Dedicated to Spinoza's Insights


Section 1 - Knowledge
Section 2 - Peace-of-Mind

    IntroductionPurpose - Browser Notes
Glossary and Index - Citation Abbreviations


Section 1 - Knowledge

2.1 Spinoza reduces knowledge to four main kinds in TEI:[19]:8
(three in "The Ethics" - E2:XL(19):113.) :— 

By perception, opinion or imaginationI:2.2
   1.   From particular things:                        E2:XL(20):113
   2.   From symbols: words, ideas   I:2.2b   E2:XL(21):113
         (Called the first kind in the "Ethics"
           raw, unverified dataconceptions.)

By reasoning based on experience and experiments:  I:2.3
   3a.  Induction             I:2.6A      E2:XL(23):113
   3b.  Deduction           I:2.6B      E2:XL(25):113
          (Called the second kind in the "Ethics"verified
           data but still subject to error.)

By immediate and complete conception:
   4.    Intuition                   I:2.7          E2:XL(24):113
            (Called the third kind in the "Ethics"—knowing G-D.)
        The knowledge that comes from a mystical experience. 






2.1a Spinoza's discussion of knowledge establishes his
hypothesis  of  G-D  which  in  turn is the axiom on 
which all his definitions and other hypotheses are
founded.  See secret.
2.2 By perception, opinion or imagination
raw, unverified data.   I:2.1

I see a pencil: I see my hand. I see my hand holding
the pencil. 

I see very rich men.  I see very destitute poor men.



2.2a This kind of knowledge is error prone.  A pencil in water
looks bent.  I can say the rich and poor men got what
they deserved.
2.2b 2.   From symbols: words, ideasI:2.1

To minimize First Kind errors, words and ideas should be
carefully understood by being defined as follows:
       Definition  of  a  created  (finite)  thing    -  TEI:[96]:35
       Definition of an uncreated (infinite) thing - TEI:[97]:36

2.3 By reasoning based on experience and experiments
verified data.     I:2.1

If my hand did not support the pencil, the pencil would fall.
How do I know? I pull my hand away; the pencil falls.
In the case of the men, I see pestilence, disease, crime and
social turmoil and unrest the result of the inequality. 

E2:XL(23) :113



2.3a TEI:[19:3]:8:      No. II -  "Perception  arising from mere experience—that is, from experience not yet classified
by the intellect, . . ."
2.3b Hirsch calls this type of knowledge "empirical knowledge."
2.4 Why  does  the pencil fall? (Gravity is just a word given to
the phenomenon.)  Since  whatever  answer is given can-
not  be  proved (demonstrated),  the  question defines the
present   limit   of  knowledge.   At  this  point  the intellect demonstrates greatest facultyit formulates an hypothesis
either by deduction, by induction, or best of all, by intuition.


2.5 Hypothesis:

An  hypothesis  is an unproven, but as yet uncontradicted
opinion or intuition.  The  statement  of  an  hypothesis  is
in-itself  a  mere  mental  construction.   Its  validation  lies
in testing inferences.  The answer to "why the pencil falls" 
is only a working hypothesis.



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W. James

2.5a An hypothesis evolves by the constant improvements made
as a result of tests and experience—the scientific method.
Prof. Hall
2.5b An  hypothesis  need  not make literal sense; it need only
provide  true  and useful inferences.  Of course, the more
literally  true  the  hypothesis  is,  the  more  perfect  it will 
be.   Spinoza  devotes  much  time  to  prove  by logic the 
literalness  of  his  hypothesis  of  G-D.
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2.5c Definitions which attempt to define things by their causes
are  really  hypotheses;  they  need  to  be  constantly 
updated  as  knowledge  evolves;  likewise,  Spinoza's Propositions  are  hypotheses.
2.6A Induction:   E2:XL(23):113

Inference from the particular to the general.

TEI:[19:4]:8  No. III - "Perception arising when the essence
{the general}  of  one  thing  is  inferred  from  another  thing
{the particular}, but not adequately; this comes . . ."

2.6Aa The  pencil  falls  because  two bodies attract each other.
This  hypothesis  was formulated, by induction, after very
many  observations.  Further, by deduction  I believe, the
hypothesis  was  improved by adding that the force of the
attraction  (called  gravity)  varies inversely as the square
of the distance between them.
2.6Ab The validity of the hypothesis is that it predicts correctly
rates  of  fall  of  bodies  and  permits  astronomical
2.6Ac As  long  as  no  unreconciled contradictions are encoun-
tered,  the  hypothesis  is  assumed  to be valid within its
range of tests.
2.6B Deduction: E2:XL(19):113

Inference from the general to the particular.

A  more  subtle  way  of  formulating  an  hypothesis  is by
deduction rather than by repeated observation.



2.6Ba What is electricity? 

Assume that electricity flows in a wire like water flows in a
pipe.  This is a meaningless mental image, an hypothesis;
but deduce that the amount of electricity, the amperage, is
analogous  to  the quantity of water flowing;  the  pressure,
the  voltage,  analogous  to the water pressure; and the re-
sistance of the wire analogous to the size and type of pipe.

From  the knowledge of the relationship of the three terms
in  the  flow  of  water in a pipe, an analogous relationship
can  be  derived  for  the  flow of electricity in a wire.  This 
leads  to  a  fundamental  electrical  equation,  Ohm's Law.



2.7 Intuition                      I:2.1              E2:XL(24,25):113
{Called the third kind of knowledge in "The Ethics." 
 Called the fourth kind of knowledge in "TEI." }

TEI:[19:5]:8  " . . . the  perception  arising when a thing is
perceived  solely  through  its  essence,  or  through  the
knowledge of its proximate cause." 

2.7a TEI:[22:2]:9     "By  the  same kind of knowledge we
know that two and three make five, or that two lines
each parallel to a third, are parallel to one another, &c." 
2.7b Bk.VII:18   "Intuitive  cognition  enables  us to perceive the
whole of reality in a comprehensive grasp, wherein every-
thing is "clear and distinct."  From this insight we are then
able to "descend" to the individual elements of Nature and
see their mutual relationships in a way that was only dimly,
partially, or sequentially perceived heretobefore."


2.7c Intuition  is  that  knowledge,  insight,   and understanding: 

1.  With which you accept "axioms and hypotheses."

2.  With  which  you  get  the  feeling  of  "oneness" when
     being  a  part  of an orchestra at the moment it plays a
     beautiful chord.

3.  With which you get the feeling of "oneness" when you      imagine the room you are sitting in and yourself all as
     one corpuscle.

4.  With  which  successful  Art  and Music provoke these
     feelings of "oneness—love."




2.7d Why these great feelings of 2.7c above?; because you unconsciously  know,  that each part needs each other
part  to  survive—to be.  To  need  is  to °LOVE;  or  to 
°HATE  if that need is not fulfilled.
2.8. An hypothesis is improved by reconciling the contradictions
which become apparent when inferences do not prove true.

There  is  a contradiction in the electrical hypothesis when
while  water  flows downward in a pipe open at the bottom
end without an apparent outside force, electricity does not. 
The  hypothesis can be improved by saying that electricity
is  analogous to water flowing in a piping system not open
to the atmosphere. 





2.8a If it is not possible to reconcile the contradiction; the hypo-
thesis  must  be  discarded  or  limited  to  ranges  where 
inferences prove true. 
2.8b In this way do hypotheses grow (evolve), die,  or become
2.8c An hypothesis, assumed true in the face of contradictions
or  unsubstantiated  proof of inferences made from it, is a
2.9 All  the definitions given, and to be given, are only hypo-
theses.  Their  truth  cannot  be  directly  demonstrated. 
Their  validity  lies  in  making inferences from them and
repeatedly  testing these inferences under different con-

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2.9a An encountered contradiction does not necessarily mean
that  the  entire definition (hypothesis) must be discarded
but  the contradiction must be reconciled or the definition
2.10 The definitions serve as temporary working hypotheses.
If contradictions are found and resolved, a better defini-
tion evolves.
2.10a The  best  definition  available,  even  if imperfect, is better
than  no  definition.   No  understanding  can  come  when
terms are confused, and worse, when terms mean different
things to different persons.
2.10b This  is  the  reason  for capitalizing the precisely  defined
2.11 This is the reason Spinoza devoted so much thought to the
precise  definition  of  terms  and  the  establishment  of an
hypothesis for G-D.
2.11a The definitions (hypotheses) are to be assumed to be tech-
nical definitions for the sake of precision in discussion and
to  be  considered  working  hypotheses— temporary until 
improved or discarded. 

E-mail for clarification or disagreement. 

  Please give Subject as "Knowledge" and, if applicable, refer to line numbers. Prefix line numbers of this Page "I:" 


Top of Page , Knowledge

2.12 The  definition  of  "FAITH",  includes  "belief."  Belief is a
leap-of-faith that the definition (hypothesis) is true
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2.12a This  leap-of-faith  is  either consciously or unconsciously
2.12b When you decide to marry,  you have, in effect, committed
yourself to an hypothesis. This is a leap-of-faith.
2.13 PERPETUATION  (self and group)  motivates  the  formula-
tion of hypotheses.
2.13a The hypotheses are formed to provide hoped for advantage. 
2.13b If  the  hope  is not fulfilled, there is soon a leap-out-of-faith
unless the °FAITH is replaced. 
2.14 Define °PEACE-OF-MIND(°PcM)

    E-mail  your  definition.

    Please  give  Subject  as  "Peace-of-Mind."

    Prefix  line  numbers  of  this  Page "I:"


2.15 To be continued.  In the meantime, see in given order:

Religion, G-D, Deus, ONE, Idolatry, Organic, Holy , 
Pantheism, Love G-D, Intellectual love of G-D
Games, Sexual Morality, Mysticism,

Follow all links.


Endnote 2.1— From Bk.VII:17 - Reason, Intuition, and Eternity.

                        reason                                                                             {Better°PcM}
The  second  level  of  knowledge  requisite  for  our  happiness  has to

do  with  our  place  within  the  whole  of  Nature,  or,  in religious terms,
   {Analogy--relation of your lung to you }
with   our  relation  with  G-D.   Indeed,  Spinoza  claims  that  adequate

self-knowledge   is   the   first   step   toward   a   manifestation   of  our

love of G-D (E5:XIV, XV:255).  Remember  that  to  understand  oneself

is  to  see  oneself  as  a  particular  mode  within Nature, or G-D.  Self-

knowledge is then knowledge of G-D.  But love for Spinoza is an affect,
or  emotion,  that  involves  knowledge; for love is "joy accompanied by

an  idea  of  is  cause"  (E3:De.VI:175).   All knowledge, especially in so

far  as it is defined as adequate ideas,  can be related to the idea of the

whole  system  of Nature, or G-D. To know is then to love G-D, and the

more  we  know the more we love G-D (E5:XV, XXIV:255).  It is this love
                                                                                     highest or chief good
of  G-D  that  constitutes  for  Spinoza  the summum bonum, that which
makes for human happiness Because of the essential role in Spinoza's

philosophy a special term is used by Spinoza to characterize it: scientia

intuitiva  or  "intuitive knowledge."  From an epistemological   {a branch of
philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge

this kind of knowledge is superior to both sense-percep-

tion and inference. It is complete and systematic, unlike the fragmentary

and partial
character of sense-experience; it is synthetic and categorical,

the discursive and hypothetical nature of inference. Intuitive cogni-
proceeding by reasoning or argument rather than intuition}
tion enables us to perceive the whole of reality in a comprehensive grasp,

wherein  everything  is clear and distinct."  From this insight we are then

able  to  "descend"  to  the  individual  elements  of nature and see their
{ organic interdependence }
mutual relationships  in a way that was only dimly, partially, or sequenti-

ally perceived heretofore. With intuitive knowledge everything becomes

systematically intelligible (E2:XL(24)n2:113; E5:XXV:260).

From  the  ethical  perspective  intuitive  cognition  results  in  an under-

standing  of  man  and  his  place in the universe such that life becomes

not  only  intelligible  but  livable.  For the scientia intuitivia gives us the
"highest  possible  peace  of  mind"   (E5:XXVII; 32p).   Why  is  this  so?
                              {Better              °PcM}
Happiness  or,  if  we  prefersalvation, is the attainment of such know-

ledge  because  intuitive knowledge shows us why things happen in the

ways  they  do  happen,  that they cannot be otherwise,  that man is not

some extraterrestrial visitor who temporally inhabits this planet and then

returns  to  some  foreign domain, and that as an integral element of this
                                                    {Cash Value}
one  and  only  world  he must learn to live in it.  This knowledge can be

characterized,   Spinoza   claims,   as   an   insight  of  and  into  eternity,

whereby  the  whole  universe  and  everything  within  it  are  perceived

"under a form of eternity."

Now  we  have  reached  one  of  the  more  famous Spinozistic notions,

but  at  the  same  time  a difficult one.  For what does Spinoza mean by

'eternity'?  He  tells  us  explicitly  that he does not mean thereby infinite

duration,  which  is  how  Aristotle  and  some  of  his medieval disciples

construed   this  idea  (E5:XXIX:261).    For  Spinoza,  to  say  that  G-D,

or Nature,  is  eternal  is  not  to  imply merely that G-D exists for infinite

time.  Rather,  there  is  a  sense  in  which,  according to Spinoza, G-D,

or Nature,  is timeless.  This latter notion is also, admittedly, not without

its  problems.   But  Spinoza  tells  in  his initial list of definitions in Part I

that eternity implies the kind of existence that characterizes a being that

is  totally  self-sufficient  and  necessary.  Indeed,  given his definition of

freedom,  it  turns  out  that  for Spinoza  the  being  that  is  free  is also

eternal,  and  conversely;  for  both  of these attributes are features of a

being  whose  existence and activity follow necessarily and only from its
own nature.  The key term here is 'necessity': that which exists and acts
                                                                    <E1:Parkinson:2627, E1:XVII(7)N:60.>
necessarily  in  complete  conformity  to  its  own nature is both free and

eternal.  For Spinoza only G-D, or Nature, satisfies totally this condition.

In this sense then G-D is not subject to time; for a being that falls within

time  is one that is not self-sufficient and perfect.  Such entities are truly
changeable,  whereas  G-D  is immutable {changeless}.

i2:Endnote 2.5— From Bk.XVII:10 - Scientific Method, Hypothesis, Knowledge, Understanding.
Preceded by EL:Hawking:8 - Realm of Science.  

In   order   to  talk  about  the  nature  of  the  universe   and  to discuss          Prof. Hall
questions  such  as  whether  it  has a beginning or an end, you have to      William James
be clear about what a scientific theory is.  I shall take the simpleminded
view  that a theory is just a model of the universe, or a restricted part of       {Scientific Method
it,  and  a set of rules that relate quantities in the model to observations            for Study
that  we  make.  It exists only in our minds and does not have any other        of Religion }
reality  (whatever  that  might  mean).   A  theory  is  a  good  theory if it
satisfies two requirements.   It must accurately describe a large class of              Hypothesis
observations  on  the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary
elements,  and  it  must  make  definite  predictions  about the results of
future  observations.    For  example,  Aristotle  believed  Empedocles's
theory  that  everything  was  made  out of four elements, earth, air, fire,
and  water.  This  was  simple  enough,  but  did  not  make any definite
predictions.  On  the  other hand, Newton's theory of gravity was based
on  an  even simpler model, in which bodies attracted each other with a
force that was proportional to a quantity called their mass and inversely
proportional to the square of the distance between them.  Yet it predicts
the  motions  of  the sun, the moon, and the planets to a high degree of

            { or philosophical }
Any  physical ^  theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only
hypothesis:  you  can never prove it.  No matter how many times the
results  of  experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure
that  the next time the result will not contradict the theory.  On the other
hand,  you  can disprove a theory by finding even a Single observation
that  disagrees with  the  predictions  of  the  theory.  As philosopher of
science  Karl  Popper  has  emphasized, a good theory is characterized
by  the  fact that it makes a number of predictions that could in principle
be  disproved  or  falsified  by observation.  Each time new experiments
are  observed to agree with the predictions the theory survives, and our
confidence  in  it  is increased; but if ever a new observation is found to
disagree, we have to abandon or modify the theory.  

i2:Endnote 2.5a— From Tape 1: Prof. Hall's Lecture 14:TB2:20—Scientific Method: 

i2:Endnote 2.5 - James, "The Will to Believe," reprinted in Klemke, Philosophy, 0312084781

i2:Endnote 2.5a— From Will Durant's "Story of Philosophy"; 18th Printing; 1965;
Page 139—Scientific Method.

But then again, is the Baconian method correct? Is it the method most fruitfully used in modern science? No: generally, science has used, with best result, not the accumulation of data ("natural history") and their manipulation by the complicated tables of the Novum Organum, but the simpler method of hypothesis, deduction and experiment. So Darwin, reading Malthus' Essay on Population, conceived the idea of applying page 140 to all organisms the Malthusian hypothesis that population tends to increase faster than the means of subsistence; deduced from this hypothesis the probable conclusion that the pressure of population on the food-supply results in a struggle for existence in which the fittest survive, and by which in each generation every species is changed into closer adaptation to its environment; and finally (having by hypothesis and deduction limited his problem and his field of observation) turned to "the, unwithered face of nature" and made for twenty years a patient inductive examination of the facts. Again, Einstein conceived, or took from Newton, the hypothesis that light travels in curved, not straight lines; deduced from it the conclusion that a star appearing to be (on the straight-line theory) in a certain position in the heavens is really a little to one side of that position; and he invited experiment and observation to test the conclusion.  

i2:Endnote 2.5aScientific Method for Study of Religion.                       Durant Tribute [12}
From Encyclopædia Britannica Online—"religions, classification of"
See also Grace AND Britannica on Grace, and Roman Religion.  

... Although a perfect classification lies at present beyond scholars' grasp,   {All Religions seek
certain  criteria,   both positive and negative in nature, may be suggested      Peace of Mind.
for  building  and  judging classifications.  First, classifications should not    Twain's "Little Story"}
be  arbitrary,  subjective,  or  provincial.  A  first  principle  of the scientific
method  is  that  objectivity  should be pursued to the extent possible and          Understanding
that   findings  should  be  capable  of  confirmation  by  other  observers.      Talmud and Miracles 
Second,  an  acceptable  classification should deal with the essential and
typical  in  the  religious  life,  not with the accidental and the unimportant.
The  contribution  to  understanding  that  a  classification may make is in
direct  proportion to the penetration of the bases of religious life exhibited
in  its  principles of division.  A good classification must concern itself with
the  fundamentals  of  religion  and  with  the most typical elements of the
units   it  is  seeking  to  order.  Third,  a proper  classification  should  be
capable  of  presenting  both that which is common to religious forms of a      Seeking Peace of Mind
given  type  and  that  which  is  peculiar or unique to each member of the
type.  Thus, no classification should ignore the concrete historical individ-
uality  of  religious  manifestations  in  favour  of  that which is common to
them  all,  nor  should  it  neglect to demonstrate the common factors that
are  the  bases  for  the  very  distinction  of types of religious experience,
manifestations, and forms.  Classification of religions ....


Since November 6, 1997  hits.

Chapter 2 - Hypotheses

Revised: March 19, 2005

    Chapter 1 - Definitions