language's problem to quincy
- Hello, Quincy
I'm sorry for so big delay. I've been very busy, but this doesn't mean that I'm not interesting in a discussion. I'm sorry for the erros in my english too. I won't can revise them now.
You ask me about details of the "theory of the language". What can I say concisely? The basic problem is that Spinoza said in the second part of his Ethics (and also in the Intelectus Ementadione) that the first kind of knowledge, the imagination, includes the knowledge for vague experience and the knowledge for signs. Well, we know that the first kind of knowledge is "the only cause of falsity" and that it expresses always inadequate ideas.
In several moments, along all his work, he says that is very important distinguish ideas, words and images.
The question is: although he had said that, he just cannot be saying that. It is absolutely necessary that he is meaning that there is a certain use of words that isn't first kind of knowledge. Words must express, at least in some ocasions (for example when he is writing his "Ethics"), the true knowledge, the true philosophy. In this case, they cannot be simple inadequate signs, but a real representation of the world and the thought.
My research is to present how it is possible, how can the signs leave their false origin and dispose themselves by the order of intelect.
The first point is: inadequation is not still falsity. Is totaly possible, and Spinoza often says this, that a imagination, although inadequate, doen'st bring with it falsity. In this case, I mean, it has a neutral truth value.
The second point is to present the crossing toward the second kind of knowledge.
Of course it is very very resumed. I can explain more detaily if you want and I will be very grateful if you or someone else has something or some indication that I could use.
Answering your question, my academic area of study is philosphy, but I love languages, literature and music too. And you?
I'm sorry for this question, but once english is not my native language, my "ears" don't know if "Quincy" is a masculine or female name. Where do you write from?
Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 09, 2004 3:32 PM
Subject: [spinoza-ethics] Re: Hi
Gabriel, i'd be pleased to help you in your research and to 'exchange'
ideas (and help with your written english as needed ;-)
you can start by describing the details of this 'theory of the
language' in order to fuel the discussion. also, your area of study
(filosofia, lenguas, linguistics) may be helpful to know.
i have just finished reading Book 1 in detail, and am beginning Book
2. i would very much like your input.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Gabriel Leitão
> Hi, people!
> My name is Gabriel and I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
> How you will can see, I think my english is not very good, but I
can read very well.
> I have a research about Spinoza's Ethics in the Universidade do
Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). My research is about the second part
of the Ethics, about a certain "theory of the language", that isn't
expressed, but that have to exist there.
> I don't know who exactly are you, what do you do, where do you
live. I'd like know others people around the world that are
interesting in Spinozas's thought. Maybe we can change many ideas.
> You can write to me here in the list, or privately, if you
prefer. I can read english, german, french, spanish and, of course,
> thank you very much
> Gabriel Leitão
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Hello to all,
I just recently finished a tract entitled "On Form and Desire: An
Epistemological Excursion," which some of you may find relevant and of
You can download it from my website at:
Or the text itself at
I have to think it is somewhat a work-in-progress so I respectfully welcome corrections and suggestions.
William Thomas Sherman
1604 Nw 70th St.
Seattle, WA 98117
Home Page: http://www.angelfire.com/d20/htfh
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- I think what I'm thinking and writing about in web groups is this and it
has to do with the subject, I think ;)
I've pondered my unique experience. I've never studied ETHICS with any
one like myself. I read ETHICS first, then TPT. In the first ETHICS
group about 10 years ago, I was annoyed because they kept on bringing up
TPT, which they had previously studied, and let Spinoza's true
personality be that of TPT. The second time, we read TPT together then
ETHICS. The same results. It actually hurt my brain. Even though the
translator of TPT in his intro felt it necessary to give a review of
ETHICS. These were very educated folks. I will add that both events
were within the Jewish community, Jewish Community Center and a Reform
Now take the Abrahamic Faith. I've studied and keyword searched with
appropriate software all 4, O.T. A. N.T. Q. As a result of participating
in Talmud Torah and the Yahoo group Ancient Bible History and following
David Rohl, I find that I prefer to begin the Abrahamic Faith Bible
(library) with Deuteronomy. Just like my Spinoza experience, this hurts
I also have a familiarity with Hebrew. One word in Hebrew requires a
phrase in English which means the introduction of spaces. Don't you
think the fact that Spinoza wrote a very popular (in his time) Hebrew
grammar would be significant? In fact, I would just love to get a
translation into English of his Hebrew grammar book. Maybe someone will
do this for a Ph.D.
> 1. language's problem to quincy
> From: Gabriel Leitão <gabrielgrupos@...>
Ethel Jean Saltz, be-emet oo-ve-ahavah oo-ve-shalom
I will NOT submit, MMMMMR;) Jews Created God
Let's discuss the afterlife
- Hello, Gabriel and All,
>...This question of words and images involving the first kind of knowledge
> In several moments, along all his work, he says that is very important
> distinguish ideas, words and images.
> The question is: although he had said that, he just cannot be saying
> It is absolutely necessary that he is meaning that there is a certain
> use of words that isn't first kind of knowledge. Words must express,
> at least in some ocasions (for example when he is writing his "Ethics"),
> the true knowledge, the true philosophy. In this case, they cannot be
> simple inadequate signs, but a real representation of the world and
> the thought.
and how they might relate to the second or even third kinds of knowledge as
Spinoza defines them leads me to look at just how Spinoza does define the
various kinds of knowledge:
======== E2: PROP. 40, Note 2:
--From all that has been said above it is clear, that we, in many cases,
perceive and form our general notions:--
[First Kind, Imagination:]
From particular things represented to our intellect fragmentarily,
confusedly, and without order through our senses (E2P29C); I have settled to
call such perceptions by the name of knowledge from the mere suggestions of
From symbols, e.g., from the fact of having read or heard certain words we
remember things and form certain ideas concerning them, similar to those
through which we imagine things (E2P18N). I shall call both these ways of
regarding things knowledge of the first kind, opinion, or imagination.
[Second Kind, Reason:]
From the fact that we have notions common to all men, and adequate ideas of
the properties of things (E2P38C, E2P39, E2P39C, and E2P40); this I call
reason and knowledge of the second kind.
[Third Kind, Intuition:]
Besides these two kinds of knowledge, there is, as I will hereafter show, a
third kind of knowledge, which we will call intuition. This kind of
knowledge proceeds from an adequate idea of the absolute essence of certain
attributes of God to the adequate knowledge of the essence of things.
[An Illustration of all three kinds:]
I will illustrate all three kinds of knowledge by a single example. Three
numbers are given for finding a fourth, which shall be to the third as the
second is to the first. Tradesmen without hesitation multiply the second by
the third, and divide the product by the first; either because they have not
forgotten the rule which they received from a master without any proof, or
because they have often made trial of it with simple numbers, or by virtue
of the proof of the nineteenth proposition of the seventh book of Euclid,
namely, in virtue of the general property of proportionals.
But with very simple numbers there is no need of this. For instance, one,
two, three, being given, everyone can see that the fourth proportional is
six; and this is much clearer, because we infer the fourth number from an
intuitive grasping of the ratio, which the first bears to the second.
In the example is he not saying that tradesmen may know how to get the
correct answer, without necessarily understanding why it is correct, by
using the first kind of knowledge to repeat a series of steps (the rule)
which they have received from someone else and that they are able to do so
either because they remember the rule as a series of words which are
associated with the manipulations of the given numbers or because they have
made trial as to how they might manipulate the numbers for a simple case
where they already know the answer and thereby reconstruct the rule in order
that they may apply it to the case at hand? I just now did something like
this myself where I remembered the words "The product of the means equals
the product of the extremes" and then I took a known case and saw that I
could derive the rule for finding the unknown. For example 1:2 as 3:6. Here
I can see that if I multiply 2x3 (named the "means", if memory recalls) and
1x6 (the "extremes") the results are equal and that further, if any one
number is not know it can be found by dividing the known product, by the
known multiplier of the unknown number. So by having remembered the words
representing one fact, and applying it to a known example, I have
reconstructed the rule which I can now apply to any similar problem of
proportionals at hand. Still, I do not necessarily understand why this
In this case I knew the answer to the given problem because the motion
and rest of my senses had previously impressed on my brain the sound and/or
sight of the words (that is, I heard or read these symbols) --"The product
of the means equals the product of the extremes"-- and, having been
previously presented with each of the words ("means", "extremes", "product",
etc.) and some associated images, I knew (also by the first kind of
knowledge) how to arrive at the product of two numbers and how to then
divide that by another number and arrive at the answer. Spinoza says of this
kind of knowledge in the TEI: "In the same way I know that a dog is a
barking animal, man a rational animal, and in fact nearly all the practical
knowledge of life." But I suspect that most of us, even when we read
Spinoza's writings, more often just assume that we are using the second kind
of knowledge. I think we would all agree however that a person may read over
and over the Ethics to the point that they can repeat it back word for word
and even answer simple questions and yet that is no guarantee that they will
have any Understanding of what they have read.
Now, what about the second kind of knowledge? Spinoza says of it "From
the fact that we have notions common to all men, and adequate ideas of the
properties of things (E2P38C, E2P39, E2P39C, and E2P40)" Look at the earlier
propositions he refers to:
E2: PROP. 38. Those things, which are common to all, and which are equally
in a part and in the whole, cannot be conceived except adequately.
E2: PROP. 38, Corollary.--Hence it follows that there are certain ideas or
notions common to all men.
E2: PROP. 39. That, which is common to and a property of the human body and
such other bodies as are wont to affect the human body, and which is present
equally in each part of either, or in the whole, will be represented by an
adequate idea in the mind.
E2: PROP. 39, Corollary.--Hence it follows that the mind is fitted to
perceive adequately more things, in proportion as its body has more in
common with other bodies.
E2: PROP 40. Whatsoever ideas in the mind follow from ideas which are
therein adequate, are also themselves adequate.
What are these "notions common to all men" and which themselves can only
be conceived adequately? They are NOT "general notions" as illustrated in
the first note to Prop. 40 such as "man", "horse", "dog", etc. and of which
Spinoza says; "We must, however, bear in mind, that these general notions
are not formed by all men in the same way, but vary in each individual
according as the point varies, whereby the body has been most often affected
and which the mind most easily imagines or remembers." Motion and rest are,
for example, such properties which Spinoza identifies as common to all
bodies and which "cannot be conceived except adequately" however, we have to
be careful not to confuse some particular imagination/memory of ours
involving motion and rest (such as looking out the window at people walking
by) with the adequate Idea of motion and rest. He said earlier in writing
about memory (E2P18N): "... I say, secondly, that this association arises
according to the order and association of the modifications of the human
body, in order to distinguish it from that association of ideas, which
arises from the order of the intellect, whereby the mind perceives things
through their primary causes, and which is in all men the same." These
notions common to all men and which are conceived adequately are in all men
the same while the particular imagination/memory of each man differs one
In the example Spinoza used in Note 2 to Prop. 40 above to illustrate
each of the three kinds of knowledge he referred to "the proof of the
nineteenth proposition of the seventh book of Euclid" and it seems clear to
me that he meant this to represent the second kind of knowledge. Notice that
he refers to the PROOF of this proposition, not the statement of the
proposition itself. I remembered the statement (well, a form of the
statement) as "The product of the means equals..." It is stated more closely
to the original as; "If four numbers are proportional, then the number
produced from the first and fourth equals the number produced from the
second and third; and, if the number produced from the first and fourth
equals that produced from the second and third, then the four numbers are
proportional." Here is one place you can examine this proposition and its
proof (a great site by the way!):
Just as in "The Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order", to follow the
proofs of the propositions in Euclid we are referred back to some earlier
propositions and their proofs, which we've already examined, and so on to
other elements clear back to the definitions and axioms and we will find
that all of these propositions rest on and follow from "notions common to
all men" and which notions "cannot be conceived except adequately." Now
again, one could just remember the statement (words) of the nineteenth
proposition of the seventh book of Euclid and, by the first kind of
knowledge, without any understanding, arrive at the answer when confronted
with a problem involving an unknown number in a proportional relation.
Do you now see the distinction Spinoza points to between words, images,
We might also consider:
======= E2: PROP. 44, Corollary 2:
--It is in the nature of reason to perceive things under a certain form of
eternity (sub quadam aeternitatis specie).
Proof.--It is in the nature of reason to regard things, not as contingent,
but as necessary (E2P44). Reason perceives this necessity of things (E2P41)
truly--that is (E1A6), as it is in itself. But (E1P16) this necessity of
things is the very necessity of the eternal nature of God; therefore, it is
in the nature of reason to regard things under this form of eternity. We may
add that the bases of reason are the notions (E2P38), which answer to things
common to all, and which (E2P37) do not answer to the essence of any
particular thing: which must therefore be conceived without any relation to
time, under a certain form of eternity.
Adequate Ideas do not depend, as words and images do, on some particular
arrangement of the modifications of our particular body.
- Hi Ethel,
>...I don't see that a study of Hebrew grammar would help anyone understand
> I also have a familiarity with Hebrew. One word in Hebrew requires a
> phrase in English which means the introduction of spaces. Don't you
> think the fact that Spinoza wrote a very popular (in his time) Hebrew
> grammar would be significant? In fact, I would just love to get a
> translation into English of his Hebrew grammar book. Maybe someone will
> do this for a Ph.D.
Spinoza's Ethics though it might help them follow what he wrote in the TPT.
Of course Spinoza said that he wrote the TPT to help those Philosophers
"...whose philosophy is hampered by the belief that Reason is a mere
handmaid to Theology, and whom I seek in this work especially to benefit."
Anyway, Spinoza's "Hebrew Grammar" has been translated into English by
Maurice J. Bloom and published by the Philosophical Library, 1964. This
translation is also included in:
"Spinoza - Complete Works"
Translations by Samuel Shirley
[except for "The Short Treatise" (A. Wolf) and "Hebrew Grammar" (M.J. Bloom,
as noted above) both of which are also included.]
Hackett Publishing Company, Inc -(c)2002