THE ETHICS - PART  I

Concerning God

Circulated - 1673
Posthumously Published - 1677.

Benedict de Spinoza
1632 - 1677

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2. This URL was edited from "The Ethics - Part I". JBY added sentence numbers. The unedited file has many more definitions, much more commentary, and many more links. See: http://www.yesselman/e1elwesEbk.htm


3.  The text is the 1883 translation of the "The Ethics" by R. H. M. Elwes, as printed by Dover Publications in Book I. This English electronic text was taken by kind permission from: http://www.erols.com/nbeach/spinoza.html ; the text of which was scanned and proof-read by Edward A. Beach, Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religious Studies.

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5.    Page numbers are those of Book I.
      
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9.  Suggestion: Do not read this Spinoza electronic text linearly as you would a novel, but rather follow a thread by following all its links in turn. You will then be putting hypertexting to its fullest and best advantage— the fuller discussion of a thread.

10.  The secret to understanding Spinoza:
E1:Bk.III:200
.
In "The Ethics - Part 1; Concerning God", Spinoza spells out the hypothesis that all things, animate, inanimate, and even the concept of G-D, are bound into one grand "Organic Interdependence of Parts". From this hypothesis it logically follows that obedience to the Golden Rule is an act of self-interest and not altruism. Remember this and all his puzzling sayings, for example E1:Def.III & VI:45, E1:I:46, and E1:XIV:54, become more, if not completely, understandable.

11.  To help further understand many of the Propositions, use the analogy of you as 'G-D' (substance) and all parts of you (antecedents, present, and descendents) as attributes and modes (particular things).


12.  See Wolfson's Outline of "The Ethics" compiled by Terry Neff. For Table of Contents of Wolfson's epic commentary see Bk.XIV:xii. For Wolfson's "What is New in Spinoza?" see Bk.XIV:xxvi. For a "study of the plan of Ethics 1" see Bk.XIX:337-8. For a criticism of "The Ethics" see Bk.XVIII.

  

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Definitions:45

Axioms:46

Appendix:74


Part I Proposition List: Book I:Pg. v;

Suggestion: Do not read consecutively as you would a novel; but select a Proposition, click its number to the left and then follow all its links in turn wherever they may lead. You will then be putting hypertexting to its fullest and best advantage— a fuller discussion of a thread.


For all Propositions, see Note 10.

Prop. I.    Substance is by Nature prior to its modifications.

Prop. II.    Two substances, whose attributes are different, have nothing in common.

Prop. III.   Things which have nothing in common cannot be one cause of the other.

Prop. IV.   Two or more distinct things are distinguished one from the  other, either by the difference of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their modifications.

Prop. V.    There cannot exist in the universe two or more substances having the same nature or attribute

Prop. VI.    One substance cannot be produced by another substance.

Prop. VII.    Existence belongs to the nature of substance. 

Prop. VIII     Every substance is necessarily infinite.

Prop. IX.   The more reality or being a thing has the greater the number of its attributes.

Prop. X.    Each particular attribute of the one substance must be conceived through itself.

Prop. XI.   God, or substance, consisting of infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality, necessarily exists.

Prop. XII.    No attribute of substance can be conceived from which it would follow that substance can be divided.

Prop. XIII.    Substance absolutely infinite is indivisible.

Prop. XIV.    Besides God no substance can be granted or conceived.

Prop. XV.    Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived.

Prop. XVI.    From the necessity of the divine nature must follow an infinite number of things in infinite ways— that is, all things which can fall within the sphere of infinite intellect.

Prop. XVII.    God acts solely by the laws of his own nature, and is not constrained by any one.

Prop. XVIII.   God is the indwelling and not the transient of all things.

Prop. XIX.    God, and all the attributes of God, are eternal.

Prop. XX.    The existence of God and his essence are one and the same.

Prop. XXI.    All things which follow from the absolute nature of any attribute of God must always exist and be infinite, or, in other words, are eternal and infinite through the said attribute.

Prop. XXII.    Whatsoever follows from any attribute of God, in so far as it is modified by a modification, which exists necessarily and as infinite, through the said attribute, must also exist necessarily, and as infinite.

Prop. XXIII.    Every mode, which exists both necessarily and as infinite, must necessarily follow either from the absolute nature of some attribute of God, or from an attribute modified by a modification which exists necessarily, and as infinite.

Prop. XXIV.    The essence of things produced by God does not involve existence.

Prop. XXV.    God is the efficient cause not only of the existence of things, but also of their essence.

Prop. XXVI.    A thing which is conditioned to act in a particular manner, has necessarily been thus conditioned by God; and that which has not been conditioned by God cannot condition itself to act.

Prop. XXVII.    A thing, which has been conditioned by God to act in a particular way, cannot render itself unconditioned.

Prop. XXVIII.    Every individual thing, or everything which is finite and has a conditioned existence, cannot exist or be conditioned to act, unless it be conditioned for existence and action by a cause other than itself, which also is finite, and has a conditioned existence; and likewise this cause cannot in its turn exist, or be conditioned to act, unless it be conditioned for existence and action by another cause, which also is finite, and has a conditioned existence, and so on to infinity.

Prop. XXIX.    Nothing in the universe is contingent, but all things are conditioned to exist and operate in a particular manner by the necessity of the divine Nature.

Prop. XXX.    Intellect, in function (actu) finite, or in function infinite, must comprehend the attributes of God and the modifications of God, and nothing else.

Prop. XXXI.    The intellect in function, whether finite or infinite, as will, desire, love, etc., should be referred to passive nature and not to active nature.

Prop. XXXII.    Will cannot be called a free cause, but only a necessary cause.

Prop XXXIII.    Things could not have been brought into being by God in any manner or in any order different from that which has in fact obtained.

Prop. XXXIV.    God's power is identical with his essence.

Prop. XXXVI.    There is no cause from whose nature some effect does not follow.


Appendix:74.
 
 



PAGE 45

DEFINITIONS

 
Def. I.   By that which is self-caused, I mean that of which the essence involves existence, or that of which the Nature is only conceivable as existent.


Def. II.   A thing is called finite after its kind, when it can be limited by another thing of the same nature; for instance, a body is called finite because we always conceive another greater body. So, also, a thought is limited by another thought, but a body is not limited by thought, nor a thought by body.


Def. III.   By substance, I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself; in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.


Def. IV.   By attribute, I mean that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance.


Def. V.   By mode, I mean the modifications ("Affectiones") of substance, or that which exists in, and is conceived through, something other than itself.


Def.VI.   By GOD, I mean a being absolutely infinitethat is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality {and an infinite number of finite modes. These modes are you, me, and every other particular thing}.
{E1:Bk.XIV:1:158, E1:Bk.XIV:1:216.}

Def. VII.   That thing is called free, which exists solely by the necessity of its own nature, and of which the action is determined by itself alone. On the other hand, that thing is necessary, or rather constrained, which is determined by something external to itself to a fixed and definite method of existence or action. <E1:Bk.XV:2627, E1:XVII(7)N:60.>


Def. VIII.   By eternity, I mean existence itself, in so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow solely <merely> from the definition of that which is eternal. <E1:Bk.XV:2628, E1:XIX(5)N:63, E1:XXXIII(21)N2:72.>



AXIOMS

PAGE 46

Ax. I.    Everything which exists, exists either in itself or in something else.


Ax. II.   That which cannot be conceived through anything else must be conceived through itself.


Ax. III.  From a given definite cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no definite cause be granted, it is impossible that an effect can follow.


Ax. IV.  The knowledge of an effect depends on and involves the knowledge of a cause.


Ax. V.   Things which have nothing in common cannot be understood, the one by means of the other; the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other.


Ax. VI.   A true idea must correspond with its ideate or object.


Ax. VII.  If a thing can be conceived as non-existing, its essence does not involve existence.



PART I PROPOSITIONS

For help in understanding all Propositions, see Note 10.

PROP. I:46    Substance is by Nature prior to its modifications.


PROP. II:46    Two substances, whose attributes are different, have nothing in common.


PROP. III:47    Things which have nothing in common cannot be one the cause of the other.


PROP. IV:47   Two or more distinct things are distinguished one from the other, either by the difference of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their modifications.


PROP. V:47   There cannot exist in the universe two or more substances having the same nature or attribute.


PROP. VI:47   One substance cannot be produced by another substance.

Proof.— (6:1) It is impossible that there should be in the universe two substances with an identical attribute, i.e. which have anything common to them both (Prop. ii.), and, therefore (Prop. iii.), one cannot be the cause of another, neither can one be produced by the other. Q.E.D.


Corollary.(6:2)  Hence it follows that a substance cannot be produced by anything external to itself. (6:3) For in the universe nothing is granted, save substances and their modifications (as appears from Ax. i. and Defs. iii. and v.). (6:4) Now (by the last Prop.) substance cannot be produced by another substance, therefore it cannot be produced by anything external itself. Q.E.D.

   
< Another Proof >
(6:5) [Alternatively:] This is shown still more readily by the absurdity of the contradictory. (6:6) For, if substance be produced by an external cause, the knowledge of it would depend on the knowledge of its cause (Ax. iv.), and (by Def.iii.) it would itself not be substance.

PROP. VII:48   Existence belongs to the nature of substance.

PROP. VIII:48   Every substance is necessarily infinite.


PROP. IX:50   The more reality or being a thing has the greater the number of its attributes (Def. iv.).


PROP. X:50   Each particular attribute of the one substance must be conceived through itself. 


Prop. XI:51   God, or substance, consisting of infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality, necessarily exists.


PROP. XII:54   No attribute of substance can be conceived from which it would follow that substance can be divided.


PROP. XIII:54   Substance absolutely infinite is indivisible.


PROP. XIV:54   Besides God no substance can be granted or conceived. {G-D}


PROP. XV:55   Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived.


PROP. XVI:59   From the necessity of the Divine Nature must {immanently} follow an infinite number of things in infinite waysthat is, all things which can fall within the sphere of infinite intellect. {An all-inclusive uncorrupted organic interdependence.}


PROP. XVII:59   God acts solely by the laws of his own Nature, and is not constrained [compelled] by anyone.


PROP. XVIII:62   God is the indwelling [immanent] and not the transient cause of all things. {E1:XV:55, Analogy— as a child grows into a man.}


PROP. XIX:62   God, and all the attributes of God, are eternal.


PROP. XX:63   The existence of God and his essence are one and the same.


PROP. XXI:63   All things which follow from the absolute Nature of any attribute of God must ]have[ always existed and be infinite, or, in other words, are eternal and infinite through the said attribute. {E1:Endnote 21:5}


PROP. XXII:65   Whatsoever follows from any attribute of God, in so far as it is modified by a modification, which exists necessarily and as infinite, through the said attribute, must also exist necessarily, and as infinite.


PROP. XXIII:65   Every mode, which exists both necessarily and as infinite, must necessarily follow either from the absolute Nature of some attribute of God, or from an attribute modified by a modification which exists necessarily, and as infinite.


PROP. XXIV:65   The essence of things {immanently} produced by God does not involve existence.


PROP. XXV:66   God is the efficient cause not only of the existence of things, but also of their essence.


PROP. XXVI:66   A thing which is conditioned ]determined[ to act in a particular manner, has necessarily been thus conditioned by God; and that which has not been conditioned by God cannot condition itself to act.


PROP. XXVII:66   A thing, which has been conditioned ]determined[ by God to act in a particular way, cannot render itself unconditioned.


PROP. XXVIII:67   Every individual thing, or everything which is finite and has a conditioned ]determined[ existence, cannot exist or be conditioned to act, unless it be conditioned for existence and action by a cause other than itself, which also is finite, and has a conditioned existence; and likewise this cause cannot in its turn exist, or be conditioned to act, unless it be conditioned for existence and action by another cause, which also is finite, and has a conditioned existence, and so on to infinity.


PROP. XXIX:68   Nothing in the universe ]Nature[ is contingent, but all things are conditioned <determined> to exist and operate in a particular manner by the necessity of the Divine Nature.


PROP. XXX:69   Intellect, in function (actu) finite, or in function infinite, must comprehend the attributes of God and the modifications of God, and nothing else. {E1:XIV(4)C2:55}


PROP. XXXI:69   The intellect in function, whether finite or infinite, as will, desire, love, etc., should be referred to passive nature and not to active Nature.


PROP. XXXII:70   Will cannot be called a free cause, but only a necessary cause.


PROP. XXXIII:70   Things could not have been brought into being by God in any manner or in any order different from that which has in fact obtained.


PROP. XXXIV:74  God's power is identical with his essence. 1P35, 36 


PROP. XXXV:74   Whatsoever we conceive to be in the power of God, necessarily exists. <E1:Bk.XV:265>  


PROP. XXXVI:74   There is no cause from whose nature some effect does not follow. 

 


APPENDIX:74
 
(AP:1)    In the foregoing I have explained the Nature and properties of God. (AP:2) I have shown that he necessarily exists, that he is one: that he is, and acts solely by the necessity of his own nature; that he is the free cause of all things, and how he is so; that all things are in God, and so depend on him, that without him they could neither exist nor be conceived; lastly, that all things are predetermined {determinism} by God, not through his free will or absolute fiat, but from the very Nature of God or infinite power. (AP:3) I have further, where occasion offered, taken care to remove the prejudices <E1:Bk.XV:268>, which might impede the comprehension of my demonstrations. (AP:4) Yet there still remain misconceptions ]prejudices[ not a few, which might and may prove very grave hindrances to the understanding of the concatenation of things, as I have explained it above. (AP:5) I have therefore thought it worth while to bring these misconceptions before the bar of reason.


(AP:6):75   All such opinions ]prejudicesspring from the notion commonly entertained, that all things in Nature act as men themselves act, namely, with an end in view {final causes}. (AP:7) It is accepted as certain, that God himself directs things to a definite goal (for it is said that God made all things for man, and man that he might worship him). (AP:8) I will, therefore, consider this opinion, asking

[ I ]  first why it obtains general credence, and why all men are naturally so prone to adopt it?

[ II ] secondly, I will point out its falsity; and,

[
III ] lastly, I will show how it has given rise to prejudices about good and bad, right and wrong, praise and blame, order and confusion, beauty and ugliness, and the like.

[I]
(AP:9):75   However, this is not  the place to deduce these misconceptions from the nature of the human mind: it will be sufficient here, if I assume as a starting point, what ought to be universally admitted, namely, that all men are born ignorant of the causes of things, that all have the desire to seek for what is useful to them, and that they are conscious of such desire. (AP:10) Herefrom it follows first, that men think themselves free, inasmuch as they are conscious of their volitions and desires, and never even dream, in their ignorance, of the causes which have disposed them to wish and desire. (AP:11) Secondly, that men do all things for an end, namely, for that which is useful to them, and which they seek. (AP:12) Thus it comes to pass that they only look for a knowledge of the final causes of events, and when these are learned, they are content, as having no cause for further doubt. (AP:13) If they cannot learn such causes from external sources, they are compelled to turn to considering themselves, and reflecting what end would have induced them personally to bring about the given event, and thus they necessarily judge other natures by their own. (AP:14) Further, as they find in themselves and outside themselves many means which assist them not PAGE 76 a little in their search for what is useful, for instance, eyes for seeing, teeth for chewing, herbs and animals for yielding food, the sun for giving light, the sea for breeding fish, etc., they come to look on the whole of Nature as a means for obtaining such conveniences ]advantages[. (AP:15) Now as they are aware, that they found these conveniences and did not make them they think they have cause for believing, that some other being has made them for their use. (AP:16) As they look upon things as means, they cannot believe them to be self-created; but, judging from the means which they are accustomed to prepare for themselves, they are bound to believe in some {Transcendent} ruler or rulers of the universe endowed with human freedom, who have arranged and adapted everything for human use. (AP:17) They are bound to estimate the nature of such rulers (having no information on the subject) in accordance with their own nature, and therefore they assert that the gods ordained everything for the use of man, in order to bind man to themselves and obtain from him the highest honors. (AP:18) Hence also it follows, that everyone thought out for himself {Religion}, according to his abilities, a different way of worshipping God, so that God might love him more than his fellows, and direct the whole course of Nature for the satisfaction of his blind cupidity and insatiable avarice. (AP:19) Thus the prejudice developed into superstition, and took deep root in the human mind; and for this reason everyone strove most zealously to understand and explain the final causes of things; but in their endeavor to show that Nature does nothing in vain, i.e., nothing which is useless to man, they only seem to have demonstrated that Nature, the gods, and men are all mad together. (AP:20) Consider, I pray you, the result: among the many helps of Nature they were bound to find some hindrances, such as storms, earthquakes, diseases, etc.: so they declared that such things happen, because the gods are angry at some wrong done them by men, or at some fault committed in their worship. (AP:21) Experience day by day protested and showed by infinite examples, that good and evil fortunes fall to the lot of pious and impious alike; still they would not abandon their inveterate ]ingrained[ prejudice, for it was more easy for them to class such contradictions among other unknown things of whose use they were ignorant, and thus to retain PAGE 77 their actual and innate condition of ignorance, than to destroy the whole fabric of their reasoning ]theory {religion}[ and start afresh. (AP:22) They  therefore laid down as an axiom, that God's judgments far transcend human understanding. (AP:23) Such a doctrine might well have sufficed to conceal the truth from the human race for all eternity, if mathematics had not furnished another standard of verity in considering solely the essence and properties of figures without regard to their final causes. (AP:24) There are other reasons (which I need not mention here) besides  mathematics, which might have caused men's minds to be directed to these general prejudices ]misconceptions[, and have led them to the knowledge of the truth.


[II]
(AP:25):77   I have now sufficiently explained my first point. (AP:26) There is no need to show at length, that Nature has no particular goal in view, and that final causes are mere human figments. (AP:27) This, I think, is already evident enough, both from the causes and foundations on which I have shown such prejudice to be based, and also from Prop. xvi., and the Corollary of Prop. xxxii., and, in fact, all those propositions in which I have shown, that everything in Nature proceeds from a sort of necessity, and with the utmost perfection. (AP:28) However, I will add a few remarks, in order to overthrow this doctrine of a final cause utterly. (AP:29) That which is really a cause it considers as an effect, and vice versa: it makes that which is by nature first to be last, and that which is highest and most perfect to be most imperfect. (AP:30) Passing over the questions of cause and priority as self-evident, it is plain from Props. xxi., xxii., xxiii. {E1:Endnote 28:8 } that that effect, is most perfect which is produced immediately by God; the effect which requires for its production several intermediate causes is, in that respect, more  imperfect (AP:31) But if those things which were made immediately by God were made to enable him to attain his end, then the things which come after, for the sake of which the first were made, are necessarily the most excellent of all.

(AP:32):77   Further, this doctrine {final causes}, does away with the perfection of God: for, if God acts for an object, he necessarily desires something which he lacks. (AP:33) Certainly, theologians and metaphysicians draw a distinction between the object of want and the object of assimilation; still they confess that God made all things for the sake of himself, not for the sake of creation. (AP:34) They are unable to point to anything prior to creation, except God himself, as an object for which God should act, and are therefore driven to admit (as they clearly must), that God lacked those things for whose attainment he created means, and further that he desired them.


(AP:35):78   We must not omit to notice that the followers of this doctrine {final causes}, anxious to display their talent in assigning final causes, have imported a new method of argument in proof of their theory— namely, a reduction, not to the impossible, but to ignorance; thus showing that they have no other method of exhibiting their doctrine. (AP:36) For example, if a stone falls from a roof on to some one's head and kills him, they will demonstrate by their new method, that the stone fell in order to kill the man; for, if it had not by God's will fallen with that object, how could so many circumstances (and there are often many concurrent circumstances) have all happened together by chance? (AP:37) Perhaps you will answer that the event is due to the facts that the wind was blowing, and the man was walking that way. (AP:38) "But why," they will insist, "was the wind blowing, and why was the man at that very time walking that way?" (AP:38a) If you again answer, that the wind had then sprung up because the sea had begun to be agitated the day before, the weather being previously calm, and that the man had been invited by a friend, they will again insist: "But why was the sea agitated, and why was the man invited at that time?" (AP:39) So they will pursue their questions from cause to cause, till at last you take refuge in the will of God— in other words, the sanctuary of ignorance. (AP:40) So, again, when they survey the frame of the human body, they are amazed; and being ignorant of the causes of so great a work of art conclude that it has been fashioned, not mechanically, but by divine and supernatural skill, and has been so put together that one part shall not hurt another.

(AP:41):78   Hence anyone who seeks for the true causes of miracles, and strives to understand natural phenomena as an intelligent being, and not to gaze at them like a fool, is set down and denounced as an impious heretic by those, whom the masses adore as the interpreters of Nature and the gods. (AP:42) Such persons know that, with the removal of ignorance, the wonder which forms their only available means for proving and  preserving their authority would
vanish also.
(AP:43) But I now quit this subject, and pass on to my third point.

[
III]
(AP:44):79   After men persuaded themselves, that everything which is created is created for their sake, they were bound to consider as the chief quality in everything that  which is most useful to themselves, and to account those things  the best of all which have the most beneficial effect on mankind. (AP:45) Further, they were bound to form abstract notions for the explanation of the nature of things, such as goodness, badness, order, confusion, warmth, cold, beauty, deformity, and so on; and from the belief that they are free agents arose the further notions praise and blame, sin and merit.

(AP:46):79   I will speak of these latter hereafter, when I treat of human nature; the former I will briefly explain here.

(AP:47):79   Everything which conduces to health and the worship of God they have called good, everything which hinders these objects they have styled bad; and inasmuch as those who do not understand the nature of things do not verify phenomena in any way, but merely imagine them after a fashion, and mistake their imagination for understanding ]E1:Bk.VII:609[, such persons firmly believe that there is an order in things, being really ignorant both of things and their own nature. (AP:48) When phenomena are of such a kind, that the impression they make on our senses requires little effort of imagination, and can consequently be easily remembered, we say that they are well-ordered; if the contrary, that they are ill-ordered or confused. (AP:49) Further, as things which are easily imagined are more pleasing to us, men prefer order to confusion, as though there were any order in Nature, except in relation to our imagination, and say that God has created all things in order; thus, without knowing it, attributing imagination to God, unless, indeed, they would have it that God foresaw human imagination, and arranged everything, so that it should be most easily imagined. (AP:50) If this be their theory they would not, perhaps, be daunted by the fact that we find an infinite number of phenomena, far surpassing our imagination, and very many others which confound its weakness. (AP:51) But enough has been said on this subject. (AP:52) The other abstract ]E1:Bk.VII:609[, notions are nothing but modes of imagining, in which the imagination is differently affected, though they are considered by the ignorant as the chief attributes of things, inasmuch as they believe that everything was created for the sake of themselves; and, according as they are affected by it, style it good or bad, healthy or rotten and corrupt. (AP:53) For instance, if the motion whose objects we see communicate to our nerves be conducive to health, the objects causing it are styled beautiful; if a contrary motion be excited, they are styled ugly.
http://www.yesselman.com/CALCULUS.htm#C:(b)


(AP:54):80   Things which are perceived through our sense of smell are styled fragrant or fetid; it through our taste, sweet or bitter, full-flavored or insipid, if through our touch, hard or soft, rough or smooth, etc.


(AP:55):80   Whatsoever affects our ears is said to give rise to noise, sound, or harmony. (AP:56) In this last case, there are men lunatic enough to believe that even God himself takes pleasure in harmony; and philosophers are not lacking who have persuaded themselves, that the motion of the heavenly bodies gives rise to harmony— all of which instances sufficiently show that everyone judges of things according to the state of his brain, or rather mistakes for things the forms of his imagination. (AP:57) We need no longer wonder that there have arisen all the controversies we have witnessed and finally skepticism: for, although human bodies in many respects agree, yet in very many others they differ; so that what seems good to one seems bad to another; what seems well ordered to one seems confused to another; what is pleasing to one displeases another, and so on. (AP:58) I need not further enumerate, because this is not the place to treat the subject at length, and also because the fact is sufficiently well known. (AP:59) It is commonly said: "So many men, so many minds; everyone is wise in his own way; brains differ as completely as palates." (AP:60) All of which proverbs show, that men judge of things according to their mental disposition, and rather imagine than understand: for, if they understood phenomena, they would, as mathematics attest, be convinced, if not attracted, by what I have urged.


(AP:61):80   We have now perceived, that all the explanations commonly given of nature are mere modes of imagining, and do not indicate the true Nature of anything, but only the constitution of the imagination; and, although they have names, as though they were entities, existing externally to the imagination, I call them entities imaginary rather than real; and, therefore, all arguments against us drawn from such abstractions are easily rebutted.


(AP:62):81   Many argue in this way. (AP:63) If all things follow from a necessity of the absolutely perfect Nature of God, why are there so many imperfections in nature? such, for instance, as things corrupt to the point of putridity, loathsome  deformity, confusion, evil, sin, etc. (AP:64) But these reasoners are, as I have said, easily confuted, for the perfection of things is to be reckoned only from their own nature and power; things are not more or less perfect, according as they delight or offend human senses, or according as they are serviceable or repugnant to mankind. (AP:65) To those who ask why God did not so create all men, that they should be governed only by reason, I give no answer but this: because matter was not lacking to him for the creation of every degree of perfection from highest to lowest; or, more strictly, because the laws of his Nature are so vast, as to suffice for the production of everything conceivable by an infinite intelligence, as I have shown in Prop. xvi.

(AP:66):81   Such are the misconceptions [prejudices], I have undertaken to note; if there are any more of the same sort, everyone may easily dissipate them for himself with the aid of a little reflection. 


 


End of Part I of V.


ENDNOTES


E1:Endnote Definition— From Bk.XV:2601


E1:Endnote Note 10— From Bk.III:200 - Unified Nature.


E1:Endnote De. I— From Bk.XV:260note2 - Immanent

"In the phrase, 'or, that of which' the word 'or' renders the Latin 'sive'; this may be called the 'alternative or', and rendered more clearly as 'or, in other words'. When Spinoza wants to say 'Either the one, or the other' he uses the words 'aut' or 'vel'. Where the word 'or' renders 'sive' (or its equivalent, 'seu'); I usually indicate this by placing a comma after 'or'; however, for stylistic reasons I sometimes render such Latin terms by 'i.e.'.

To modern readers, the notion of a 'cause of itself' may seem
strange, and indeed self-contradictory. We tend to think of a cause as preceding its effect in time, from which it would follow that a ‘cause of itself' must exist before it exists. However, it later becomes clear in the Ethics that Spinoza does not think of causes in this way; rather, he thinks of the relation between cause and effect as logical {inseparable}, not temporal. For him, the cause of X is the reason for X, in the sense in which a triangle's being isosceles is the reason for its base angles being equal. This doctrine is encapsulated in his phrase "cause seu ratio' (cause, or, reason). In effect, then, a 'cause of itself' is that whose existence is self-explanatory.


E1:Endnote De.VI— From Bk.XIV:1:158 - Immanent continued.


E1:Endnote De.VIa—From Bk.XIV:1:216 - Evolution of Philosophy/Religion.


E1:Endnote De.VII— From Bk.XV:2627 - Free


E1:Endnote De.VIII— From Bk.XV:2628 - Eternity


E1:Endnote 17:7n— From Bk.XV:26529 - Free Cause.


E1:Endnote 17:21n—From Bk.XV:26531,


E1:Endnote 21:1— From Bk.VII:474 - 'idea of God'


E1:Endnote 21:5Idolatry.


E1:Endnote 28:8Immediate 


E1:Endnote XXIX— From Bk.XV:26738  - Determinism


E1:Endnote 29:8— From Bk.XV:26739  - Nature.


E1:Endnote 29:10Analogy

Active (natura Naturans): analogous to the Person; past, present, and future; including forebearers and descendents, (infinite). 29:8

Passive (natura naturata): analogous to the body, as at present (finite). 29:10



E1:Endnote XXXI— From Bk.VIII:43463


E1:Endnote 33:5n— From Bk.XV:26844 - Contingent.


E1:Endnote AP(3)— From Bk.XV:26849 - Prejudice.


E1:Endnote AP(41)— From Bk.XV:26954 - Miracles.


E1:Endnote AP(47)— From Bk.VII:609 - Good and Bad 

 

End of Part I Notes.


GLOSSARY.
 

Alruism http://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Altruism


Attribute  http://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Attribute


BEAUTYhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#beauty


Blessednesshttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Blessedness


Causehttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Cause


CommandmentLawhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Commandment


DutyObediencePietyhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Duty


Emotionhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#EMOTION


Fearhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Fear


G-Dhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#G-D


Golden-RuleOrganichttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#GoldenRule


Good and Bad http://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Subjective


Holyhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#holy


IdolatrySuperstitionhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Idolatry


Intuitionhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Intuition


Joyhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#JOY


Lovehttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#LOVE


Modehttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Mode



ONEG-DDEUSOrganichttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#One


Organichttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#organic


Peace-of-Mind{PcM}http://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#PEACE-OF-MIND


Perpetuationhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#PERPETUATION


Prejudicehttp://www.yesselman.com/e1elwes.htm#EndnoteAP:3_prejudice


PityCharityhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Pity

The Hebrew word often mis-translated as pity (compassion, love, is better) is rakh'-am, Strong:7355— to fondle, love, cherish, affection. A related word is rekh'em, Strong:7358—the womb (cherishing the foetus). Based on this etymology, the compassion, forgiveness, and LOVE we should feel for each other is like that of a mother for the issue of her womb, perhaps varying in degree but not in kind; it is in no way altruistic. HirPent:Gn 43:14.


Religionhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Religion


Righteousnesshttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Righteousness

        TTP2:VII(63):105http://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#7:63just


Scripturehttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Scripture


Self-Interesthttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Self-interest


Sinhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Sin


SUBSTANCEhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#SUBSTANCE


Thing—G-Dhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Thing


WillVolitionhttp://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#Free-will

 
 

Bibliography:
For complete bibliography and book ordering see:
http://www.yesselman.com/glosindx.htm#4



END.




THE ETHICS - Part I
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Revised June 2, 2002
 


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