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\"Explain\"

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  • Arthur David Smith
    Does anyone know if there is a precedent for Spinoza s use of the term explain in such contexts as: The divine attributes explain God s eternal essence
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 2, 2005
      Does anyone know if there is a precedent for Spinoza\'s use of the
      term \"explain\" in such contexts as:
      The divine attributes explain God\'s eternal essence (IP20).
      God in so far as he is explained through the nature of the human mind.

      Happy New Year to everyone,

      David Smith
    • hans19682000
      Sunhunter wrote (12/29/04) ... E3P27====== By the very fact that we conceive a thing, which is like ourselves, and which we have not regarded with any emotion,
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 4, 2005
        Sunhunter wrote (12/29/04)
        >I find there is ample
        >opportunity for self-observation of these phenomena, and what
        >causes
        >them.


        E3P27======
        By the very fact that we conceive a thing, which is like ourselves,
        and which we have not regarded with any emotion, to be affected with
        any emotion, we are ourselves affected with a like emotion (affectus).
        =============

        We have to keep in mind that humanity for Spinoza is not an universal
        abstract notion or property but a __process_of_becoming_alike__.
        There is no "humanity" as such. Humanity is always still to discover
        and to realize. We realize the "likeness of others" only by degrees
        and it is a question of our capacity to think and to act in order to
        increase this likeness between "us" and "them". "Humanity" is a
        notion torn between the poles of activity/passivity. Firstworldism
        consists precisely in a passive perception of humans who live in a
        different "third world". They are "like ourselves" but to a lesser
        degree. Spontaneously "we" are more human than "they". But this is
        not only a mode of perception. It is at the same time a structure of
        feeling and a structure shaped by the economy, politics and military
        confrontations - and a perception shaped by the media. This is why we
        have to work through our own restricted humanity - restricted by our
        own limited perception.

        There are still large holes in our perception (and for the most time
        it is rather a passive perception literally through the media and not
        an active conception) of humanity, especially in our perception of
        the humanity of "the others" in poorer regions.

        After 9/11 European politicians declared "We are all Americans!". And
        despite a certain anti-Americanism among Europeans this feeling of
        solidarity and common grief was very popular and true. This
        solidarity ended abruptly when the military aggression towards
        Afghanistan and Iraq began. The work of mourning - which is in fact
        an active emotion - was abolished when G.W.Bush announced that
        grieving has to be finished and that the time for resolute action had
        come to take the place of grief (NYT, 9/21/2001). We find here a very
        significant example of an "resolute action" that is in fact nothing
        but the passive attitude of rage, an acting out, an incapacity to
        think, to mourn, to act truly.

        Catastrophes like 9/11 or the tsunami-catastrophe in Asia should make
        us mourn actively, i.e. to increase our capacity to think and to act,
        to expand our compassion beyond the present moment, to discover the
        radical different ways in which human physical vulnerability is
        distributed across the globe. The fact that local people and tourists
        are equally found among the victims of this catastrophe should be a
        beginning to rethink which catastrophes take place each day on a low
        and "normal" scale. How many lives are lost as non-countables, face-
        less others? Humans, yes, we admit it, but to a very low degree,
        almost under the threshold of our perception. - humans lost because
        of economic structures, "war on terrorism", diseases that could
        easily be healed, etc.

        "If 200,000 Iraqi children were killed during the Gulf War and its
        aftermath, do we have an image, a frame for any of those lives,
        singly or collectively? Is there a story we might find about those
        deaths in the media? Are there names attached to those children?"
        (Judith Butler, Precarious Life)

        We have to look for a conception of "imitation of emotions" that is
        active, that furnishes a sense of political community of a complex,
        multilateral order, and it does this first of all by bringing to the
        fore the relational ties that have implications for theorizing
        fundamental dependency and ethical responsibility - a responsibility
        not only for immediate action but for producing more egalitarian
        global conditions for equality, sovereignty, and the egalitarian
        redistribution of resources, as well.
      • sunhunter
        ================================================ Spinoza Political Treatise, Intro 5. For this is certain, and we have proved its truth in our Ethics, that men
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 4, 2005
          ================================================
          Spinoza Political Treatise, Intro
          5. For this is certain, and we have proved its truth in our Ethics,
          that men are of necessity liable to passions, and so constituted as to
          pity those who are ill, and envy those who are well off; and to be
          prone to vengeance more than to mercy: and moreover, that every
          individual wishes the rest to live after his own mind, and to approve
          what he approves, and reject what he rejects. And so it comes to pass,
          that, as all are equally eager to be first, they fall to strife, and do
          their utmost mutually to oppress one another; and he who comes out
          conqueror is more proud of the harm he has done to the other, than of
          the good he has done to himself. And although all are persuaded, that
          religion, on the contrary, teaches every man to love his neighbour as
          himself, that is to defend another's right just as much as his own, yet
          we showed that this persuasion has too little power over the passions.
          It avails, indeed, in the hour of death, when disease has subdued the
          very passions, and man lies inert, or in temples, where men hold no
          traffic, but least of all, where it is most needed, in the law-court or
          the palace. We showed too, that reason can, indeed, do much to restrain
          and moderate the passions, but we saw at the same time, that the road,
          which reason herself points out, is very steep; so that such as
          persuade themselves, that the multitude or men distracted by politics
          can ever be induced to live according to the bare dictate of reason,
          must be dreaming of the poetic golden age, or of a stage-play.
          ================================================

          On Jan 4, 2005, at 2:13 AM, hans19682000 wrote:

          > This is why we
          > have to work through our own restricted humanity - restricted by our
          > own limited perception. 
        • hans19682000
          Sununter (1/4/2004) quoted: PT, intro; 5 ================ that the multitude or men distracted by politics can ever be induced to live according to the bare
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 6, 2005
            Sununter (1/4/2004) quoted:
            PT, intro; 5
            ================
            that the multitude or men distracted by politics can ever be induced
            to live according to the bare dictate of reason, must be dreaming of
            the poetic golden age, or of a stage-play.
            ============
            (Spinoza/Elwes)

            Again this translation seems misleading to me. As far as I can see it
            suggests that the political sphere _as_such_ is distracting 'men'
            from something more essential. The political sphere seems to be the
            realm of vain passions from where we should keep distance. Please,
            correct me if I'm wrong.

            But looking into the Latin text this translation seems 'distracting'
            itself.

            Latin:
            ========
            ita ut qui sibi persuadent posse multitudinem, vel qui publicis
            negotiis distrahuntur (...)
            ========

            Following my dictionary 'distrahuntur' does not mean 'to distract'
            (to prevent from concentrating on something) but 'to be in conflict
            with one another'. The more if we translate 'negotii publici' as
            'public affairs' then we rather mean concrete matters, preoccupations
            and questions and not the whole political sphere us such. For this
            sphere Spinoza uses in his Latin the word 'politica'.

            I suggest following translation:
            ==============
            that the multitude or men who are in conflict with one another in
            respect to public affairs can ever be induced to live according to
            the bare dictate of reason, must be dreaming of the poetic golden age
            (...)
            ==============
            (I hope that my English in this sentence is all right;-)


            The main difference between Elwes and this translation is that 'men'
            can be in conflict with one another or not. The possibility that
            'men' can reasonably regulate 'public affairs' is not explicitly
            excluded. How this can come about - at least for some time - is the
            subject of Spinoza's 'political' writings.

            To keep in principle distance from politics - isn't this attitude a
            kind of melancholia, pride or disdain?

            P.S.:

            Sunhunter wrote (12/29/2004)
            >Spinoza says that it is beyond the scope of any individual to
            >reasonably be able to rectify large scale problems, such as
            >poverty. He assigns that duty to the state.

            All right, but what is to be done if the state itself is a main
            contributer to poverty and devastation?

            P.P.S:
            "The US government has so far pledged $350m to the victims of the
            tsunami, and the UK government £50m ($96m). The US has spent $148
            billion on the Iraq war and the UK £6bn ($11.5bn). The war has been
            running for 656 days. This means that the money pledged for the
            tsunami disaster by the United States is the equivalent of one and a
            half day's spending in Iraq. The money the UK has given equates to
            five and a half days of our involvement in the war."
            George Monbiot
            http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2005-01/06monbiot.cfm
          • hans19682000
            Hi David, There is a hint in Gilles Deleuze book Spinoza and the problem of expression in philosophy (Introduction). He states that the couple
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 14, 2005
              Hi David,


              There is a hint in Gilles Deleuze' book 'Spinoza and the problem of
              expression in philosophy' (Introduction). He states that the couple
              'explicatio'-'complicatio' is often used in neoplatonism (Plotin) and
              renaissance philosophy (Nicolas of Cusa) with respect to God, the
              world, the many, the one. Just try a web-search with these key words
              and you will find something. For Deleuze 'explication' is a
              correlative for the more prominent word 'expression' often used in
              the 'Ethics'.

              regards


              --- In spinoza-ethics@yahoogroups.com, Arthur David Smith
              <a.d.smith@s...> wrote:
              >
              > Does anyone know if there is a precedent for Spinoza\'s use of the
              > term \"explain\" in such contexts as:
              > The divine attributes explain God\'s eternal essence (IP20).
              > God in so far as he is explained through the nature of the human
              mind.
              >
              > Happy New Year to everyone,
              >
              > David Smith
            • Arthur David Smith
              Dear Hans, Thank you for the reference to Deleuze. His suggestion makes sense for certain contexts, such as God being explained (explicated) through the nature
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 17, 2005
                Dear Hans,

                Thank you for the reference to Deleuze. His suggestion makes sense for
                certain contexts, such as God being explained (explicated) through the
                nature of the human mind. Spinoza also says, however, that God's
                attributes explain His eternal essence.Usually, of course, Spinoza
                talks of these attributes "constituting" God's essence. But one might
                have thought that "explication" was not as "close" a relation as
                constitution. Do the attributes really unfold or proceed from God?
                Such language would seem more suitable to (infinite) modes.

                Relatedly, Spinoza often writes of individual modes expressing
                attributes of God (e.g. IP25C). He also, however, writes of attributes
                themselves expressing an (or the?) eternal essence of God. Usually, I
                think, Spinoza has in mind the single, unique essence of God as that
                which the attributes variously express. On one occasion, however, he
                writes of "an attribute of God, which expresses the eternal and
                infinite essence of thought" (IP31D). The attribute in question can,
                of course, only be thought itself. So we have the attribute of thought
                expressing the essence of thought. Is there a distinction between the
                attribute of thought and the essence of thought? Or did Spinoza so use
                the term "express" that a thing can express itself?

                Best wishes,

                David Smith

                Quoting hans19682000 <hans68@...>:

                >
                >
                >
                > Hi David,
                >
                >
                > There is a hint in Gilles Deleuze' book 'Spinoza and the problem of
                > expression in philosophy' (Introduction). He states that the couple
                > 'explicatio'-'complicatio' is often used in neoplatonism (Plotin) and
                >
                > renaissance philosophy (Nicolas of Cusa) with respect to God, the
                > world, the many, the one. Just try a web-search with these key words
                >
                > and you will find something. For Deleuze 'explication' is a
                > correlative for the more prominent word 'expression' often used in
                > the 'Ethics'.
                >
                > regards
                >
                >
                > --- In spinoza-ethics@yahoogroups.com, Arthur David Smith
                > <a.d.smith@s...> wrote:
                > >
                > > Does anyone know if there is a precedent for Spinoza\'s use of the
                >
                > > term \"explain\" in such contexts as:
                > > The divine attributes explain God\'s eternal essence (IP20).
                > > God in so far as he is explained through the nature of the human
                > mind.
                > >
                > > Happy New Year to everyone,
                > >
                > > David Smith
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
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              • hans19682000
                Dear David, you wrote 01/17/05 ... Literally to explicate , the verb used by Spinoza in this passage (E1P20D), means to un-fold . I haven t found pli in
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 23, 2005
                  Dear David,


                  you wrote
                  01/17/05
                  >But one might have thought that "explication" was not as "close" a
                  >relation as constitution.

                  Literally ''to explicate', the verb used by Spinoza in this passage
                  (E1P20D), means 'to un-fold'. I haven't found 'pli' in my Latin
                  dictionary but in French 'le pli' is a fold. 'To explicate', 'to un-
                  fold' then means something like 'to undo' a fold. In German
                  'entfalten' (=to explicate) also means 'to develop'. So, the overall
                  idea seems to be that something implicit becomes explicit. But there
                  is one more element (not only the implicit and the explicit) that
                  brings the explicit to the forth.

                  In the Short Treatise we find:

                  Appendix 1, 4, Cor.
                  "infinite attributes every one of them infinite and perfect in its
                  kind; to [their] essence pertains existence, so that outside [of
                  them] there is no other essence or existence".
                  [translation altered according to Deleuze and not to the English
                  Version http://home.earthlink.net/~tneff/build3.htm?/~tneff/short.htm)

                  but also:

                  Short Treatise 102-P14[Note N1]: Attributes:
                  "we consider them only in their essence and not as existing, that is
                  [we do not consider] that their existence necessarily pertains to
                  their essence."

                  At first sight those quotes don't fit together.

                  We can resolve this problem in suggesting another translation. (see
                  the reference above) but the ambivalence remains. Or we can try to
                  think a necessary relation between these three elements: substance-
                  attribute/s-essence.

                  Short Treatise 102-P14[Note N1]:
                  "That is, if no substance can be other than real, and yet existence
                  does not follow from its essence, when it is considered by itself, it
                  follows that it is not something independent, but must be something,
                  that is, an attribute, of another thing, namely, the one, only, and
                  universal being. (...) no existing substance can be known through
                  itself, but it must belong to something else."

                  All existing essences (even the essence of substance) have to be
                  expressed by attributes. But attributes do not exist by themselves.
                  This is the privilege of substance. Perhaps we can say that
                  attributes are nothing but the 'act' of attributing an essence to
                  another 'thing'. But this 'other thing' is 'the one thing' which all
                  other existing things are related to, i.e. substance.


                  Substance -attribute/s - essence is a triad and there is no
                  hierarchy between them. Substance: that what expresses itself;
                  attributes: the expressions; essence: the expressed.
                  I rather regard those three notions working like borromean rings
                  where each out of the three is essentially linked to the other two
                  and if you remove one of them the whole structure falls apart.

                  When we take it like this then 'explication' is a very close
                  relation. In addition it is not only a relation but it is a movement,
                  a production, a process - The universe doesn't begin with 'U' 'N' 'I'
                  but 'three are family', one might say.;-)

                  best wishes
                  hans
                • Arthur David Smith
                  Dear Hans, Thank you for your most helpful comments. I am, however, still puzzled by Spinoza s claim (IP31D) that the attribute of thought expresses the
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 24, 2005
                    Dear Hans,

                    Thank you for your most helpful comments. I am, however, still puzzled
                    by Spinoza's claim (IP31D) that the attribute of thought expresses the
                    eternal and infinite essence of thought. Given that you say that "all
                    existing essences...have to be expressed by attributes", do you
                    suggest that the attribute of thought is non-identical to the essence
                    of thought? If this is so, I assume that the essence in question is
                    the divine essence as such, of which the attribute of thought is an
                    expression. (Otherwise we would have THREE things: the divine essence,
                    the essence of thought, and the attribute of thought. And I can't see
                    how to squeeze the middle one between the other two.) So on this
                    reading, "the essence of thought" is elliptical for "the essence that
                    thought expresses". Was that your suggestion? If that is right,
                    however, IP31D is saying, in effect, that thought expresses what
                    thought expresses, which is hardly illuminating. But perhaps one can
                    live with that.

                    Another question occurs to me arising from your comments. In citing
                    the passages from the Short Treatise, are you implying that Spinoza
                    retained the views in question in the Ethics? Given that the Short
                    Treatise is saying, in effect, that substances/attributes considered
                    in their own right can not be shown to be necessarily existent, if he
                    continued to hold this view in the Ethics, then Gueroult's reading of
                    Spinoza's argument for the unicity of substance must be rejected. Is
                    that your view?

                    Many thanks again,

                    David Smith

                    >
                    >
                  • Eth-el Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                    I m puzzled now. What s the difference between thought and knowledge? You see I too believe that knowledge just happened in an instant. If there s knowledge
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 24, 2005
                      I'm puzzled now. What's the difference between thought and knowledge?
                      You see I too believe that knowledge just happened in an instant. If
                      there's knowledge as an essence, can thinking be far behind.

                      I'd like to impose on y'all because I think it fits. How do you think
                      Spinoza treats this from the Bible:

                      For me understanding this is essential in communicating about knowledge
                      and thought. It is after all 2000 years old. 1600 years before Spinoza.

                      >
                      >> 4 Maccabees 1
                      >
                      >> 1The subject that I am about to discuss is most philosophical, that is, whether
                      > devout reason
                      > is sovereign over the emotions. So it is right for me to advise you to pay earnest
                      > attention to
                      > philosophy. 2For the subject is essential to everyone who is seeking knowledge, and
                      > in addition
                      > it includes the praise of the highest virtue—I mean, of course, rational judgment.
                      > 3If, then,
                      > it is evident that reason rules over those emotions that hinder self-control,
                      > namely, gluttony
                      > and lust, 4it is also clear that it masters the emotions that hinder one from
                      > justice, such as
                      > malice, and those that stand in the way of courage, namely anger, fear, and pain.
                      > 5Some might
                      > perhaps ask, "If reason rules the emotions, why is it not sovereign over
                      > forgetfulness and
                      > ignorance?" Their attempt at argument is ridiculous!£ 6For reason does not rule its own
                      > emotions, but those that are opposed to justice, courage, and self-control;£ and it
                      > is not for
                      > the purpose of destroying them, but so that one may not give way to them.
                      >
                      >> 7I could prove to you from many and various examples that reason£ is dominant over
                      > the
                      > emotions, 8but I can demonstrate it best from the noble bravery of those who died
                      > for the sake
                      > of virtue, Eleazar and the seven brothers and their mother. 9All of these, by despising
                      > sufferings that bring death, demonstrated that reason controls the emotions. 10On this
                      > anniversary£ it is fitting for me to praise for their virtues those who, with their
                      > mother,
                      > died for the sake of nobility and goodness, but I would also call them blessed for
                      > the honor in
                      > which they are held. 11All people, even their torturers, marveled at their courage and
                      > endurance, and they became the cause of the downfall of tyranny over their nation.
                      > By their
                      > endurance they conquered the tyrant, and thus their native land was purified through
                      > them. 12I
                      > shall shortly have an opportunity to speak of this; but, as my custom is, I shall
                      > begin by
                      > stating my main principle, and then I shall turn to their story, giving glory to the
                      > all-wise
                      > God.
                      >
                      >> The Supremacy of Reason
                      >
                      >> 13Our inquiry, accordingly, is whether reason is sovereign over the emotions. 14We
                      > shall
                      > decide just what reason is and what emotion is, how many kinds of emotions there
                      > are, and
                      > whether reason rules over all these. 15Now reason is the mind that with sound logic
                      > prefers the
                      > life of wisdom. 16Wisdom, next, is the knowledge of divine and human matters and the
                      > causes of
                      > these. 17This, in turn, is education in the law, by which we learn divine matters
                      > reverently
                      > and human affairs to our advantage. 18Now the kinds of wisdom are rational judgment,
                      > justice,
                      > courage, and self-control. 19Rational judgment is supreme over all of these, since
                      > by means of
                      > it reason rules over the emotions. 20The two most comprehensive types£ of the
                      > emotions are
                      > pleasure and pain; and each of these is by nature concerned with both body and soul.
                      > 21The
                      > emotions of both pleasure and pain have many consequences. 22Thus desire precedes
                      > pleasure and
                      > delight follows it. 23Fear precedes pain and sorrow comes after. 24Anger, as a
                      > person will see
                      > by reflecting on this experience, is an emotion embracing pleasure and pain. 25In
                      > pleasure
                      > there exists even a malevolent tendency, which is the most complex of all the
                      > emotions. 26In
                      > the soul it is boastfulness, covetousness, thirst for honor, rivalry, and malice;
                      > 27in the
                      > body, indiscriminate eating, gluttony, and solitary gormandizing.
                      >
                      >> 28Just as pleasure and pain are two plants growing from the body and the soul, so
                      > there are
                      > many offshoots of these plants,£ 29each of which the master cultivator, reason,
                      > weeds and
                      > prunes and ties up and waters and thoroughly irrigates, and so tames the jungle of
                      > habits and
                      > emotions. 30For reason is the guide of the virtues, but over the emotions it is
                      > sovereign.
                      >
                      >> Observe now, first of all, that rational judgment is sovereign over the emotions
                      > by virtue of
                      > the restraining power of self-control. 31Self-control, then, is dominance over the
                      > desires.
                      > 32Some desires are mental, others are physical, and reason obviously rules over both.
                      > 33Otherwise, how is it that when we are attracted to forbidden foods we abstain from
                      > the
                      > pleasure to be had from them? Is it not because reason is able to rule over
                      > appetites? I for
                      > one think so. 34Therefore when we crave seafood and fowl and animals and all sorts
                      > of foods
                      > that are forbidden to us by the law, we abstain because of domination by reason.
                      > 35For the
                      > emotions of the appetites are restrained, checked by the temperate mind, and all the
                      > impulses
                      > of the body are bridled by reason.
                      >
                      >

                      --
                      Eth-el Jean (Kowan) Saltz, Be-emet oo-ve-shalom oo-ve-ahavah
                      Abrahamic Faith HB, A, NT, K 600-600 MMMMMR
                    • hans19682000
                      Hi David, you wrote; 01/24/2005 ... My suggestion is to treat the question of particular essences of the attributes and the essence of substance in an
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 28, 2005
                        Hi David,

                        you wrote; 01/24/2005
                        >
                        >the divine essence, the essence of thought, and the attribute of
                        >thought. And I can't see how to squeeze the middle one between the
                        >other two.) So on this reading, "the essence of thought" is
                        >elliptical for "the essence that thought expresses". Was that your
                        >suggestion?
                        >

                        My suggestion is to treat the question of 'particular' essences of
                        the attributes and the essence of substance in an analogue way as the
                        problem of infinite attributes/one substance. In the end for me it is
                        one and the same question.

                        E1P10note======
                        It is thus evident that, though two attributes are, in fact,
                        conceived as distinct (...) [realiter distincta]
                        ============

                        We have to bear in mind that attributes

                        1. are real (and not abstractions, names, etc. from the perspective
                        of a finite mind)
                        2. and distinct, 'diversa'. It is only because of their different
                        natures/essences that they are not in opposition to each other (they
                        do not belong to a common 'set', otherwise there would be some cause-
                        effect-relation between them)

                        Now, this seems crucial to me:

                        Considered from the point of view of the diversity (or infinity) of
                        its attributes, substance is not a mere representation. But it is the
                        same content, an identical reality that appears as diversity, then
                        unity. It is this infinitely diverse reality that includes all the
                        attributes, and that expresses itself in their unity. This is
                        accomplished by a _double_ _relation_: the one that ties substance to
                        its attributes, without which it would be an empty being in which one
                        could from this fact recognize only a minimum of reality and not the
                        maximum that belongs to it; the one that ties the attributes to
                        substance, outside of which they would exist negatively, as opposites.

                        In the 'Ethics' this double relation can be found between

                        E1P2====
                        Two substances, whose attributes are different, have nothing in
                        common.
                        ======

                        and

                        E1P5====
                        There cannot exist in the universe two or more substances having the
                        same nature or attribute.
                        =========

                        These propositions are equally true and constitute a double reality:
                        diverse and one.

                        But what is true for the attributes and for substance as such is true
                        for their essences, as well. We can say that the 'essences' are
                        nothing but this double content (the expressed): diverse in each
                        attribute, the essence of this or that attribute; and one in
                        substance.

                        Attributes: As realities they are essences; and reverse: as essences
                        they are real. Spinoza: "the existence of attributes does not differ
                        from their essence" (Letter 10, de Vries).

                        I hold the view of Pierre Macherey who states that there is no
                        conciliatory progress between the perspective of diversity and that
                        of unity, but on the contrary a contrasted simultaneous movement.

                        The notions of 'essence of thought' and 'divine essence' can be
                        understood with this in mind. This is my suggestion. Perhaps it is
                        necessary to find more justification in the text. What do you think?

                        David, my formulations may read more strictly than I intended to.
                        Please, regard them as mere explorations. Any corrections and
                        objections are welcome. Omnis determinatio est negatio ...

                        Thanks to you
                        hans
                      • hans19682000
                        Hi David, you wrote; 01/24/2005 ... My suggestion is to treat the question of particular essences of the attributes and the essence of substance in an
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jan 28, 2005
                          Hi David,

                          you wrote; 01/24/2005
                          >
                          >the divine essence, the essence of thought, and the attribute of
                          >thought. And I can't see how to squeeze the middle one between the
                          >other two.) So on this reading, "the essence of thought" is
                          >elliptical for "the essence that thought expresses". Was that your
                          >suggestion?
                          >

                          My suggestion is to treat the question of 'particular' essences of
                          the attributes and the essence of substance in an analogue way as the
                          problem of infinite attributes/one substance. In the end for me it is
                          one and the same question.

                          E1P10note======
                          It is thus evident that, though two attributes are, in fact,
                          conceived as distinct (...) [realiter distincta]
                          ============

                          We have to bear in mind that attributes

                          1. are real (and not abstractions, names, etc. from the perspective
                          of a finite mind)
                          2. and distinct, 'diversa'. It is only because of their different
                          natures/essences that they are not in opposition to each other (they
                          do not belong to a common 'set', otherwise there would be some cause-
                          effect-relation between them)

                          Now, this seems crucial to me:

                          Considered from the point of view of the diversity (or infinity) of
                          its attributes, substance is not a mere representation. But it is the
                          same content, an identical reality that appears as diversity, then
                          unity. It is this infinitely diverse reality that includes all the
                          attributes, and that expresses itself in their unity. This is
                          accomplished by a _double_ _relation_: the one that ties substance to
                          its attributes, without which it would be an empty being in which one
                          could from this fact recognize only a minimum of reality and not the
                          maximum that belongs to it; the one that ties the attributes to
                          substance, outside of which they would exist negatively, as opposites.

                          In the 'Ethics' this double relation can be found between

                          E1P2====
                          Two substances, whose attributes are different, have nothing in
                          common.
                          ======

                          and

                          E1P5====
                          There cannot exist in the universe two or more substances having the
                          same nature or attribute.
                          =========

                          These propositions are equally true and constitute a double reality:
                          diverse and one.

                          But what is true for the attributes and for substance as such is true
                          for their essences, as well. We can say that the 'essences' are
                          nothing but this double content (the expressed): diverse in each
                          attribute, the essence of this or that attribute; and one in
                          substance.

                          Attributes: As realities they are essences; and reverse: as essences
                          they are real. Spinoza: "the existence of attributes does not differ
                          from their essence" (Letter 10, de Vries).

                          I hold the view of Pierre Macherey who states that there is no
                          conciliatory progress between the perspective of diversity and that
                          of unity, but on the contrary a contrasted simultaneous movement.

                          The notions of 'essence of thought' and 'divine essence' can be
                          understood with this in mind. This is my suggestion. Perhaps it is
                          necessary to find more justification in the text. What do you think?

                          David, my formulations may read more strictly than I intended to.
                          Please, regard them as mere explorations. Any corrections and
                          objections are welcome. Omnis determinatio est negatio ...

                          Thanks to you
                          hans
                        • hans19682000
                          Dear David, you wrote; 01/24/2005 ... I think that the Short Treatise and the Ethics can be conciliated in this respect. Again: Short Treatise
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jan 28, 2005
                            Dear David,

                            you wrote; 01/24/2005

                            >In citing the passages from the Short Treatise, are you implying
                            >that Spinoza retained the views in question in the Ethics? Given
                            >that the Short Treatise is saying, in effect, that
                            >substances/attributes considered
                            >in their own right can not be shown to be necessarily existent,

                            <snip>

                            I think that the Short Treatise and the Ethics can be conciliated in
                            this respect. Again:

                            Short Treatise 102-P14[Note N1]:
                            "That is, if no substance can be other than real, and yet existence
                            does not follow from its essence, when it is considered by itself ..."

                            The contrasted movement between substance/attributes is nothing but
                            the substance's return to itself. The reality of substance is not a
                            static one but a self-production, a self-constitution within the
                            attributes.

                            >if he continued to hold this view in the Ethics, then Gueroult's
                            >reading of Spinoza's argument for the unicity of substance must be
                            >rejected. Is that your view?
                            >

                            As far as I know Gueroult holds this view, expressed in my previous
                            message, as well.
                            "Leur unité [of attributes] ne supprimant pas leur diversité, leur
                            distinction reste réelle et non simplement de raison. C'est pourquoi
                            la notion de Dieu n'est pas _simple_ , mais complex." (Gueroult,
                            Dieu, 232)

                            The oneness of unicity is not numerical (the beginning of a counting)
                            but another expression of the constitutive infinitely infinite
                            perfection of God's essence.

                            "C'est parce que les attributs consument un seul et même être que
                            leur puissance est unique, et si, par l'unicité de leur puissance,
                            nous comprenons comment il est possible qu'ils ne soient qu'un être
                            malgré la diversité de leurs essences propres, la raison qui fonde
                            leur union en une seule substance, c'est seulement la perfection
                            infiniment infinie constitutive de l'essence de Dieu. (ibd., 238)
                            http://caute.org.ru/spinoza/aln/gueroult.htm

                            Ep. 50 to Jelles=======
                            Hence, it is evident that a thing cannot be called one or single,
                            unless there be afterwards another thing conceived, which (as has
                            been said) agrees with it. Now, since the existence of God is His
                            essence, and of His essence we can form no general idea, it is
                            certain, that he who calls God one or single has no true idea of God,
                            and speaks of Him very improperly.
                            ===================
                            http://home.earthlink.net/~tneff/let5050.htm



                            >do you suggest that the attribute of thought is non-identical to the
                            >essence of thought?
                            >

                            I would suggest that the whole conception of substance-attributes-
                            essences treats the question of identity/non-identity at its most
                            fundamental level and that the three notions are irreducible to each
                            other.
                            In addition, as I tried to show in my previous message, the ambiguity
                            of the notion of the attributes can be found here ("the attribute of
                            thought is non-identical to the essence of thought") again. In using
                            Hegelian notions we can say that we find here the movement of the
                            identity of identity and non-identity.
                            I mentioned the borromean rings. In respect to substance/attribute;
                            identity/non-identity of thought and the essence of thought I would
                            like to evoke the image of a moebius strip. By this reintroducing a
                            geometric thought that leads us beyond words.

                            regards
                            hans
                          • Arthur David Smith
                            Dear Hans, Thank you very much for your two recent e-mails. I d like to think a little more about the first; but I should say something about the second,
                            Message 13 of 14 , Feb 7, 2005
                              Dear Hans,

                              Thank you very much for your two recent e-mails. I'd like to think a
                              little more about the first; but I should say something about the
                              second, because I didn't make clear what aspect of Gueroult's position
                              I had in mind when I wrote my previous comments. What I did have in
                              mind was his claim about the the argumentative structure of the first
                              fourteen propositions of the Ethics--and in particular his suggestion
                              that in the first eight propositions Spinoza is considering only
                              substances of a single attribute, which then get welded together into
                              the single divine substance in Propositions 9-11. According to this
                              reading, the proof of the necessary existence of a substance in IP7
                              applies to the attributes considered separately, or to each of the
                              substances considered as having a single attribute. It was THIS
                              aspects of Gueroult's position that I thought might be inconsistent
                              with the position of the Short Treatise.

                              Best wishes,

                              David

                              Quoting hans19682000 <hans68@...>:

                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Dear David,
                              >
                              > you wrote; 01/24/2005
                              >
                              > >In citing the passages from the Short Treatise, are you implying
                              > >that Spinoza retained the views in question in the Ethics? Given
                              > >that the Short Treatise is saying, in effect, that
                              > >substances/attributes considered
                              > >in their own right can not be shown to be necessarily existent,
                              >
                              > <snip>
                              >
                              > I think that the Short Treatise and the Ethics can be conciliated
                              > in
                              > this respect. Again:
                              >
                              > Short Treatise 102-P14[Note N1]:
                              > "That is, if no substance can be other than real, and yet
                              > existence
                              > does not follow from its essence, when it is considered by itself
                              > ..."
                              >
                              > The contrasted movement between substance/attributes is nothing
                              > but
                              > the substance's return to itself. The reality of substance is not
                              > a
                              > static one but a self-production, a self-constitution within the
                              > attributes.
                              >
                              > >if he continued to hold this view in the Ethics, then Gueroult's
                              > >reading of Spinoza's argument for the unicity of substance must
                              > be
                              > >rejected. Is that your view?
                              > >
                              >
                              > As far as I know Gueroult holds this view, expressed in my
                              > previous
                              > message, as well.
                              > "Leur unit� [of attributes] ne supprimant pas leur diversit�,
                              > leur
                              > distinction reste r�elle et non simplement de raison. C'est
                              > pourquoi
                              > la notion de Dieu n'est pas _simple_ , mais complex." (Gueroult,
                              > Dieu, 232)
                              >
                              > The oneness of unicity is not numerical (the beginning of a
                              > counting)
                              > but another expression of the constitutive infinitely infinite
                              > perfection of God's essence.
                              >
                              > "C'est parce que les attributs consument un seul et m�me �tre
                              > que
                              > leur puissance est unique, et si, par l'unicit� de leur
                              > puissance,
                              > nous comprenons comment il est possible qu'ils ne soient qu'un
                              > �tre
                              > malgr� la diversit� de leurs essences propres, la raison qui
                              > fonde
                              > leur union en une seule substance, c'est seulement la perfection
                              > infiniment infinie constitutive de l'essence de Dieu. (ibd., 238)
                              > http://caute.org.ru/spinoza/aln/gueroult.htm
                              >
                              > Ep. 50 to Jelles=======
                              > Hence, it is evident that a thing cannot be called one or single,
                              > unless there be afterwards another thing conceived, which (as has
                              > been said) agrees with it. Now, since the existence of God is His
                              > essence, and of His essence we can form no general idea, it is
                              > certain, that he who calls God one or single has no true idea of
                              > God,
                              > and speaks of Him very improperly.
                              > ===================
                              > http://home.earthlink.net/~tneff/let5050.htm
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > >do you suggest that the attribute of thought is non-identical to
                              > the
                              > >essence of thought?
                              > >
                              >
                              > I would suggest that the whole conception of substance-attributes-
                              > essences treats the question of identity/non-identity at its most
                              > fundamental level and that the three notions are irreducible to
                              > each
                              > other.
                              > In addition, as I tried to show in my previous message, the
                              > ambiguity
                              > of the notion of the attributes can be found here ("the attribute
                              > of
                              > thought is non-identical to the essence of thought") again. In
                              > using
                              > Hegelian notions we can say that we find here the movement of the
                              > identity of identity and non-identity.
                              > I mentioned the borromean rings. In respect to
                              > substance/attribute;
                              > identity/non-identity of thought and the essence of thought I
                              > would
                              > like to evoke the image of a moebius strip. By this reintroducing
                              > a
                              > geometric thought that leads us beyond words.
                              >
                              > regards
                              > hans
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
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