Steven Barbone
San Diego State University
Much ink has been spilled over the so-called problem of the “eternity of the mind” in Spinoza’s Ethics, where he writes: “Nevertheless, we feel and experience that we are eternal.” The line is striking by what it seems to assert, namely, that we are eternal, but it is yet more striking if we are attentive to Spinoza’s word choices. If Spinoza had written instead that we know or understand that we are eternal, the issue might be more easily resolved. But what can it mean to feel and to experience that we are eternal? After reviewing several commentators’ interpretations, this study suggests that we simply take Spinoza at his word. The best interpretation of this troubling passage is actually not to interpret it but to take it literally.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy  eternity  Spinoza
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ISBN(s) 0019-0365
DOI 10.5840/ipq201762089
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