17th/18th Century Philosophy > 17th/18th Century Philosophy, Miscellaneous > Baruch Spinoza > Spinoza: Epistemology > Spinoza: Intuition
Edited by Sanem Soyarslan (North Carolina State University)
|Summary||As it is to be expected from a rationalist of the 17th century, Spinoza places as much confidence in reason’s ability to lead a good life as he does in its power to reveal the fundamental order and content of reality. But he is distinctive in that he emphasizes the importance of a special form of intellectual cognition: namely, intuition. Spinoza considers knowledge obtained by intuition (scientia intuitiva) as the most powerful and most desirable kind of knowledge, and hence as superior to reason. Accordingly, he holds that the greatest virtue of the mind and the greatest human perfection consist in understanding things through intuitive knowledge. Whereas reason is necessary in order to lead a happy life, for Spinoza, it cannot reach ultimate happiness and blessedness. Notwithstanding the importance that Spinoza ascribes to intuitive knowledge, his account of this superior form of knowledge is frustratingly concise. Most of the issues surrounding this topic derive from attempts to fill in the details of his account. Among these issues are the representative content of intuitive knowledge, the nature of intuition as a method, the affective state accompanying intuitive knowledge, the superiority of intuitive knowledge to reason, phenomenology of intuitive knowledge, and ethical (ir)relevance of intuitive knowledge.|
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