In the first section of this chapter, I offer an overview of a selected list of Scholastic debates intersecting Spinoza's Cogitata Metaphysica. I highlight how Spinoza consciously intervenes in them, showing a certain awareness of the intricacies of Scholastic discourse. In this first section, I emphasize Spinoza’s interest in three specific problems: the issue of the division of being into “real being” and “being of reason”; the eternity of God and its distinction from duration; and, finally, God’s omnipresence. My aim (...) is to show how Spinoza (at least in the CM) does not completely stray away from the path of the Scholastics. In the second section, I focus on one specific problem, very close to Spinoza’s heart: the issue of the distinction between God’s intellect and God’s will, which is intimately tied to the question of the intentionality of God’s creation. Spinoza’s answer to this problem, as I shall prove, is already fully formed in the CM and remains substantially unchanged in the Ethics, thus emphasizing the continuity between this early work and Spinoza’s more mature system. (shrink)
This article is the FIFTH of several excerpts from my book The Nondual Mind: Vedānta, Kashmiri Pratyabhijñā Shaivism, and Spinoza (the full book is posted on this site). “I liked James H. Cumming’s The Nondual Mind a lot. It is beautifully written, thoughtful, and very clear.” (Prof. Yitzhak Y. Melamed, Charlotte Bloomberg Professor of Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University) “James H. Cumming’s scholarly interpretation of Spinoza’s works, persuasively showing how 17th century European ideas that ushered in the Enlightenment find a precursor (...) in 10th century Kashmir, is a masterpiece of reason and philosophy that will leave the reader with profound thoughts on the meaning of history, God, and life itself. As a senior staff attorney in my chambers for many years at the California Supreme Court and a top scholar of ethics and philosophy of law, Mr. Cumming never ceased to amaze me with his outstanding research and intellect. This scholarly book is a must read for all who want to know why Spinoza continues to influence contemporary philosophy and how his work is still relevant in today’s challenging, interconnected world.” (Hon. Ming W. Chin, Associate Justice (Retired), Supreme Court of California, 1996–2020). (shrink)
Through a detailed study of Spinoza's concept of 'experience', Moreau shows how Spinoza extends the power of reason to capture the singularity of individuals: their lives, languages, passions and societies.
Spinoza's guiding commitment to the thesis that nothing exists or occurs outside of the scope of nature and its necessary laws makes him one of the great seventeenth-century exemplars of both philosophical naturalism and explanatory rationalism. Nature and Necessity in Spinoza's Philosophy brings together for the first time eighteen of Don Garrett's articles on Spinoza's philosophy, ranging over the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, ethics, and political philosophy. Taken together, these influential articles provide a comprehensive interpretation of that (...) philosophy, including Spinoza's theories of substance, thought and extension, causation, truth, knowledge, individuation, representation, consciousness, conatus, teleology, emotion, freedom, responsibility, virtue, contract, the state, and eternity-and the deep interrelations among them. Each article aims to resolve significant problems in the understanding of Spinoza's philosophy in such a way as to make evident both his reasons for his views and the enduring value of his ideas. At the same time, Garrett's articles elucidate the relations between his philosophy and those of predecessors and contemporaries like Aristotle, Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, and Leibniz. Lastly, the volume offers important and substantial replies to leading critics on four crucial topics: the necessary existence of God (Nature), substance monism, necessitarianism, and consciousness. (shrink)
Vittorio Morfino draws out the implications of the dynamic Spinoza-Machiavelli encounter by focusing on the concepts of causality, temporality and politics. This allows him to think through the relationship between ontology and politics, leading to an understanding of history as a complex and plural interweaving of different rhythms.
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain (...) in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work. As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. (shrink)
Modernity seemed to be the autumn of eternity. The secularization of European culture provided little sustenance to the concept of eternity with its heavy theological baggage. Yet, our hero would not leave the stage without an outstanding performance of its power and temptation. Indeed, in the first three centuries of the modern period – the subject of the third chapter by Yitzhak Melamed - the concept of eternity will play a crucial role in the great philosophical systems of the period. (...) The first part of this chapter concentrates on the debate about the temporality of God. While most of the great metaphysicians of the seventeenth century – Suarez, Spinoza, Malebranche, and Leibniz – ascribed to God eternal, non-temporal, existence, a growing number of philosophers conceived God as existing in time. For Newton, God’s eternity was simply the fact that “He was, he is, and is to come.” A similar view of God as being essentially in time was endorsed by Pierre Gassendi, Henry More, Samuel Clarke, Isaac Barrow, John Locke, and most probably Descartes as well. In the second part of the chapter we study the concept of eternal truth, and its relation to the emerging notion of Laws of Nature. The third part of the chapter explicates Spinoza’s original understanding of eternity as a modal concept. For Spinoza, eternity is a unique kind of necessary existence: it is existence that is self-necessitated (unlike the existence of other things whose necessity derives from external causes). Eternity is the existence of God or the one substance. Yet, Spinoza claims that if we conceive finite things adequately - “sub specie aeternitatis” – as nothing but modes flowing from the essence of God, even finite things (like our minds) can take part in God’s eternity. The fourth and final part of the chapter is mostly focused on the reception of Spinoza’s original conception of eternity by Leibniz and other eighteenth century philosophers. (shrink)
In this paper, I study one aspect of the philosophical encounter between Spinoza and Hegel: the question of the reality of time. The precise reconstruction of the debate will require a close examination of Spinoza's concept of tempus (time) and duratio (duration), and Hegel's understanding of these notions. Following a presentation of Hegel's perception of Spinoza as a modern Eleatic, who denies the reality of time, change and plurality, I turn, in the second part, to look closely at Spinoza's text (...) and show that Hegel was wrong in reading Spinoza as denying the reality of duration and change. Ironically, Hegel's misreading of Spinoza as denying the reality of duration and change has been compensated for by a reading of Hegel as denying the reality of time by one of Hegel's most prominent followers, John Ellis McTaggart. I discuss McTaggart's reading of Hegel's Logic in the final part of the paper. (shrink)
A brilliant schoolboy in Amsterdam quickly learns to keep his ideas to himself. When he is twenty-three years old, those ideas prove so shocking and scandalous to his Jewish community that he is publicly denounced and expelled from his synagogue and neighborhood. The scandal shows no sign of waning as his ideas spread throughout seventeenth-century Europe, where he is almost universally reviled as an instrument of the devil. At the center of the storm, he lives the simplest of lives, quietly (...) devoted to his work as a lens grinder and to his steadfast search for truth--an endeavor that paves the way for all that is best in modern democracies. He does not live to see the results of his efforts, but his ideas change the world."--Provided by publisher. (shrink)
Plural Temporality traces out a dynamic historical relationship between the texts of Spinoza and of Althusser. It interrogates Spinoza's text through Althusser and vice versa regarding the question of materialism.
Until recently, Spinoza's standing in Anglophone studies of philosophy has been relatively low and has only seemed to confirm Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi's assessment of him as "a dead dog." However, an exuberant outburst of excellent scholarship on Spinoza has of late come to dominate work on early modern philosophy. This resurgence is due in no small part to the recent revival of metaphysics in contemporary philosophy and to the increased appreciation of Spinoza's role as an unorthodox, pivotal figure - indeed, (...) perhaps the pivotal figure - in the development of Enlightenment thinking. Spinoza's penetrating articulation of his extreme rationalism makes him a demanding philosopher who offers deep and prescient challenges to all subsequent, inevitably less radical approaches to philosophy. While the twenty-six essays in this volume - by many of the world's leading Spinoza specialists - grapple directly with Spinoza's most important arguments, these essays also seek to identify and explain Spinoza's debts to previous philosophy, his influence on later philosophers, and his significance for contemporary philosophy and for us. (shrink)
When McTaggart puts Spinoza on his short list of philosophers who considered time unreal, he is falling in line with a reading of Spinoza’s philosophy of time advanced by contemporaneous British Idealists and by Hegel. The idealists understood that there is much at stake concerning the ontological status of Spinozistic time. If time is essential to motion then temporal idealism entails that nearly everything—apart from God conceived sub specie aeternitatis—is imaginary. I argue that although time is indeed ‘imaginary’—in a sense (...) ‘no one doubts’ as Spinoza says—there is no good reason to infer that bodies, the infinite modes, and conatus are imaginary in the same sense. To avoid this conflation, we need to follow Spinoza in carefully distinguishing between tempus and duratio. Duration is not only real; it has all the structure needed to ground Spinozistic motion, bodies and conatus. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to clarify Spinoza’s views on some of the most fundamental issues of his metaphysics: the nature of God’s attributes, the nature of existence and eternity, and the relation between essence and existence in God. While there is an extensive literature on each of these topics, it seems that the following question was hardly raised so far: What is, for Spinoza, the relation between God’s existence and the divine attributes? Given Spinoza’s claims that there are (...) intimate connections between God’s essence and his existence – “God’s essence and his existence are one and the same”(E1p20) – and between God’s essence and the attributes – “By attribute I understand what the intellect perceives of substance, as constituting its essence” (E1d4), we would naturally expect that by transitivity, there is a significant relation between God’s existence and the attributes. Yet, as far as I know, there is little, if any, attempt in the existing literature to explicate such a relation, and it is one of my aims of this study to both raise the question and answer it. Eventually, I will argue that for Spinoza God is nothing but existence, and that the divine attributes are just fundamental kinds of existence, or, what is the same, as I will later argue, the intellect’s most fundamental and adequate conceptions of existence. In the first part of the paper I provide some background for Spinoza’s brief discussion in the TTP of God’s name and essence by studying the claims of Maimonides in the Guide of the Perplexed that God’s true essence is necessary existence, and that this essence is denoted by the ineffable Hebrew name of God, the Tetragrammaton (YHVH). In the second part of the paper I point out similar claims Spinoza presents in the TTP, and show how they respond to and echo Maimonides’ discussion in the Guide. In the third part, I examine Spinoza’s apparently conflicting claims in the Ethics about the relationship between God’s essence and existence. In some places Spinoza claims that God’s essence and existence are strictly identical (E1p10: “God’s essence his existence are one and the same”), but in other passages he makes the apparently much more modest claim that God’s essence involves existence (E1d1, E1p7d and E1p11d), which may lead one to believe that there is more to God’s essence than mere existence. I show that Spinoza’s understanding of the relation denoted by the Latin ‘involvit’ is consistent with the strict identification of essence and existence in God, and that Spinoza identifies God’s essence with self-necessitated existence, or eternity. Indeed, Spinoza’s understanding of eternity [aeternitas] as self-necessitated existence (E1d8) is one of the very few Spinozistic concepts that has no trace in Descartes. In this part I will also solve the long-standing problem of the sense in which the infinite modes can be called ‘eternal.’ In the fourth part I turn to the relation between the divine attributes and God’s existence and argue that, for Spinoza, the attributes are self-sufficient and adequate conceptions of existence. Finally, I will attempt to explain what brought Spinoza to deify existence. -/- Part I: “In that Day shall God be One, and his Name One”- Maimonides on God’s Name and Essence. -/- 1.1 Before we delve into the texts, let me suggest a few distinctions between various views on the issue of the relation between essence and existence in God. The view I suspect both Maimonides and Spinoza subscribe to can be termed the divine essence-existence Identity Thesis. -/- Identity Thesis (IT): God’s essence is existence and nothing but existence. We should distinguish the Identity Thesis from the much more common view according to which God’s essence contains existence, or (which I take to be roughly the same) that existence is one of the properties or perfections which constitute God’s essence. The latter view allows for the possibility (though it does not demand) that there is more to God’s essence than bare existence (e.g., God’s essence may include omniscience, omnipotence, etc.). I will term this view the divine essence-existence Containment Thesis. (shrink)
This book concerns the nature of time and ordinary cases of persistence in Spinoza. The author argues for three major interpretive claims. First, that Spinoza is committed to an eternalist theory of time whereby all things (whether they seem to be past, present, or future) are equally real. Second, that a mode’s conatus or essence is a self-maintaining activity (not an inertial force or disposition.) Third, that modes persist through time in Spinoza’s metaphysics by having temporal parts (that is, different (...) parts at different times.) If this is correct, then a significant reinterpretation of Spinoza’s modal metaphysics is required. The book also puts Spinoza into dialogue with some recent work in analytic metaphysics. (shrink)
" Nous sentons et nous expérimentons que nous sommes éternels. " Cette phrase énigmatique n'est peut-être pas soli-taire : elle appelle - et suppose pour être comprise - toute une problématique spinoziste de l'expérience, peu aperçue mais régissant des pans entiers du système. L'expérience, c'est d'abord la clef de l'itinéraire par lequel, au début de la Réforme de l'entendement, le narrateur arrache à la vie commune les raisons de chercher le vrai Bien. C'est ensuite, dans les champs de l'histoire (lieu (...) de la fortune), de la langue (lieu de l'usage), des passions (lieu de l'ingenium), le signe de tout ce qui paraît échapper à la Raison sans pourtant la contredire. C'est enfin la présence, en tout homme, d'une conscience de la nécessité au sein même de la finitude. Ainsi l'étude de l'expérience permet-elle de voir autrement la Raison elle-même ; de comprendre, aussi, la constitution du système qui apparaît comme une réflexion sur les formes et les moyens de la rationalité. (shrink)
Nesse primeiro momento da análise do problema da liberdade em Espinosa, gostaria de mostrar que, embora Espinosa trate o conceito de contingência como relacionado à finitude do entendimento humano, o que sugere uma abordagem meramente negativa, ele, na verdade, desenvolve uma abordagem positiva, a saber : a contingência, assim como o tempo , é uma forma necessária do pensamento humano que tem um fundamento na realidade das coisa s às quais ele se aplica, embora não possa ser considerado uma propriedade (...) das coisas. Mostrar que a contingência , assim como o conceito de tempo, é uma forma necessária do pensamento humano significa mostrar não apenas que existem condições objetivas que autorizam a aplicação desse conceito, mas que a imperfeição na qual se funda o conceito de contingência é necessária e intransponível para o entendimento humano. -/- O primeiro passo será estabelecido a partir da prova de que a categorização temporal, da qual a contingência é uma das formas , tem por fundamento o estatuto ontológico peculiar das coisas sobre as quais ela incide, a saber, sobre o estatuto modal (não-substancial) das coisas singulares, unicamente no qual é possível distinguir entre a essência e a existência. O segundo passo consistirá em mostrar que a categorização temporal é uma forma necessária do conhecimento que o homem tem do mundo na medida em que ela é uma das atividades constitutiva s da unidade numérica da alma humana, ou seja, uma das atividades pelas quais a alma humana existe em ato na duração. (shrink)
Spinoza's Ethics is a classic philosophy text but it is also one of the most difficult to understand. This latest text in the Oxford Philosophical Texts series includes a new, lucid translation of Ethics in which Parkinson provides a comprehensive guide to the understanding of Spinoza's work. An extensive introduction includes a short biography of Spinoza himself; the form of his writing including his own particular uses of definitions; an introductory guide through the philosophy of Ethics; and a summary of (...) the contents of Ethics itself. Further aids include a glossary of terms, notes to the text, and notes to the translation. (shrink)
This essay consists of two main sections and an appendix. §1 argues that what Spinoza means by 'eternity' depends on the context in which he uses the term. In particular, given his characterization of substance, Spinoza must be interpreted to mean something different by 'eternity' as said of natura naturans than as said of natura naturata or any of its elements. §2 argues that, given the stark difference in the type of being characteristic of substance and that of the modes, (...) Spinoza's epistemology as developed in the Ethics involves a fundamental incoherence: his epistemology requires, and yet his metaphysics renders impossible, that we have an adequate idea of god. Even if the incoherence is put to one side, Spinoza's epistemology and metaphysics seem jointly to imply other bizarre results. §§'s 1 and 2 provide good reasons to identify substance, natura naturans , and god on the one hand, and the system of modes, natura naturata, and creation on the other, with the consequence that there is some basis for interpreting Spinoza as having retained in his philosophical system the concept of an at least remotely traditional deity. The appendix discusses the incredibility of the evidence we have that seems on its face to imply that Spinoza was an atheist, as well as the apparent credibility of other evidence we have that seems on its face to imply that he was a theist. It therefore appears that Spinoza creates a system with a stark internal rift that finds certain expression in his ontology and epistemology, and probable expression in his theology. (shrink)