David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave (2011)
“Why did God create the World?” is one of the traditional questions of theology. In the twentieth century this question was rephrased in a secularized manner as “Why is there something rather than nothing?” While creation - at least in its traditional, temporal, sense - has little place in Spinoza’s system, a variant of the same questions puts Spinoza’s system under significant pressure. According to Spinoza, God, or the substance, has infinitely many modes. This infinity of modes follow from the essence of God. If we ask: “Why must God have modes?,” we seem to be trapped in a real catch. On the one hand, Spinoza’s commitment to thoroughgoing rationalism demands that there must be a reason for the existence of the radical plurality of modes. On the other hand, the asymmetric dependence of modes on the substance seems to imply that the substance does not need the modes, and that it can exist without the modes. But if the substance does not need the modes, then why are there modes at all? Furthermore, Spinoza cannot explain the existence of modes as an arbitrary act of grace on God’s side since Spinoza’s God does not act arbitrarily. Surprisingly, this problem has hardly been addressed in the existing literature on Spinoza’s metaphysics, and it is my primary aim here to draw attention to this problem. In the first part of the paper I will present and explain the problem of justifying the existence of infinite plurality modes in Spinoza’s system. In the second part of the paper I consider the radical solution to the problem according to which modes do not really exist, and show that this solution must be rejected upon consideration. In the third and final part of the paper I will suggest my own solution according to which the essence of God is active and it is this feature of God’s essence which requires the flow of modes from God’s essence. I also suggest that Spinoza considered radical infinity and radical unity to be roughly the same, and that the absolute infinity of what follow from God’s essence is grounded in the absolute infinity of God’s essence itself.
|Keywords||Why is there something Ontology Spinoza Infinite Modes Modes Infinity Fundamentality Mereology|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Nicholas Okrent (1998). Spinoza on the Essence, Mutability and Power of God. Philosophy and Theology 11 (1):71-84.
Dominik Perler (2008). Begriffliche Und Psychologische Ordnung Bei Spinoza. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 90 (2):188-215.
Marx W. Wartofsky (1977). Nature, Number and Individuals: Motive and Method in Spinoza's Philosophy. Inquiry 20 (1-4):457 – 479.
Ghislain Guigon (2011). Spinoza on Composition and Priority. In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave Macmillan
Yitzhak Y. Melamed (2012). Spinoza's Deification of Existence. Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 6:75-104.
Yitzhak Y. Melamed (2010). Acosmism or Weak Individuals?: Hegel, Spinoza, and the Reality of the Finite. Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (1):pp. 77-92.
Yitzhak Y. Melamed (2013). Spinoza's Metaphysics of Thought: Parallelisms and the Multifaceted Structure of Ideas. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):636-683.
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
Jon Roffe (2007). The Errant Name: Badiou and Deleuze on Individuation, Causality and Infinite Modes in Spinoza. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 40 (4):389-406.
Ohad Nachtomy (2011). A Tale of Two Thinkers, One Meeting, and Three Degrees of Infinity: Leibniz and Spinoza (1675–8). British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (5):935-961.
Michael Juffé (2007). Levinas as (Mis)Reader of Spinoza. Levinas Studies 2:153-173.
Sherry Deveaux (2003). The Divine Essence and the Conception of God in Spinoza. Synthese 135 (3):329 - 338.
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.
Michael Della Rocca (2008). Spinoza. Routledge.
John F. X. Knasas (2002). Contra Spinoza. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 76 (3):417-429.
Added to index2012-06-25
Total downloads159 ( #23,829 of 1,911,677 )
Recent downloads (6 months)19 ( #33,761 of 1,911,677 )
How can I increase my downloads?