Benedict Spinoza
  • Parallelism: proposed solution (or dissolution) of the other minds problem
    • Question: How do minds and bodies interact? {1}
    • Answer: They Don't! {2}
      • Question: Why then are their motions coordinated? {4}
        • I decide to raise my arm & my arm goes up
        • I stub my toe and the pain comes on
      • Answer: They run in parallel without interacting {6}
        • Question: Why should they do that?!
          • Answer 1: Occasionalism (Malbranche): God actively maintains the parallel at every instant.
          • Answer 2: Preestablished Harmony (Leibniz): God set it up like that from the start (like the soundtrack & images of a motion picture).
          • Answer 3: Dual Aspect Theory (Spinoza): mind & matter are really just two aspects of one & the same thing. {7}{8}
  • Rationalism: reason can grasp the structure of reality independently of observation
    • through intellectual intuitive grasp of the nature & relations {3}{9} of
    • deductions therefrom following the geometrical method. {1-5}
  1. (i:P2) Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another. [D3]
  2. (i:P3) If things have nothing in common with one another, one of them cannot cause [any effect in] the other. [P2, A4, A5]
  3. (i:A4) The knowledge of an effect depends on, and involves, the knowledge of its cause.
  4. (i:A5) Things that have nothing in common cannot be explained through one another, or, the concept of the one does not involve the concept of the other.
  5. (i:D3) By substance I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself, in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.
  6. (ii:P7) The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things.
  7. (ii:P2)  Extension is an attribute of God, or God is an extended thing.
  8. Thought is an attribute of God, or God is a thinking thing.
  9. (i:P1) A substance is prior in nature to its affections.
  10. (i:D4) By attribute, I mean that which which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance.
  11. (i:D5) By mode, I mean the modifications of substance, or that which exists in, and is conceived through, something other than itself.
God or 
  • Ontological Proof: God Exists
    • Conceive, if possible, that God does not exist
    • Then his essence does not involve existence.
    • But his is absurd. [A7,D6, P7]. {4} {2}{5}
    • Therefore, God exists. {3} 
  • There is only one God/Substance
    • God, being infinite has every attribute {2}
    • But (P5) "In nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute." [P4]
      • (P4) "Two or more distinct things are distinguished from each other either by a difference in the attributes of the substances, or by a difference in their affections."
    • There is only one God/Substance. {6}
  • Nature of God/Nature
    • Immanent not transcendent: God is nature, not "outside" or "above" it: {7}
      • pantheism: God/Nature are one and the same
      • Nature is infinite & eternal, not created.
    • God/Nature is nonpersonal, not "Our Father" {8}
      • God/Nature's thought & conception unlike human thought & conception {9}
        • our thought (when true or adequate) reflects reality
        • God/Nature's thought constitutes/is reality & cannot help but be true & adequate
      • God/Nature's volition unlike our (presumed) volition.
        • God/Nature doesn't pursue goals or act on purpose. {10}
        • God/Nature hasn't "absolute freedom" to do otherwise than He/It does. {11}
  1. (i:D1) By that which is self-caused, I mean that whose essence involves existence, or that whose nature cannot be conceived except as existing.
  2. (i:D6) By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite, i.e., a substance consisting of an infinity of attributes, of which each one expresses an eternal and infinite essence.
  3. (i:P11) God, or a substance consisting of infinite attributes each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists. [A7, P7]
  4. (i:A7) If a thing can be conceived as not existing, its essence does not involve existence.
  5. (i:P7) It pertains to the nature of substance to exist. [P6, D1]
  6. (i:P14) Except God no substance can be conceived. [D6, P11, P5]
  7. (i:P15) Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can be or be conceived without God. [P14, D3, D5, A1]
  8. (i:P17:C2:Note) For intellect and will, which should constitute the essence of God [conceived personally], would perforce be as far apart as the poles from the human intellect and will, in fact, would have nothing in common with them but the name; there would be about as much correspondence between the two as between the Dog, the heavenly constellation, and a dog, an animal that barks. 
  9. (i:P17:C2:Note) If intellect belongs to the divine nature, it cannot be in nature, as ours is generally thought to be, posterior to, or simultaneous with the things understood, inasmuch as God is prior to all things by reason of his causality.  On the contrary, the truth and formal essence of all things is as it is, because it exists by representation as such in the intellect of God. 
  10. (i:Appendix) Nature has no end set before it. ... If God acts for the sake of an end, he [must] want something that he lacks.
  11. (P33:Note) [T]hey have attribute[d] another freedom to God, far different from that we taught (D7), viz. an absolute will.
  12. (i:D7) A thing is called free which exists from the necessity of its nature alone, and is determined to act by itself alone.  A thing is called necessary, or rather compelled, which is determined by another to exist and to produce an effect in a certain and determinate manner.
  • Mind is the idea of (associated with) a body {1} {2}
    • panpsychism: all bodies have a mental aspect {3}
    • the aim of each thing is self-preservation: the psychological correlate of physical inertia. {4} {5}
    • truth is correspondence or agreement of thought & its object {6}
    • perception is misleading (untrue) insofar as it confuses ideas of our bodies with the ideas of the external objects which cause them. {7}
    • insofar as we conceive things in the fulness of their interrelations to everything else -- i.e., sub specie aeternitatus, as God conceives them -- we think truly. {8}
  • There is no absolute free will: all we do or think we do or think of necessity. {9}
  • There is no absolute good or bad {10}
    • these terms are used relative to the endeavors & conceptions of various individuals 
    • sub specie aeternitatus all things are equally good & necessary {11}
  • The way to happiness is dispassionate acceptance of all the vicissitudes of life. {12}
    • amor fati
    • this comes with understanding thing sub specie aeternitatus
Duckrabbit: Illustrating Dual Aspectuality
duckrabbit: illustrating dual aspectuality: 
for every fact about duck's bill there will be a parallel fact 
concerning the rabbit's ears.
  1. (ii:P7) The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things.
  2. (ii:P10)  The being of substance does not pertain to the essence of man. 
  3. (ii:P13:Note.) [T]he things we have shown so far are completely general and do not pertain more to man than to other individuals, all of which, though in different degrees, are nevertheless animate. For of each thing there is necessarily an idea in God, or which God is the cause in the same way as he is of the idea of the human Body. And so, whatever we have said of the idea of the human Body must also be said of the idea of any thing.
  4. [A] body in motion keeps in motion, until it is determined to a state of rest by some other body; and a body at rest remains so until it is determined to a state of motion my some other body. (209)
  5. (iii:P5) Everything, in so far as it is in itself, endeavors to persist in its own being.
  6. (i:A6) A true idea must agree with its object.
  7. (ii:P16) The idea of every mode, in which the human body is affected by external bodies, must involve the nature of the human body, and also the nature of the external body. 
  8. (ii:P32) All ideas, in so far as they are referred to God, are true.
  9. (ii:P48): In the Mind there is no absolute, or free, will, but the Mind is determined to will this or that by a cause, which is also determined by another, and this again by another, and so to infinity.
  10. (iv:Preface) As for the terms good and bad, they indicate no positive quality in things regarded in themselves, but are merely modes of thinking, or notions which we form from the comparison of things with one another.  Thus one and the same thing can be at the same time good, bad, and indifferent.  For instance music is good for him that is melancholy, bad for him that mourns; for him that is deaf it it neither good nor bad. 
  11. (i:P33)  Things could be produced by God in no other way and in no other order than they have been produced.
  12. (ii:P49:note) We should await and endure fortune's smiles or frowns with an equal mind, seeing that all things follow from the eternal decree of God by the same necessity, as it follows from the essence of a triangle that the three angles are equal to two right angles.

next: Leibniz
Spinoza's Definitions of the Emotions (compiled by LH):
Online Edition of Spinoza's Ethics: