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Spinozism (also spelled Spinozaism) is the monist philosophical system of Baruch Spinoza that defines "God" as a singular self-subsistent Substance, with both matter and thought being attributes of such.
In a letter to Henry Oldenburg, Spinoza wrote: "as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken".For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world. According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote "Deus sive Natura" ("God or Nature") Spinoza meant God was Natura naturans not Natura naturata , that is, "a dynamic nature in action, growing and changing, not a passive or static thing."
Spinoza's metaphysics consists of one thing, Substance, and its modifications (modes). Early in The Ethics Spinoza argues that there is only one Substance, which is absolutely infinite, self-caused, and eternal. Substance causes an infinite number of attributes (the intellect perceiving an abstract concept or essence) and modes (things following from attributes and modes). He calls this Substance "God", or "Nature". In fact, he takes these two terms to be synonymous (in the Latin the phrase he uses is "Deus sive Natura"), but readers often disregard his neutral monism. During his time, this statement was seen as literally equating the existing world with God - for which he was accused of atheism. Spinoza asserted that the whole of the natural universe is made of one Substance – God or Nature – and its modifications (modes).
It cannot be overemphasized how the rest of Spinoza's philosophy, his philosophy of mind, epistemology, psychology, moral philosophy, political philosophy, and philosophy of religion – flows more or less directly from the metaphysical underpinnings in Part I of the Ethics.
One should, however, remember the neutral monist position. While the natural universe humans experience in the realm of mind and physical reality is part of God, it is only two attributes – thought and extension – that are part of infinite attributes emanating from God.
Spinoza's doctrine was considered radical at the time he published, and he was widely seen as the most infamous atheist-heretic of Europe. His philosophy was part of the philosophic debate in Europe during the Enlightenment, along with Cartesianism. Specifically, Spinoza disagreed with Descartes on substance duality, Descartes' views on the will and the intellect, and the subject of free will.
In Spinozism, the concept of a personal relationship with God comes from the position that one is a part of an infinite interdependent "organism." Spinoza argued that everything is a derivative of God, interconnected with all of existence. Although humans experience only thought and extension, what happens to one aspect of existence will affect others. Thus, Spinozism teaches a form of determinism and ecology, and uses these as a basis for morality.[ citation needed ]
Additionally, a core doctrine of Spinozism is that the universe is essentially deterministic. All that happens or will happen could not have unfolded in any other way. Spinoza claimed that the third kind of knowledge, intuition, is the highest kind. More specifically, he defined intuition as the ability of the human intellect to intuit knowledge based upon its accumulated understanding of the world.[ citation needed ]
Spinoza defines "Substance" as follows:
By substance I understand what is in itself and is conceived through itself, i.e., that whose concept does not require the concept of another thing, from which it must be formed. (E1D3)
This means, essentially, that Substance is just whatever can be thought of without relating it to any other idea or thing. For example, if one thinks of a particular object, one thinks of it as a kind of thing, e.g., x is a cat. Substance, on the other hand, is to be conceived of by itself, without understanding it as a particular kind of thing, because it is not a particular thing.
Spinoza defines "attribute" as follows:
By attribute I understand what the intellect perceives of a substance, as constituting its essence. (E1D4)
From this it can be seen that Attributes are related to Substance. It is not clear, however, even from Spinoza's direct definition, whether, a) Attributes are really the way(s) Substance is, or b) Attributes are simply ways to understand Substance, but not necessarily the ways it really is. Spinoza thinks that there are an infinite number of Attributes, but there are two Attributes for which Spinoza thinks we can have knowledge. Namely, thought and extension.
The attribute of thought is how Substance can be understood to be composed of thoughts, i.e., thinking things. When we understand a particular thing through the Attribute of thought, we are understanding the mode as an idea of something (either another idea, or an object).
The Attribute of extension is how Substance can be understood to be physically extended in space. Particular things that occupy space are what is meant by extended. It follows from this that if Substance and God are identical, in Spinoza's view, and contrary to the traditional conception, God has extension as one of his Attributes.
Modes are particular modifications of substance, i.e., particular things in the world. Spinoza gives the following definition:
By mode I understand the affections of a substance, or that which is in another through which it is also conceived. (E1D5)
The argument for there only being one Substance (or, more colloquially, one kind of stuff) in the universe occurs in the first fourteen propositions of The Ethics. The following proposition expresses Spinoza's commitment to substance monism:
Except God, no substance can be or be conceived. (E1P14)
Spinoza takes this proposition to follow directly from everything he says prior to it. Spinoza's monism is contrasted with Descartes' dualism and Leibniz's pluralism. Thus, Spinoza avoids the unsolvable problem of how mind and body interact, which troubled Descartes in his Meditations on First Philosophy. Specifically, how can immaterial mind interface with material body, and vice-versa? They exist in wholly different categories.
The issue of causality and modality (possibility and necessity) in Spinoza's philosophy is contentious.Spinoza's philosophy is, in one sense, thoroughly deterministic (or necessitarian). This can be seen directly from Axiom 3 of The Ethics:
From a given determinate cause the effect follows necessarily; and conversely, if there is no determinate cause, it is impossible for an effect to follow. (E1A3)
Yet Spinoza seems to make room for a kind of freedom, especially in the fifth and final section of The Ethics, "On the Power of the Intellect, or on Human Freedom":
I pass now to the remaining Part of the Ethics, which concerns the means or way to Freedom. Here, then, I shall treat of the power of reason, showing what it can do against the affects, and what Freedom of Mind, or blessedness, is. (E5, Preface)
So Spinoza certainly has a use for the word 'freedom', but he equates "Freedom of Mind" with "blessedness", a notion which is not traditionally associated with freedom of the will at all.
Though the PSR is most commonly associated with Gottfried Leibniz, it is arguably found in its strongest form in Spinoza's philosophy.Within the context of Spinoza's philosophical system, the PSR can be understood to unify causation and explanation. What this means is that for Spinoza, questions regarding the reason why a given phenomenon is the way it is (or exists) are always answerable, and are always answerable in terms of the relevant cause(s). This constitutes a rejection of teleological, or final causation, except possibly in a more restricted sense for human beings. Given this, Spinoza's views regarding causality and modality begin to make much more sense.
Spinoza's philosophy contains as a key proposition the notion that mental and physical (thought and extension) phenomena occur in parallel, but without causal interaction between them. He expresses this proposition as follows:
The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things. (E2P7)
His proof of this proposition is that:
The knowledge of an effect depends on, and involves, the knowledge of its cause. (E1A4)
The reason Spinoza thinks parallelism follows from this axiom is that, since the idea we have of each thing requires knowledge of its cause, such a cause must be understood under the same attribute. Further, there is only one substance, so whenever we understand some chain of ideas concerning things, we understand that the way the ideas are causally related must be the same as the way the things themselves are related, since the ideas and the things are both God's modes, but pertain to different attributes.
In 1785, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi published a condemnation of Spinoza's pantheism, after Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was thought to have confessed on his deathbed to being a "Spinozist", which was the equivalent in his time of being called a heretic. Jacobi claimed that Spinoza's doctrine was pure materialism, because all Nature and God are said to be nothing but extended substance. This, for Jacobi, was the result of Enlightenment rationalism and it would finally end in absolute atheism. Moses Mendelssohn disagreed with Jacobi, saying that there is no actual difference between theism and pantheism. The entire issue became a major intellectual and religious concern for European civilization at the time, which Immanuel Kant rejected, as he thought that attempts to conceive of transcendent reality would lead to antinomies (statements that could be proven both right and wrong) in thought.
The attraction of Spinoza's philosophy to late eighteenth-century Europeans was that it provided an alternative to materialism, atheism, and deism. Three of Spinoza's ideas strongly appealed to them:
Spinoza's "God or Nature" [Deus sive Natura] provided a living, natural God, in contrast to the Newtonian mechanical "First Cause" or the dead mechanism of the French "Man Machine." Coleridge and Shelley saw in Spinoza's philosophy a religion of natureand called him the "God-intoxicated Man." Spinoza inspired the poet Shelley to write his essay "The Necessity of Atheism."
Spinoza was considered to be an atheist because he used the word "God" [Deus] to signify a concept that was different from that of traditional Judeo–Christian monotheism. "Spinoza expressly denies personality and consciousness to God; he has neither intelligence, feeling, nor will; he does not act according to purpose, but everything follows necessarily from his nature, according to law...."Thus, Spinoza's cool, indifferent God differs from the concept of an anthropomorphic, fatherly God who cares about humanity.
German philosopher Karl Jaspers believed that Spinoza, in his philosophical system, did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God's transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God's immanence.Even God under the attributes of thought and extension cannot be identified strictly with our world. That world is of course "divisible"; it has parts. But Spinoza insists that "no attribute of a substance can be truly conceived from which it follows that the substance can be divided" (Which means that one cannot conceive an attribute in a way that leads to division of substance), and that "a substance which is absolutely infinite is indivisible" (Ethics, Part I, Propositions 12 and 13). Following this logic, our world should be considered as a mode under two attributes of thought and extension. Therefore, the pantheist formula "One and All" would apply to Spinoza only if the "One" preserves its transcendence and the "All" were not interpreted as the totality of finite things.
French philosopher Martial Guéroult suggested the term "panentheism", rather than "pantheism" to describe Spinoza's view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, "in" God. Not only do finite things have God as their cause; they cannot be conceived without God.In other words, the world is a subset of God. American philosopher Charles Hartshorne, on the other hand, suggested the term "Classical Pantheism" to describe Spinoza's philosophy.
Speculative realism, a movement in post-continental philosophy, is highly indebted to spinozaist metaphysics.
Similarities between Spinoza's philosophy and Eastern philosophical traditions have been discussed by many authorities. The 19th-century German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstücker was one of the early figures to notice the similarities between Spinoza's religious conceptions and the Vedanta tradition of India, writing that Spinoza's thought was "... a western system of philosophy which occupies a foremost rank amongst the philosophies of all nations and ages, and which is so exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus, did his biography not satisfy us that he was wholly unacquainted with their doctrines... We mean the philosophy of Spinoza, a man whose very life is a picture of that moral purity and intellectual indifference to the transitory charms of this world, which is the constant longing of the true Vedanta philosopher... comparing the fundamental ideas of both we should have no difficulty in proving that, had Spinoza been a Hindu, his system would in all probability mark a last phase of the Vedanta philosophy."
It has been said that Spinozism is similar to the Hindu doctrines of Samkhya and Yoga. Though within the various existing Indian traditions there exist many traditions which astonishingly had such similar doctrines from ages, out of which most similar and well known are the Kashmiri Shaivism and Nath tradition, apart from already existing Samkhya and Yoga.
Max Muller, in his lectures, noted the striking similarities between Vedanta and the system of Spinoza, saying "the Brahman, as conceived in the Upanishads and defined by Sankara, is clearly the same as Spinoza's 'Substantia'." – natura naturans – conceived in his attributes simply and alone; and the same Deity – as natura naturata or as conceived in the endless series of modifications or correlations, the direct outflowing results from the properties of these attributes, it is the Vedantic Deity pure and simple."Helena Blavatsky, a founder of the Theosophical Society also compared Spinoza's religious thought to Vedanta, writing in an unfinished essay "As to Spinoza's Deity
Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin. One of the early thinkers of the Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. Inspired by the groundbreaking ideas of René Descartes, Spinoza became a leading philosophical figure of the Dutch Golden Age. Spinoza's given name, which means "Blessed", varies among different languages. In Hebrew, it is written ברוך שפינוזה. His Portuguese name is Benedito "Bento" de Espinosa or d'Espinosa. In his Latin works, he used Latin: Benedictus de Spinoza.
Gilles Deleuze was a French philosopher who, from the early 1950s until his death in 1995, wrote on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), both co-written with psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. His metaphysical treatise Difference and Repetition (1968) is considered by many scholars to be his magnum opus. An important part of Deleuze's oeuvre is devoted to the reading of other philosophers: the Stoics, Leibniz, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, and Bergson, with particular influence derived from Spinoza. A. W. Moore, citing Bernard Williams's criteria for a great thinker, ranks Deleuze among the "greatest philosophers". Although he once characterized himself as a "pure metaphysician", his work has influenced a variety of disciplines across the humanities, including philosophy, art, and literary theory, as well as movements such as post-structuralism and postmodernism.
Monism attributes oneness or singleness to a concept e.g., existence. Various kinds of monism can be distinguished:
Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity, or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, transcendent god. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal god, anthropomorphic or otherwise, and instead characterizes a broad range of doctrines differing in forms of relationships between reality and divinity. Pantheistic concepts date back thousands of years, and pantheistic elements have been identified in various religious traditions. The term pantheism was coined by mathematician Joseph Raphson in 1697 and has since been used to describe the beliefs of a variety of people and organizations.
Panentheism is the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond space and time. The term was coined by the German philosopher Karl Krause in 1828 to distinguish the ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775–1854) about the relation of God and the universe from the supposed pantheism of Baruch Spinoza. Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical, panentheism maintains an ontological distinction between the divine and the non-divine and the significance of both.
In philosophy, rationalism is the epistemological view that "regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge" or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification". More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive".
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi was an influential German philosopher, literary figure, and socialite.
German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with Romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment. The best-known thinkers in the movement, besides Kant, were Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and the proponents of Jena Romanticism. August Ludwig Hülsen, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Gottlob Ernst Schulze, Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Salomon Maimon, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Arthur Schopenhauer also made major contributions.
Classical Pantheism, as defined by Charles Hartshorne in 1953, is the theological deterministic philosophies of pantheists such as Baruch Spinoza and the Stoics. Hartshorne sought to distinguish panentheism, which rejects determinism, from deterministic pantheism.
Naturalistic pantheism, also known as scientific pantheism, is a form of pantheism. It has been used in various ways such as to relate God or divinity with concrete things, determinism, or the substance of the Universe. God, from these perspectives, is seen as the aggregate of all unified natural phenomena. The phrase has often been associated with the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza, although academics differ on how it is used.
Acosmism, in contrast to pantheism, denies the reality of the universe, seeing it as ultimately illusory, and only the infinite unmanifest Absolute as real. Conceptual versions of Acosmism are found in eastern and western philosophies.
Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order, usually known as the Ethics, is a philosophical treatise written in Latin by Benedict de Spinoza. It was written between 1661 and 1675 and was first published posthumously in 1677.
For the philosophy of mind, psychophysical parallelism is the theory that mental and bodily events are perfectly coordinated, without any causal interaction between them. As such, it affirms the correlation of mental and bodily events, but denies a direct cause and effect relation between mind and body. This coordination of mental and bodily events has been postulated to occur either in advance by means of God or at the time of the event or, finally, according to Baruch Spinoza's Ethics, mind and matter are two of infinite attributes of the only Substance-God, which go as one without interacting with each other. On this view, mental and bodily phenomena are independent yet inseparable, like two sides of a coin.
Natura naturans is a Latin tag coined during the Middle Ages, meaning "Nature naturing", or more loosely, "nature doing what nature does". The Latin, naturans, is the present active participle of naturo, indicated by the suffix "-ans" which is akin to the English suffix "-ing". Naturata is the perfect passive participle. These terms are most commonly associated with the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. For Spinoza, natura naturans refers to the self-causing activity of nature, while natura naturata, meaning "nature natured", refers to nature considered as a passive product of an infinite causal chain. Samuel Taylor Coleridge defined it as "Nature in the active sense" as opposed to natura naturata.
Natura naturata is a Latin term coined in the Middle Ages, mainly used later by Baruch Spinoza meaning "Nature natured", or "Nature already created". The term adds the suffix for the Latin feminine past participle (-ata) to the verb naturo, to create "natured". The term describes a passive God, or more specifically, the passivity of God (substance) when it is predicated into modes, and is contrasted with the second part of Spinoza's dichotomy, natura naturans, meaning "nature naturing", or "nature in the active sense".
The trademark argument is an a priori argument for the existence of God developed by French philosopher and mathematician, René Descartes.
Spinoza: Practical Philosophy is a book by the philosopher Gilles Deleuze, in which the author examines Baruch Spinoza's philosophy, discussing Ethics (1677) and other works such as the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), providing a lengthy chapter defining Spinoza's main concepts in dictionary form. Deleuze relates Spinoza's ethical philosophy to the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Willem van Blijenbergh, a grain broker who corresponded with Spinoza in the first half of 1665 and questioned the ethics of his concept of evil. The work has received praise from commentators.
The pantheism controversy was an event in German cultural history that lasted between 1785–1789 which had an effect throughout Europe.
Spinoza's philosophy encompasses nearly every area of philosophical discourse, including metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. It earned Spinoza an enduring reputation as one of the most important and original thinkers of the seventeenth century.
Spinoza is a book about Baruch Spinoza by the English philosopher Stuart Hampshire, in which the author introduces Spinoza's philosophy, comparing Spinoza's views to those of other philosophers such as René Descartes and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, as well as to those of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. Spinoza has become a classic work about Spinoza and has received praise from philosophers. However, Hampshire's comparisons between Spinoza and Freud have been criticized for ignoring important differences between the two. In 2005, Spinoza, along with Hampshire's other writings on the philosopher, was incorporated into a single volume, published as Spinoza and Spinozism, which received negative reviews.