Spinoza and mental health


Abstract
With the proviso that Spinoza's concerns were philosophical, not medical, we examine the Ethics with a view to bringing out those aspects of it which are of import for mental health. We find that the Ethics surrounds the idea that man can be egoless in the Buddhist sense of that term. This concept provides a criterion of mental health. Further, according to Spinoza's theory of the Affections, those which are passive include some which are based on pain. These he 'enumerates among the diseases'. And for them he provides, in Part V, specific 'remedies'. This in turn leads him to equate 'Mental Freedom or beatitude' with a 'healthy Mind'. We thus have in Part V additional possible criteria of mental health. Finally, there is the suggestion that philosophy for Spinoza was a kind of therapy.' There is not a philosophical method, though there are indeed methods, like different therapies. — The philosopher's treatment of a question is like the treatment of an illness. — A main cause of philosophical disease — a onesided diet . . . Wittgenstein This doctrine of knowledge first and action later is not a minor disease . . . My present advocacy of the unity of knowledge and action is precisely the medicine for that disease. Wang Yang-ming When asked by two disciples which of the views of each was correct, Wang replied: both are. Which is used depends on the kind of person you are trying to help. Some persons need this one, others that.
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DOI 10.1080/00201747208601657
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