The Coincidence of the Finite and the Infinite in Spinoza and Hegel

Idealistic Studies 49 (1):23-44 (2019)
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Abstract

This paper proposes a reassessment of Hegel’s critical reading of Spinoza and of the charge of acosmism, for which this reading is known. We argue that this charge is actually the consequence of a more fundamental criticism, namely Spinoza’s presumable inability to conceive the unity of the finite and the infinite. According to Hegel, the infinite and the finite remain two poles apart in Spinoza’s metaphysics, which thus fails to be a true monism, insofar as it contains an irreducible duality. Against this reading, we argue that Spinoza’s conception of the causal co-determination of finite modes entails the acknowledgment of their essentially infinite nature. The study of this particular instance of coincidentia oppositorum enables to counter some of Hegel’s criticisms as well as to illuminate a fairly unexplored aspect of Spinoza’s substance monism.

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Noa Shein
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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