“ ‘A Substance Consisting of an Infinity of Attributes’: Spinoza on the Infinity of Attributes” in Ohad Nachtomy and Reed Wieneger (eds.), Infinity in Early Modern Philosophy (Springer, forthcoming).

In Reed Winegar & Ohad Nachtomy (eds.), Infinity in Early Modern Philosophy. Springer (2018)
Yitzhak Melamed
Johns Hopkins University
Though Spinoza's definition of God at the beginning of the Ethics unequivocally asserts that God has infinitely many attributes, the reader of the Ethics will find only two of these attributes discussed in any detail in Parts Two through Five of the book. Addressing this intriguing gap between the infinity of attributes asserted in E1d6 and the discussion merely of the two attributes of Extension and Thought in the rest of the book, Jonathan Bennett writes: Spinoza seems to imply that there are other [attributes] – he says indeed that God or Nature has “infinite attributes.” Surprising as it may seem, there are reasons to think that by this Spinoza did not mean anything entailing that there are more than two attributes. In this paper I will argue that Bennett’s claim is fundamentally wrong and deeply misleading. I do think, however, that addressing Bennett’s challenge will help us better understand Spinoza’s notion of infinity. I will begin by summarizing Bennett’s arguments. I will then turn to examine briefly the textual evidence for and against his reading. Then I will respond to each of Bennett’s arguments, and conclude by pointing out theoretical considerations which, I believe, simply refute his reading.
Keywords Spinoza  Infinity
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Spinoza and the Problem of Other Substances.Galen Barry - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-27.

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