PH 202 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Baruch Spinoza, Monism

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Notes for Day 12
More about Spinoza and his thoughts on substance:
One infinite substance= nature and God
We are not substances, our minds are not substances and neither are our bodies
We are actually modes-->Mode: affections or states or modifications of a substance; an object that is in
something else and conceived by something else
We are a finite mode
Attributes: the essence of a substance; its that which the intellect perceives as a substance ; a substance
has an infinite number of attributes, therefore an infinite number of essences or essential
characteristics-->this is weird because we usually think that a substance has one essence
If you are conceiving the essence of the one substance, you can only perceive a substance one at a time,
same with essences; but a substance can only be perceived by means of an extension
However, the one substance is so vast and infinite, that we can't perceive all of the essences of the
substance but we can only perceive 2 of them
We are a mode of thought of the one substance, and we are a mode of extension of the one substance--
> these are technically known as one mode, but we refer to them as two because we refer to mode of
thought as the mind and the mode of extension as the body
Spinoza holds a monism, like Descartes holds a dualism
His theory of monism (one substance) states that there are no two substances, it is independently
existing and doesn't work with something
However, two separate substances (dualism) can raise the question of interaction but monism doesn't
have to raise that question because one substance works by itself, there is no interaction
However, just like with Descartes dualism, monism cannot answer in depth questions like "am I a
mind?" or "am I a body?" to Spinoza, you are both, there is no interaction
Your mind is a mode of the attribute of thought
The attribute of thought have no connection to the body
The body cannot be related to the attribute of thought
When trying to compare the mind and the body, Spinoza believes that this cannot be done, they are two
different things
You cannot compare things that are physical with things that are immaterial
The mind and the body cannot mesh with each other, but they are still considered to be one mode,
which is still kind of weird because he is saying that these two things are completely different things
They are both part of the same mode, but they both have different attributes
The attribute of thought is totally different in comparison to the attribute of extension, which is the case
for comparing primitive notions
There is no interaction between modes of different attributes
Something is considered to be free by its own nature--> only one thing that is free is a substance, which
is God
We cannot determine our own existence, we do not existence solely from our own nature, our nature is
an extension of the one substance, we are nothing if we are separate from the own substance, apart
from the one substance (God) we therefore don't exist
This theory is very different from Descartes Cogito
The only way we can prove our existence is by recognizing our nature and the fact that it is dependent
on God, that we are a mode of extension of God
Reaching freedom depends upon recognizing you own nature, all of the feelings you undergo in your
lifetime is completely dependent upon our own nature which is overall a mode of extension of God
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