Suicide or self-destruction means in ordinary language “the act of killing oneself deliberately” (intentionally or on purpose). Indeed, that’s what we read in the Oxford dictionary and the Oxford dictionary of philosophy , which seems to be confirmed by the etymology of the term “suicide”, a term introduced around mid-17th century deduced from the modern Latin suicidium, ‘act of suicide’. Traditionally, suicide was regarded as immoral, irreligious and illegal in Western culture. However, during the 17th century this Christian view started (...) to change as a consequence of the rise of modern science . Generally speaking, Spinoza does not write much on death. His name does even not occur in the Oxford Philosophy of Death, although he had had very particular ideas on the nature of death. However, he even had much more particular ideas on suicide. Moreover, he states in the fourth proposition of the third part of his masterpiece, the Ethics, that self-destruction is simply impossible: Nulla res, nisi à causâ externâ, potest destrui. (shrink)
Bacon’s influence on Spinoza’s thought is controversial, since this latter seems to underestimate the role of experience in achieving true knowledge. In this paper, I will investigate Spinoza’s reference in Letter 37** to a historiola mentis (little history of mind) a la Bacon as an empirical-historical method to distinguish between different kinds of perceptions. My aim is to explain why Spinoza considers Bacon’s little history of mind a useful tool to proceed towards the knowledge of the excellent things [praestantissimae res]. (...) I will suggest that Spinoza could have been inspired by Bacon’s theory of idols and his historical method, since they help distinguish between different kinds of ideas with no previous knowledge of the first causes. Moreover, Spinoza’s method for interpreting the Scripture in his Tractatus Theologicopoliticus seems to be partially indebted to Bacon’s account of natural and civil history and aims to clarify the practical meaning of the Scripture. According to Spinoza, a historical and empirical method might play a pivotal role by transforming human praxis and behavior according to the order of the intellect. This method has in a strictly practical function and cannot be compared to the true knowledge of things through their first causes. However, it is a fundamental part of the process directing human beings to the knowledge of the most fundamental things. (shrink)
Genevieve Lloyd’s Spinoza is quite a different thinker from the arch rationalist caricature of some undergraduate philosophy courses devoted to “The Continental Rationalists”. Lloyd’s Spinoza does not see reason as a complete source of knowledge, nor is deductive rational thought productive of the highest grade of knowledge. Instead, that honour goes to a third kind of knowledge—intuitive knowledge (scientia intuitiva), which provides an immediate, non-discursive knowledge of its singular object. To the embarrassment of some hard-nosed philosophers, intellectual intuition has an (...) affective component; it is a form of love, and ultimately given that human beings are finite modes of God/Nature (Deus sive Natura), it is a form of the intellectual love of God (amor Dei intellectualis). Some philosophers do not know what to make of this mysterious aspect of Spinoza’s philosophy, which is nonetheless firmly anchored in a reading of Part V of the Ethics. Nonetheless, this note will insist with Lloyd’s “Reconsidering Spinoza’s Rationalism” that such doctrine is an integral part of Spinoza’s philosophy. Moreover, it will be shown that Spinoza is well aware of the limitations of reason (ratio) in gaining scientific knowledge of the world and requires intuition precisely because of the inability of reason to represent individuals in their full particularity. Imagination too has a role to play in shaping scientific knowledge, although reason performs a vital critical role in disciplining and liberating the human mind from inadequate imaginary ideas. The result is an interpretation of Spinoza’s epistemology as both rationalist and intuitionist. DOI: 10.1080/24740500.2021.1962652. (shrink)
Ce travail s'attache à montrer qu'il existe, chez Spinoza, une critique de l'atomisme dont les enjeux sont aussi bien théoriques que pratiques, et qui joue un rôle décisif dans la redéfinition du rapport entre les choses singulières comme un "concours" entre les "parties de la nature".
ABSTRACT: I argue that when Spinoza describes substance and its attributes as he means that they are utterly indeterminate. That is, his conception of infinitude is not a mathematical one. For Spinoza, anything truly infinite eludes counting s conception is closer to a grammatical one. I conclude by considering a number of arguments against this account of the Spinozan infinite as indeterminate.
The question raised in this book is why Spinoza s work which comes so close to the modern view of natural science is not prominent in the social sciences. The answer suggested is that this is due to the lingering influence of the Cartesian differentiation between the domain of science, dealing with material bodies in space and time, and the realm of thought to which the mind belongs. Spinoza s rejection of this mind/body dualism was based on his conviction that (...) the human mind was an essential part of the forces which maintain human existence. Since this view fits so well the evolutionary view of life, the book suggests that after Darwin, when this dualism became untenable, it was replaced by a nature versus culture dichotomy. The book examines whether the history of the philosophy of science supports this explanation. The author believes that answering this question is important because of the rising influence of cultural relativism which endangers the very survival of modern science and political stability.". (shrink)
This paper considers Peirce's striking remarks about mathematics in a little-known review of Spinoza's Ethics within the larger context of his philosophy of mathematics. It argues that, for Peirce, true mathematical reasoning is always at the vanguard of thought, and resists logical demonstration. Through diagrammatic thought and her pre-theoretical innate faculty of logica utens, the great mathematician is able to see a theorem as true long before the logical apparatus necessary to demonstrate its truth exists. For Peirce, true mathematical thought (...) is in some sense pre-logical, and thus, the logical demonstration of this thought in the form of mathematical proofs is in fact "merely a veil over the living thought.". (shrink)
Damasio, an eminent neuroscientist explores the science of human emotion and what the great Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza can teach of how and why we feel. Damasio shows how joy and sorrow, those most defining of human feelings, are in fact the cornerstones of our survival and culture.