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Re:to Mark/human_essence

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  • hans19682000
    Mark, Sorry, for the delay. ... humans--ought to be last? I have difficulties with applying numerical order to processes where immanent causality takes place.
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 4, 2004
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      Mark,

      Sorry, for the delay.

      You wrote:
      >From what I can tell, that which you have put first-->the essence of
      humans--ought to be last?

      I have difficulties with applying numerical order to processes where
      immanent causality takes place.
      But of course it is not easy to respond to the question of how the
      specific essence of humans evolves from God's power, and how we pass
      over to concrete existence.

      First, again your quote from the Political Treatise:

      >"In our Theological-Political Treatise we have >treated of natural
      and civil right, and in our Ethics >have explained the nature of
      wrong-doing, merit, >justice, injustice, and lastly of human liberty.
      Yet, >lest the readers of the present treatise should have >to seek
      elsewhere those points, which especially >concern it, I have to
      determined to explain them >here again, and give a deductive proof of
      them.
      >Any natural thing whatsoever can be just as well >conceived, whether
      it exists or does not exist. As >then the beginning of the existence
      of natural >things cannot be inferred from their definition, so
      >neither can their continuing to exist. For their ideal >essence is
      the same, after they have begun to >exist, as it was before they
      existed. As then their >beginning to exist cannot be inferred from
      their >essence, so neither can their continuing to exist; but >they
      need the same power to enable them to >go on existing, as to enable
      them to begin to exist. >From which it follows, that the power by
      which >natural things exist, and therefore by which they >operate,
      can be no other than the eternal power of >God itself. For were it
      another and a created power, >it could not preserve itself, much less
      natural things, >but would itself, in order to continue to exist,
      have >need of the same power which it needed to be >created."

      In the case of particular things essence and existence have nothing
      in common. The essence of a particular thing does not involve
      existence. Nevertheless there is "something positive" (E1P26proof) in
      them that results from the power of God and this "positive something"
      is itself eternal. There is an eternal essence (the modified power of
      God) that belongs to particular things and it is because of this
      essence that they operate/act.
      In spite of the eternal character of this essence
      (since it is part of the power of God) it operates within time and
      duration, i.e. existence.
      This eternal essence is of course what we know under the name of
      "conatus".

      The problem with Spinoza's logic is always the same: How do we think
      the "relation" between, Substance and its modes, the infinite and the
      finite, the eternal essence of a thing and its existence in
      time/duration, between the power of God and the power of a particular
      thing.

      Of course it would now be necessary to give an account of the
      notional development of natura naturans/naturata, infinite/finite
      modes ... but in the end it remains always the question how we pass
      over from the infinite, the eternal to the finite and ephemeral -
      especially since there is no such passage in the first place. We have
      to grasp immediately (or concretely) what is eternal in the
      particular thing (adequate knowledge) to get an adequate
      understanding of its timely relations, as well.

      We are here dealing with a logic proper to Spinoza which we can only
      accept. This logic belongs to the basics of his philosophy. If we
      don't accept it we leave his kind of thought. The key word here is
      immanent causality. In this kind of causality were are
      beyond linear causality, so that there is no "first" and "last", but
      a concrete understanding of the simultaneity of what is
      ontologically (and not chronologically or linearly) "graded", i.e.
      substance and its affections (particular things).

      This is how I conceive the following quote from the PT

      PT 2/3======
      the natural power of every natural thing,
      whereby it exists and operates, is nothing else but the power of God
      ===========

      From here we pass over to human nature. But in Elwe's translation
      this passage is difficult to see.

      First, I suggest my version following my German
      translation:

      PT2/5=======
      But men are more led by blind desire, than by reason: and therefore
      the natural power or right of human beings should be _defined_, not
      by reason, but by every appetite, whereby they are determined to
      action, or seek their own preservation.
      ============

      In Elwe's version this __definition__ of man is a
      limitation. The same passages reads:

      ==========
      But men are more led by blind desire, than by reason: and therefore
      the natural power or right of human beings should be _limited_, not
      by reason,
      but by every appetite, whereby they are determined to action, or seek
      their own preservation.
      =========

      In Elwe's version the natural power of men is limited by the "power"
      whereby they seek their own preservation (i.e. appetite). From my
      point of view this is nonsense. He translates the Latin infinitive
      passive "definiri" as "to be limited". But the second paragraph of
      the PT raised the question of the definition ("definitio") of man.

      ======
      the existence of natural things cannot be inferred from their
      definition (Elwes)
      ========

      So, his translation seems inconsistent to me.

      Let's take a glimpse into the "Ethics"

      E3P9note==========
      This endeavour [conatus, hans], when referred solely to the mind, is
      called will, when referred to the mind and body in conjunction it is
      called appetite; it is, in fact, nothing else but man's essence, from
      the nature of which necessarily follow all those results which tend
      to its preservation; and which man has thus been determined to
      perform.
      =====================

      and

      E3Aff.D1========
      I. Desire is the actual essence of man, in so far as it is
      conceived, as determined to a particular activity by some given
      modification of itself.
      ================

      Between E3P9note and E3AffD1 there has been a full development of an
      anthropological theory. This is what allows us to take these formulas
      as real definitions of the essence of human beings, i.e. a definition
      of the thing in itself and not only as a nominal definition (how
      people/we conceive/call it) of appetite/desire.

      Again, we cannot have an adequate understanding of humans, society
      and ourselves without this definition. Concerned with human affairs
      this definition is rather where we start from than where we arrive.
      But perhaps we should avoid such linear conceptions. The "way" of
      liberation is the "ex-pli-cation", "ex-pression", the becoming
      immanent of this very appetite/desire.

      best wishes
      hans
    • SunHunter9@aol.com
      ... the relation between, Substance and its modes, the infinite and the finite, the eternal essence of a thing and its existence in time/duration, between
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 4, 2004
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        Hans wrote:

        >>The problem with Spinoza's logic is always the same: How do we think
        the "relation" between, Substance and its modes, the infinite and the
        finite, the eternal essence of a thing and its existence in
        time/duration, between the power of God and the power of a particular
        thing.<<

        By the third kind of knowledge, we refer the modification of the body to the idea of God.

        I say this in part because it is true, and in part because, while I am having difficulty with my machines, I wanted to respond in writing to this post. To me, the post is a proof of Hans' valuation of what he claims to value, because it shows such care with regard to what he is sharing here in our list communitiy.

        As an example of slow reading, this post gives me a standard to shoot for. I have put it aside for further reflection.
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