David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):636-683 (2013)
In this paper, I suggest an outline of a new interpretation of core issues in Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind. I argue for three major theses. (1) In the first part of the paper I show that the celebrated Spinozistic doctrine commonly termed “the doctrine of parallelism” is in fact a confusion of two separate and independent doctrines of parallelism. Hence, I argue that our current understanding of Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind is fundamentally flawed. (2) The clarification and setting apart of the two doctrines will also put us in a position to present my second major thesis and address one of the more interesting and enduring problems in Spinoza’s metaphysics: how can the attribute of thought be, on the one hand, isomorphic with any other attribute, and yet, on the other hand, be isomorphic with God himself, who has infinitely many attributes? In the second part of the paper, I present Spinoza’s solution to this problem. I argue that the number and order of modes is the same in all attributes. Yet, modes of Thought, unlike modes of any other attribute, have an infinitely-faceted internal structure so that one and the same idea represents infinitely many modes by having infinitely many facets (or aspects). (3) This new understanding of the inner structure of ideas in Spinoza will lead us to my third thesis in which I explain and solve another old riddle in Spinoza’s metaphysics: his insistence on the impossibility of the human mind knowing any of God’s infinite attributes other than Thought and Extension. In the third part, I show some of the major ramifications of my new interpretation and respond to some important objections. In my conclusion I discuss the philosophical importance of my interpretation. I explain why Spinoza could not embrace reductive idealism in spite of the preeminence he grants to the attribute of Thought. I argue that Spinoza is a dualist -- not a mind-body dualist, as he is commonly conceived to be, but rather a dualist of Thought and Being. Finally, I suggest that Spinoza’s position on the mind-body issue breaks with the traditional categories and ways of addressing the subject by suggesting a view which grants clear primacy to Thought without accepting any idealist reduction of bodies to thought.
|Keywords||Parallelism Thought Metaphysics Idealism Unknown Attributes Attributes Leibniz Tschirnhaus Metaphysics of Thought Spinoza|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
René Descartes (1984). The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. Cambridge University Press.
Robert Merrihew Adams (1994). Leibniz: Determinist, Theist, Idealist. Oxford University Press.
Jonathan Bennett (1984). A Study of Spinoza's 'Ethics'. Cambridge University Press.
Steven M. Nadler (2006). Spinoza's Ethics: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1969/1976). Philosophical Papers and Letters. D. Reidel Pub. Co..
Citations of this work BETA
John Grey (2014). Spinoza on Composition, Causation, and the Mind's Eternity. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (3):446-467.
Similar books and articles
Timothy L. S. Sprigge (1977). Spinoza's Identity Theory. Inquiry 20 (1-4):419 – 445.
Jonathan Bennett (1965). A Note on Descartes and Spinoza. Philosophical Review 74 (3):379-380.
Francesca di Poppa (2010). Spinoza and Process Ontology. Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (3):272-294.
Yitzhak Y. Melamed (forthcoming). The Building Blocks of Spinoza’s Metaphysics: Substance, Attributes and Modes. In Michael Della Rocca (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Spinoza. Oxford University Press
Yitzhak Y. Melamed (2011). Why Spinoza is Not an Eleatic Monist (Or Why Diversity Exists). In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave
Francesca di Poppa (2009). Abraham Cohen Herrera. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 83 (4):491-507.
Yitzhak Y. Melamed (2012). Spinoza's Deification of Existence. Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 6:75-104.
Charles E. Jarrett (1977). Some Remarks on the 'Objective' and 'Subjective' Interpretations of the Attributes. Inquiry 20 (1-4):447 – 456.
Nicholas Okrent (1998). Spinoza on the Essence, Mutability and Power of God. Philosophy and Theology 11 (1):71-84.
Michael Della Rocca (2008). Spinoza. Routledge.
Steven Nadler (2008). Spinoza and Consciousness. Mind 117 (467):575-601.
Dominik Perler (2008). Begriffliche Und Psychologische Ordnung Bei Spinoza. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 90 (2):188-215.
Brandon C. Look (forthcoming). Existence, Essence, Et Expression: Leibniz Sur 'Toutes les Absurdités du Dieu de Spinoza'. In Pierre-Francois Moreau & Mogens Laerke (eds.), Spinoza et Leibniz.
Henk Keizer (2012). Spinoza's Definition Of Attribute: An Interpretation. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (3):479-498.
Added to index2011-10-04
Total downloads268 ( #7,557 of 1,789,721 )
Recent downloads (6 months)54 ( #16,907 of 1,789,721 )
How can I increase my downloads?