In his groundbreaking work of 1969, Spinoza's Metaphysics: An Essay in Interpretation, Edwin Curley attacked the traditional understanding of the substance-mode relation in Spinoza, according to which modes inhere in substance. Curley argued that such an interpretation generates insurmountable problems, as had already been claimed by Pierre Bayle in his famous Dictionary entry on Spinoza. Instead of having modes inhere in substance Curley suggested that the modes’ dependence upon substance should be interpreted in terms of (efficient) causation, i.e., as committing (...) Spinoza to nothing over and above the claim that substance is the (efficient) cause of the modes. These bold and fascinating claims generated one of the most important scholarly controversies in Spinoza scholarship of the past thirty-five years. In this paper I argue against Curley’s interpretation and attempt to reestablish the traditional understanding of Spinozistic modes as inhering in God and as predicated of God. I also criticize Curley’s philosophical motivation for suggesting this interpretation. In order to show that, for Spinoza, modes are predicated of - and inhere in - substance, I will proceed in the following manner. First, I will summarize Curley’s arguments against substance-mode inherence and present his alternative interpretation of the substance-mode relation. I will then present what I consider to be the most compelling arguments against Curley’s interpretation. Some of these arguments have already been suggested in the literature of the past thirty years (and by Bayle); however, as far as I know, most of the arguments I will be making are new. In the subsequent section I will respond to objections that Curley and Bayle advance against Spinoza’s view of God as the substratum in which all things inhere. Finally, I will address whether Spinozistic modes are predicated of (and not only inhere in) substance, and whether Spinoza considered modes to be particular properties (or “tropes,” in the jargon of contemporary metaphysics). Since Bayle’s claims will be used both in support of and against Curley’s interpretation, it would be appropriate to say a few introductory words on Bayle’s stance. In his Spinoza entry, Bayle criticizes Spinoza’s claim that all things are modes of God, claiming that it “is the most monstrous hypothesis that could be imagined, the most absurd, and the most diametrically opposed to the most evident notions of our mind.” Bayle, however, has no doubt that when Spinoza claims that all things are modes of God, Spinoza means that all things inhere in God. Curley embraces Bayle’s arguments against Spinoza, but uses them in order to claim that we should not ascribe to Spinoza a view which is allegedly shown by Bayle to be absurd. What we should do, Curley argues, is to reinterpret the substance-mode relation as a relation of causal dependence, which would set Spinoza free from Bayle’s hook. Interestingly, as we shall soon see, Bayle himself discusses and rejects a very similar revisionary interpretation of the substance-mode relation. (shrink)
We propose that human reasoning relies on an inherence heuristic, an implicit cognitive process that leads people to explain observed patterns (e.g., girls wear pink) in terms of the inherent features of their constituents (e.g., pink is an inherently feminine color). We then demonstrate how this proposed heuristic can provide a unified account for a broad set of findings spanning areas of research that might at first appear unrelated (e.g., system justification, nominal realism, is–ought errors in moral reasoning). By (...) revealing the deep commonalities among the diverse phenomena that fall under its scope, our account is able to generate new insights into these phenomena, as well as new empirical predictions. A second main goal of this paper, aside from introducing the inherence heuristic, is to articulate the proposal that the heuristic serves as a foundation for the development of psychological essentialism. More specifically, we propose that essentialism—which is the common belief that natural and social categories are underlain by hidden, causally powerful “essences”—emerges over the first few years of life as an elaboration of the earlier, and more open-ended, intuitions supplied by the inherence heuristic. In the final part of the paper, we distinguish our proposal from competing accounts (e.g., Strevens' K-laws) and clarify the relationship between the inherence heuristic and related cognitive tendencies (e.g., the correspondence bias). In sum, this paper illuminates a basic cognitive process that emerges early in life and is likely to have profound effects on many aspects of human psychology. (shrink)
Spinoza’s philosophy is bold and rich in challenges to our “common-sense intuitions”, and insofar as it provides powerful arguments to motivate these challenges, I believe that we cannot ask for more. Bold and well-argued philosophy has the indispensable virtue of being able to unsettle and try us, to move us to reconsider what seems natural and obvious, and possibly even to change our most basic beliefs. Indeed, for those who seek to test – rather than confirm - their old and (...) well-fortified intuitions, Spinoza is nothing short of a living spring. My deep support for rigorous, counter-intuitive philosophy notwithstanding, a considerable part of the current paper will be dedicated to an examination and critique of one of the boldest and most fascinating readings of Spinoza of the past few years. In his recent piece, “Rationalism Run Amok: Representation and the Reality of Emotions in Spinoza,” and in his outstanding new book, Michael Della Rocca suggests a strict identification of the relations of inherence, causation, and conception in Spinoza (Della Rocca develops this view partly in response to a position recently articulated by Don Garret). In order to see the striking implications of this claim, one need only realize that, according to Della Rocca, Spinoza holds that insofar as the sun is the (partial) cause of some states of the sunflower, the sunflower (partly) inheres in the sun. Furthermore, insofar as my great-great-grandparents caused me, I inhere in them (though we never co-existed at the same time). The mere oddity of Della Rocca’s claim will play only a limited role, if any, in my discussion below. Della Rocca provides important and interesting arguments to the effect that if we are to accept Spinoza’s radical version of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (henceforth, PSR), we should bite the bullet and accept the odd implications of Spinoza’s alleged view. While I have nothing but admiration for this willingness to read Spinoza in an allegedly consistent and uncompromising manner, I do think that Della Rocca’s argument that a strict endorsement of the PSR leads necessarily to the identification of the relations of inherence, causation and conception is wrong. I will argue that (1) Spinoza never endorsed this identity, and (2) that Della Rocca’s suggestion could not be considered as a legitimate reconstruction or friendly amendment to Spinoza’s system because it creates several severe and irresolvable problems in the system, and for that reason (and not because the threefold identity contravenes common sense) it should be rejected. In the rest of the paper I rely on my analysis of the relations of inherence, causation, and conception, and suggest a new interpretation of core issues in Spinoza’s metaphysics, and particularly of the conceived through and in another relations and the nature of the substance/modes opposition. Against Della Rocca’s claim that the bifurcation of efficient causation (into causation which is, and is not, accompanied by inherence) constitutes an illegitimate brute fact, I will argue that the bifurcation of causation in Spinoza is paralleled by a bifurcation of conception and that the two relations are grounded in the foundational bifurcation of existence into substance and modes. If we are to recognize the reality of modes in Spinoza, we must also acknowledge the bifurcations that result from the bifurcation of existence into substance and modes. (shrink)
In this paper I suggest a new interpretation of the relations of inherence, causation and conception in Spinoza. I discuss the views of Don Garrett on this issue and argue against Della Rocca's recent suggestion that a strict endorsement of the PSR leads necessarily to the identification of the relations of inherence, causation and conception. I argue that Spinoza never endorsed this identity, and that Della Rocca's suggestion could not be considered as a legitimate reconstruction or friendly amendment (...) to Spinoza 's system because it creates several severe and irresolvable problems in the system. -/- In the first part of the paper, I present the considerations and arguments that motivated Don Garrett's and Della Rocca's interpretations. In the second part, I present and examine several problems that result from Della Rocca's reading. In the third and final part, I present my own view on the relation among inherence, causation, and conception; offer a new interpretation of the conceived through relation in Spinoza ; and finally, defend and justify the presence of bifurcations at the very center of Spinoza 's system. (shrink)
The article explains the nature of the immanent cause in Spinoza. It shows that immanent causation is a distinct genus of efficient causation, i.e., an efficient cause whose effect inheres in the cause.
The present paper describes an ”ontological square’ mapping possible ways of combining the domains and converse domains of the relations of inherence and denomination. In the context of expounding and extending medieval appropriations of elements drawn from Aristotle’s Categories for theological purposes, the paper uses this square to examine different ways of defining Substance-terms and Accident-terms by reference to inherence and denomination within the constraints imposed by the doctrine of the Trinity. These different approaches are related to particular (...) texts of thinkers including Bonaventure and Gilbert of Poitiers. (shrink)
We argue that the claim that essence-based causal explanations emerge, hydra-like, from an inherence heuristic is incomplete. No plausible mechanism for the transition from concrete properties, or cues, to essences is provided. Moreover, the fundamental shotgun and storytelling mechanisms of the inherence heuristic are not clearly enough specified to distinguish them, developmentally, from associative or causal networks.
Children adopt an inherence-based view of some social categories, viewing certain social categories as reflecting the inherent features of their members. Thinking of social categories in these terms contributes to prejudice and intergroup conflict. Thus, understanding what leads children to apply inherence-based views to particular categories could provide new direction for efforts to reduce these negative social phenomena.
This paper elaborates upon various responses to the Problem of the One over the Many, in the service of two central goals. The first is to situate Huayan's mereology within the context of Buddhism's historical development, showing its continuity with a broader tradition of philosophizing about part-whole relations. The second goal is to highlight the way in which Huayan's mereology combines the virtues of the Nyāya-Vaisheshika and Indian Buddhist solutions to the Problem of the One over the Many while avoiding (...) their vices. (shrink)
Que la prédication n’est pas toujours attributive, et que le prédicat est seul nécessaire au jugement et à la phrase. — La logique classique, en mettant le prédicat dans le rapport, excluait le rapport du jugement ; le rapport véritablement posé est inhérent au prédicat et constitue le contenu rée] de la pensée. — Son expression dans la pensée mathématique et dans la pensée spontanée. — De l’appréciation exacte des rôles respectifs du sujet et du prédicat, et de leur signification (...) dans la théorie de la connaissance. (shrink)
‘Substance’ (substantia, zelfstandigheid) is a key term of Spinoza’s philosophy. Like almost all of Spinoza’s philosophical vocabulary, Spinoza did not invent this term, which has a long history that can be traced back at least to Aristotle. Yet, Spinoza radicalized the traditional notion of substance and made a very powerful use of it by demonstrating – or at least attempting to demonstrate -- that there is only one, unique substance -- God (or Nature) -- and that all other things are (...) merely modes or states of God. Some of Spinoza’s readers understood these claims as committing him to the view that only God truly exists, and while this interpretation is not groundless, we will later see that this enticing and bold reading of Spinoza as an ‘acosmist’ comes at the expense of another audacious claim Spinoza advances, i.e., that God/Nature is absolutely and actually infinite. But before we reach this last conclusion, we have a long way to go. So, let me first provide an overview of our plan. In the first section of this paper we will examine Spinoza’s definitions of ‘substance’ and ‘God’ at the opening of his magnum opus, the Ethics. Following a preliminary clarification of these two terms and their relations to the other key terms defined at the beginning of the Ethics, we will briefly address the Aristotelian and Cartesian background of Spinoza’s discussion of substance. In the second section, we will study the properties of the fundamental binary relations pertaining to Spinoza’s substance: inherence, conception, and causation. The third section will be dedicated to a clarification of Spinoza’s claim that God, the unique substance, is absolutely infinite. This essential feature of Spinoza’s substance has been largely neglected in recent Anglo-American scholarship, a neglect which has brought about an unfortunate tendency to domesticate Spinoza’s metaphysics to more contemporary views. The fourth section will study the nature of Spinoza’s monism. It will discuss and criticize the interesting yet controversial views of the eminent Spinoza scholar, Martial Gueroult, about the plurality of substances in the beginning of the Ethics; address Spinoza’s claim in Letter 50 that, strictly speaking, it is improper to describe God as “one”; and, finally, evaluate Spinoza’s kind of monism against the distinction between existence and priority monism recently introduced into the contemporary philosophical literature. The fifth and final section will explain the nature, reality, and manner of existence of modes. We therefore have an ambitious plan; let’s get down to business. (shrink)
Yitzhak Melamed here offers a new and systematic interpretation of the core of Spinoza's metaphysics. In the first part of the book, he proposes a new reading of the metaphysics of substance in Spinoza: he argues that for Spinoza modes both inhere in and are predicated of God. Using extensive textual evidence, he shows that Spinoza considered modes to be God's propria. He goes on to clarify Spinoza's understanding of infinity, mereological relations, infinite modes, and the flow of finite things (...) from God's essence. In the second part of the book, Melamed relies on this interpretation of the substance-mode relation and the nature of infinite modes and puts forward two interrelated theses about the structure of the attribute of Thought and its overarching role in Spinoza's metaphysics. First, he shows that Spinoza had not one, but two independent doctrines of parallelism. Then, in his final main thesis, Melamed argues that, for Spinoza, ideas have a multifaceted structure that allows one and the same idea to represent the infinitely many modes which are parallel to it in the infinitely many attributes. Thought turns out to be coextensive with the whole of nature. Spinoza cannot embrace an idealist reduction of Extension to Thought because of his commitment to the conceptual separation of the attributes. Yet, within Spinoza's metaphysics, Thought clearly has primacy over the other attributes insofar as it is the only attribute which is as elaborate, as complex, and, in some senses, as powerful as God. (shrink)
Em diversas ocasiões, Leibniz recorre à autoridade de Aristóteles a fim de roborar sua tese da verdade como inerência do predicado ao sujeito da proposição. Não é, contudo, evidente em que medida a filosofia aristotélica poderia oferecer amparo a essa reivindica- ção. Afinal, a Aristóteles tradicionalmente se atribui uma concepção de verdade diferente, consistente em uma relação de correspondência entre a proposição e a realidade que ela se destina a descrever. Sem discutir a conhecida tese da verdade como correspondência, este (...) trabalho é dedicado a investigar em que medida os escritos de Aristóteles permitem que Leibniz respalde neles as suas afirmações. Para tanto, a presente investigação estará focada nos Primeiros e os Segundos Analíticos, obras em que Aristóteles expõe sua teoria do racio- cínio e da demonstração. Visa-se averiguar se, e sob que condições, a noção de inerência ali mobilizada pode ser assimilada à noção leibniziana de inerência. (shrink)
Michael Jacovides provides an engaging account of how the scientific revolution influenced one of the foremost figures of early modern philosophy, John Locke. By placing Locke's thought in its scientific, religious, and anti-scholastic contexts, Jacovides explains not only what Locke believes but also why he believes it.
We argue that if one wishes to be a realist, one should adopt a Neo-Aristotelian ontology involving tropes instead of a Russellian ontology of property universals and objects. Either Russellian realists should adopt the relata-specific relational tropes of instantiation instead of facts, or convert to Neo-Aristotelian realism with monadic tropes. Regarding Neo-Aristotelian realism, we have two novel points why it fares better than Russellian realism. Instantiation of property universals by tropes and characterization or inherence between tropes and objects are (...) more transparent ontological notions than relational inherence, which is assumed in Russellian realism with the relational tropes of instantiation. Neo-Aristotelian realism makes better sense about abstract universals, which are a more viable option than concrete universals. (shrink)
My goal in this paper is to provide characterizations of matter, form and constituency in a way that avoids what I take to be the three main drawbacks of other hylomorphic theories: (i) commitment to the universal-particular distinction; (ii) commitment to a primitive or problematic notion of inherence or constituency; (iii) inability to identify viable candidates for matter and form in nature, or to characterize them in terms of primitives widely regarded to be intelligible.