Deus sive Nature. God or Nature (God = Nature)
PROOFS OF GOD
1. Ontological Arguments. Explain God as the sort of being that cannot not exist. God’s essence
includes or necessarily entails existence.
2. Cosmological Arguments. God is the first cause, the ultimate cause of everything else.
Without God the chain of cause and effect would recede forever.
3. Design argument. Nature shows evidence of intelligent design, so there must be a Designer.
Spinoza rejects the Design Argument. His three arguments (Ethics, I, Proposition 15) are
versions of the ontological and cosmological arguments.
All of his proofs use the method of proof called ―reduction to absurdity‖ (reductio ad absurdum).
Assume the opposite of what you want to prove. From that derive a contradiction. That then
proves the opposite of that opposite, which is your original proposition you wanted to prove. So,
to prove P, first, assume not-P. Derive from that assumption a contradiction, Q and not-Q. Then
you can infer not not-P, which is equivalent to the proof of P.
First proof: Ontological Argument
(1) Suppose God does not exist.
(2) Axiom 7: If a thing can be conceived as not existing, its essence does not involve existence.
(3) Prop. 7: Existence belongs to the nature of substance. — Why?
(a) Prop. 6: Substance cannot be produced by another. Otherwise it would be in that other, or
depend on that other, and would not be substance.
(b) So, from Def. 1, substance is self-caused, and therefore its essence involves existence, and
it can be conceived only as existing.
(4) The hypothetical non-existence of God reduces to contradiction.
(5) Therefore God necessarily exists.
Second proof: Cosmological Argument (1) For everything there must be a cause, either of its existence or its nonexistence.
(2) The cause is either in the thing or in another.
(3) A thing necessarily exists if no cause prevents it.
(4) So if God does not exist, there must be a cause of non-existence; and this cause must be in
another substance (not to suppose God is the cause of his non-existence).
(5) Whatever causes God not to exist must absolutely exclude God from being, and can therefore
have nothing in common with God.
(6) But if two things have nothing in common, one cannot prevent the existence of the other.
(7) Therefore no cause prevents God’s existence.
(8) So God necessarily exists.
Third proof: Another cosmological argument
(1) ―The ability to exist is power.‖ Contingency, possibly not existing, is a deficiency of power.
(2) Suppose God does not exist.
(3) Then nothing that now exists is necessary, and everything that exists might not exist (finite
(4) Finite, contingent entities do not have the power to exist on their own. They exist, if at all,
because of another.
(5) So either nothing exists, or an absolutely infinite entity exists.
(6) Something exists, we exist.
(7) So God exists.
Mind and Body
Substance is not mental or physical per se.
Rather, mentality is one attribute of substance, and corporality is another attribute.
One and the same substance is a set of ideas and a set of physical events that those ideas
represent (explain). Every body is also an idea is God’s mind.
Every idea is the idea of a body; that is, the idea of something in physical nature. LEVELS OF KNOWLEDGE
Sense Perception (= imagination)
Bondage (responding to causes we do not understand)
Scientific Understanding (= adequate ideas)
Freedom (responding with understanding, conferring the power to act in accordance with
Blessedness (intellectual love of God). Understanding all things as expressions of the
infinite essence of God.
Conatus—endeavor, striving, tendency
Three basic passions:
Desire: feeling of the conatus
Joy: Feeling of passing from a lower to a higher power of acting.
Sadness: feeling of passing to a lower power of acting. Baruch Spinoza and later Beict de Spinoza (24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a
Jewish-Dutch philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and
importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death. By laying the
groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment [citation neand modern biblical criticism,he
came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. His magnum
opus, the posthumous Ethics, in which he opposed Descartes's mind–body dualism, has earned
him recognition as one of Western philosophy's most important contributors. In the Ethics,
"Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions
of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely."
Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said of all contemporary philosophers, "You are
either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all."]
Spinoza's name in different languages is Hebrew: הזוניפש ךורב Baruch Spinoza, Portuguese:
Benedito or Bento de Espinosa and Latin: Benedictus de Spinoza; in all these languages, the
given name means "the Blessed". Spinoza was raised in the Portuguese Jewish community in
Amsterdam. He developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew
Bible and the nature of the Divine. The Jewish religious authorities issued a cherem (Hebrew:
ro ,noislupxe ,msicartso ,gninnuhs ,nab fo dnik a ,םרחexcommunication) against him, effectively
excluding him from Jewish society at age 23. His books were also later put on the Catholic
Church's Index of Forbidden Books.
Spinoza lived quietly as a lens grinder, turning down rewards and honors throughout his life,
including prestigious teaching positions, and gave his family inheritance to his sister. Spinoza's
philosophical accomplishments and moral character prompted 20th century philosopher Gilles
Deleuze to name him "the 'prince' of philosophers".
Spinoza died at the age of 44 allegedly of a lung illness, perhaps tuberculosis or silicosis
exacerbated by fine glass dust inhaled while grinding optical lenses. Spinoza is buried in the
churchyard of the Christian Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague.
o 1.1 Family and community origins
o 1.2 17th century Holland
o 1.3 Early life
o 1.4 Expulsion from the Jewish community
o 1.5 Later life and career
o 1.6 Voorburg
o 1.7 Lens Grinding and Optics
o 1.8 The Hague
o 1.9 Writings and correspondence
o 2.1 Substance, attributes and modes
o 2.2 Ethical philosophy
o 2.3 Spinoza's Ethics 3 History of reception
o 3.1 Panentheist, pantheist, or atheist?
o 3.2 Comparison to Eastern philosophies
o 3.3 Spinoza's political theory
o 3.4 Spinoza's religious criticism and its effect on the philosophy of language
o 3.5 Spinoza in literature and popular culture
4 See also
o 5.1 By Spinoza
o 5.2 About Spinoza
7 External links
Family and community origins
Spinoza's ancestors were of Sephardic Jewish descent, and were a part of the community of
Portuguese Jews that grew in the city of Amsterdam after the Alhambra Decree in Spain (1492)
and the Portuguese Inquisition (1536) had led to forced conversions and expulsions from the
Attracted by the Decree of Toleration issued in 1579 by the Union of Utrecht, Portugue
"conversos" first sailed to Amsterdam in 1593 and promptly reconverted to Judaism. In 1598
permission was granted to build a synagogue, and in 1615 an ordinance for the admission and
government of the Jews was passed. As a community of exiles, the Portuguese Jews of
Amsterdam were highly jealous of their identity.
Some historians argue the Spinoza family ("Espinosa" in Portuguese) had its origins in Espinosa
de los Monteros, near Burgos, Spain. [10Others claim they were Portuguese Jews who had
moved to Spain and then were expellhome country in 1492, only to be forcibly
converted to Catholicism in 1498.
Spinoza's father was born roughly a century after this forced conversion in the small Portuguese
city of Vidigueira, near Beja in Alentejo. When Spinoza's father was still a child, Spinoza's
grandfather, Isaac de Spinoza (who was from Lisbon), took his family to Nantes in France. They
were expelled in 1615 and moved to Rotterdam, where Isaac died in 1627.
Spinoza's father, Miguel (Michael), and his uncle, Manuel, then moved to Amsterdam where
they resumed practicing Judaism. Miguel was a successful merchant and became a warden of the
synagogue and of the Amsterdam Jewish school. [9He buried three wives, however, and three of
his six children died before reaching adulthood.
17th century Holland Amsterdam and Rotterdam operated as important cosmopolitan centers where merchant ships
from many parts of the world brought people of various customs and beliefs. This hustle and
bustle ensured, as in the Mediterranean region during the Renaissance, some possibility of free
thought and shelter from the crushing hand of ecclesiastical authority. [citation neeSpinoza may
needed]d access to a circle of friends who were basically heretics in the eyes of tradition.
One of the people he may have known was Niels Stensen, a brilliant Danish student in
Leiden; others included Coenraad van Beuningen and his cousin Albert Burgh, with whom
Spinoza is known to have corresponded. 
Vlooienburg in 1625 on a map by Balthasar Florisz van Berckenrode Spinoza lived where toses and Aaron church is located now, and there is strong evidence he
was born there too.
Baruch de Espinoza was born on 24 November 1632 in the Jodenbuurt in Amsterdam,
Netherlands. He was the second son of Miguel de Espinoza, a sssful, although not wealthy,
Portuguese Sephardic Jewish merchant in Amsterdam. His mother, Ana Débora, Miguel's
second wife, died when Baruch was only six years old. Spinoza's mother tongue was Spanish,
although he also knew Hebrew, Portuguese, Dutch, perhaps French, and later Latin. Although
he wrote in Latin, Spinoza learned Latin late in his youth.
Spinoza had a traditional Jewish upbringing, attending the Keter Torah yeshiva of the
Amsterdam Talmud Torah congregation headed by the learned and traditional senior Rabbi Saul
Levi Morteira. His teachers also included the less traditional Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel, "a m
of wide learning and secular interests, a friend of Vossius, Grotius, and Rembrandt," whose
home was a center for Jewish scholars in Amsterdam [page needeand who later took a leading
part in promoting the readmission of Jews to England. While presumably a star pupil, and
perhaps considered as a potential rabbi, oza never reached the advanced study of the Torah
in the upper levels of the curriculum. Instead, at the age of 17, after the death of his elder
brother, Isaac, he cut short his formal studies in order to begin working in the family importing
In 1653, at age 20, Spinoza began studying Latin with Frances van den Enden (Franciscus van
den Enden), a notorious free thinker, former Jesuit, and radical democrat who likely introduced
Spinoza to scholastic and modern philosophy, including that of Descartes. [19(A decade later, in
the early 1660s, Van den Enden was considered to be a Cartesian and atheist, and his books
were put on the Catholic Index of banned books.)
Spinoza's father, Miguel, died in 1654 when Spinoza was 21. He duly recited Kaddish, the
Jewish prayer of mourning, for eleven months as required by Jewish law. When his sister
Rebekah disputed his inheritance, he took her to court to establish his claim, and then renounced
it in her favor.
Spinoza adopted the Latin name Benedictus de Spinoza, began boarding with Van den Enden,
and began teaching in his school. He is said to have fallen in love with his teacher's daughter,
Clara, but she rejected him for a richer student (although this story has also been discounted on
the basis that Clara Maria van den Enden was born in 1643 andld have been no more than
about 18 years old at the time Spinoza left Amsterdam. In 1671 she married Dirck Kerckring).
During this period Spinoza also became acquainted with the Collegiants, an anti-clerical sect of
Remonstrants with tendencies towards rationalism, aith the Mennonites who had existed for
a century but were close to the Remonstrants. Many of his friends belonged to dissident
Christian groups which met regularly as discussion groups and which typically rejected the
authority of established churches as well as traditional dogmas. 
Questioned by two members of the synagogue, Spinoza at this time apparently responded that
God has a body and nothing in scripture says otherwise. He was later attacked on the steps of the synagogue by a knife-wielding assailant shouting "Heretic!" He was apparently quite shaken
by this attack and for years kept (and wore) his torn cloak, unmended, as a souvenir. 
After his father's death in 1654, Spinoza ran the family importing business along with his
younger brother Gabriel (Abraham). [21The business ran into serious financial difficulties,
however, perhaps as a result of wars involving Holland, England and France. [vagueIn March
1656, Spinoza filed suit with the Amsterdam municipal authorities to be declared an orphan in
order to escape his father's business debts, so that he could inherit his mother's estate ch his
father had inherited in trust for him) without it being subject to his father's creditors. In
addition, after having made substantial contributions to the Talmud Torah synagogue in 1654
and 1655, he reduced his December 1655 contribution and his March 1656 pledge to nominal
amounts (and the March 1656 pledge was never paid). 
Spinoza was eventually able to relinquish responsibility for the business and its debts to his
younger brother, Gabriel, and devote himself to philosophy and optics.
Expulsion from the Jewish community
On 27 July 1656, the Talmud Torah congregation of Amsterdam issued a writ of cherem
(Hebrew: חרם, a kind of ban, shunning, ostracism, expulsion, or excommunication) against the 23
year old Spinoza. [30The following document translates the official record of the cherem: 
The Lords of the ma'amad, having long known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de
Espinoza, have endeavord by various means and promises, to turn him from his evil ways. But
having failed to make him mend his wicked ways, and, on the contrary, daily receiving more and
more serious information about the abominable heresies which he practiced and taught and about
his monstrous deeds, and having for this numerous trustworthy witnesses who have deposed and
born witness to this effect in the presence of the said Espinoza, they became convinced of the
truth of the matter; and after all of this has been investigated in the presence of the honorable
chachamin, they have decided, with their consent, that the said Espinoza should be
excommunicated and expelled from the people of Israel. By the decree of the angels, and by the
command of the holy men, we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn Baruch de Espinoza, with
the consent of God, Blessed be He, and with the consent of all the Holy Congregation, in front of
these holy Scrolls with the six-hundred-and-thirteen precepts which are written therein, with the
excommunication with which Joshua banned Jericho, with the curse with which Elisha cursed
the boys, and with all the curses which are written in the Book of the Law. Cursed be he by day
and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when he lies down, and cursed be he when he rises up;
cursed be he when he goes out, and cursed be he when he comes in. The Lord will not spare him;
the anger and wrath of the Lord will rage against this man, and bring upon him all the curses
which are written in this book, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven, and the
Lord will separate him to his injury from all the tribes of Israel with all the curses of the
covenant, which are written in the Book of the Law. But you who cleave unto the Lord God are
all alive this day. We order that no one should communicate with him orally or in writing, or
show him any favor, or stay with him under the same roof, or within four ells of him, or read
anything composed or written by him. The Talmud Torah congregation issued cherem routinely, on matters great and small, so such an
edict was not unusual 
Statue of Spinoza, near his house on the Paviljoensgracht in The Hague.
The language of Spinoza's cherem is unusually harsh, however, and does not appear in any other 
cherem known to have been issued by the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam. The
exact reason for expelling Spinoza is not stated. The cherem refers only to the "abominable
heresies that he practiced and taught," to his "monstrous deeds," and to the testimony of
witnesses "in the presence of the said Espinoza." There is no record of such testimony, but there
appear to have been several likely reasons for the issuance of the cherem.
First, there were Spinoza's radical theological views that he was apparently expressing in public.
As philosopher and Spinoza biographer Steven Nadler puts it: "No doubt he was giving utterance
to just those ideas that would soon appear in his philosophical treatises. In those works, Spinoza
denies the immortality of the soul; strongly rejects the notion of a providential God—the God of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and claims that the Law was neither literally given by God nor any
longer binding on Jews. Can there be any mystery as to why one of history's boldest and most
radical thinkers was sanctioned by an orthodox Jewish community?" 
Second, there is ample basis to assume that the Amsterdam Jewish community, largely
comprising former "conversos" having within the last century fled from the Portuguese
Inquisition (and their children and grandchildren), must have been concerned to protect its
reputation from any association with Spinoza lest his controversial views provide the basis for
their own possible persecution or expulsion. There is little or no evidence that the Amsterdam
municipal authorities were directly involved in Spinoza's cherem itself. But "in 1619, the town
council expressly ordered [the Portuguese Jewish community] to regulate their conduct and
ensure that the members of the community kept to a strict observance of Jewish law"; and
other evidence, such as bans adopted by the synagogue itself on public wedding or funeral
processions and on discussing religious matters with Christians, lest such activity might "disturb the liberty we enjoy," makes it clear that the danger of upsetting the civil authorities was never
far from mind. Thus, the issuance of Spinoza's cherem was almost certainly, in , an exercise
in self-censorship by the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam.
Third, it appears likely that Spinoza himself had already taken the initiative to separate himself
from the Talmud Torah congregation and was vocally expressing his hostility to Judaism itself.
He had probably stopped attending services at the synagogue either after the lawsuit with his
sister or after the knife attack on its steps. He might already have been voicing the view
expressed later, in his Theological-Political Treatise, that the civil authorities should suppress
Judaism as harmful to the Jews themselves. Either for financial or other reasons, he had in any
case effectively stopped contributing to the synagogue by March 1656. And he had committed
the "monstrous deed," contrary the regulations of the synagogue and the views of certain
rabbinical authorities (including Maimonides), of filing suit in a civil court rather than with the
synagogue authorities [41—to renounce his father's heritage, no less. Upon being notified of the
issuance of the cherem, he is reported to have said: "Very well; this does not force me to do
anything that I would not have done of my own accord, had I not been afraid of a scandal."
Thus, unlike most of the cherem issued routinely by the Amsterdam congregation to discipline
its members, the cherem issued against Spinoza did not lead to repentance and so was never
After the cherem, Spinoza is said to have addressed an "Apology" (defense), written in Spanish,
to the elders of the synagogue, "in which he defended his views as orthodox, and condemned the
rabbis for accusing him of 'horrible practices and other enormities' merely because he had
neglected ceremonial observances." [43This "Apology" does not survive, but some of its contents
may later have been included in his Theological-Political Treatise.
The most remarkable aspect of the cherem may be not so much its issuance, or even Spinoza's
refusal to submit, but the fact that Spinoza's expulsion from the Jewish community did not lead
to his conversion to Christianity. Spinoza kept the Latin (and so implicitly Christian) name
Benedict de Spinoza, maintained a close association with the Collegiants, a Christian sect, even
moved to a town near the Collegiants' headquarters, and was buried in a Christian graveyard—
but there is no evidence or suggestion that he ever accepted baptism or participated in a Christian
mass. Thus, by default, Baruch de Espinoza became the first secular Jew of modern Europe. 
The philosopher Richard Popkin questions the historical veracity of the cherem, which Popkin
claims emerged close to 300 years after Spinoza's death. [why?]
Later life and career Spinoza's house in Rijnsburg from 1661-3, now a museum
Study room of Spinoza
Spinoza spent his remaining 21 years writing and studying as a private scholar. 
After the cherem, the Amsterdam municipal authorities, "responding to the appeals of the rabbis,
and also of the Calvinist clergy, who had been vicariously offended by the existence of a free
thinker in the synagogue," [47promptly expelled Spinoza from Amsterdam. He spent a brief time
in or near the village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, but returned soon afterwards to Amsterdam
and lived there quietly for several years, giving private philosophy lessons and grinding lenses,
before leaving the city in 1660 or 1661. 
During this time in Amsterdam, Spinoza wrote his Short Treatise on God, Man, and His Well-
Being, "of which two Dutch translations survive, discovered about 1810."
Spinoza moved around 1660 or 1661 from Amsterdam to Rijnsburg, (near Leiden), the
headquarters of the Collegiants. [50In Rijnsburg he began work on his Principles of Cartesian
Philosophy as well as on his masterpiece, the Ethics. In 1663 he returned briefly to Amsterdam,
where he finished and published the Principles of Cartesian Philosophy (the only work
published in his lifetime under his own name), and then moved the same year to Voorburg. 
In Voorburg, Spinoza continued work on the Ethics and corresponded with scientists,
philosophers, and theologians across Europe. He also wrote and in 1670 published his
Theological Political Treatise in defense of secular and constitutional government—and in
support of Jan de Witt, the Grand Pensionary of the Netherlands, against the Stadholder, the
Prince of Orange. Leibniz, who visited Spinoza, claimed that Spinoza's life was in danger
when the Prince of Orange murdered de Witt. While published anonymously, the work did not
long remain so, and de Witt's enemies characterized it as "forgn Hell by a renegade Jew and
the Devil, and issued with the knowledge of Jan de Witt." It was condemned in 1673 by the
Synod of the Reformed Church and formally banned in 1674. 
Lens Grinding and Optics Spinoza earned a modest living from lens-grinding and instrument making, yet while living in
Voorburg through correspondence and friendships with scientist Christiaan Huygens and
mathematician Johannes Hudde he was involved in important optical investigations of the day
including debate over microscope design with Huygens, favoring small objectives and
collaborating on calculations f prospective 40 ft telescope which would have been one of the
largest in Europe at the time The quality of Spinoza's lenses was much praised by Christiaan
Huygens among others in fact his technique and instruments were so esteemed Constantinjn
Huygens in 1687 ground a "clear and bright" 42 ft. telescope lens from one of Spinoza's grinding
dishes 10 years after his death The exact type of lenses Spinoza made are not known, but very
likely included lenses for both the microscope and telescope. He was said by anatomist
Theordore Kerckring to have produced an "excellent" microscope, the quality of which was the
foundation of Kerckring's anatomy claims. During his time as a lens and instrument maker he
was also supported by small, but regular, donations from close friends.
In 1670 Spinoza moved to The Hague, where he lived on a small pension from Jan de Witt and a
small annuity from the brother of his dead friend, Simon de Vries. He worked on the Ethics,
wrote an unfinished Hebrew grammar, began his Political Treatise, wrote two scientific essays
("On the Rainbow" and "