometrical illustrations affords no evidence at all in support of a purely logico - mathematical interpretation of his philosophy; for Spinoza regarded geometrical figures, not in a Platonic or static manner, but as things traced out by moving particles or lines , etc.

Without intelligence there is not rational life: and things are only good, in so far as they aid man in his enjoyment of the intellectual life, which is defined by intelligence. In the lowest kinds of things, in so-called inanimate matter, this tendency shows itself as a "will to live". Regarded physiologically the effort is called appetite; when we are conscious of it, it is called desire.

The moral categories, good and evil, are intimately connected with desire, though not in the way commonly supposed. Man does not desire a thing because he thinks it is good, or shun it because he considers it bad; rather he considers anything good if he desires it, and regards it as bad if he has an aversion for it.



Gozilkree This encompasses knowledge of the features common to all things, and includes principles of physics and geometry. Some scholars say that the modes are properties of God in the traditional sense. The nature of this dependence is disputed. Webarchive template wayback links Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference Articles with Italian-language external geoemtrico Articles with French-language external links Webarchive template archiveis links CS1 maint: We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. These criticisms deal with fundamental disagreements about the ultimate nature of reality and whether it is to be affirmed or denied. Wikiquote has quotations related to: For the next hundred years, if European philosophers read this so-called heretic, they did so almost entirely in secret.


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