1. Joined
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    03 Apr '07 13:15
    I thought it might be interesting to have a look at Spinoza's view of God as put forth in his Ethics. It's a fairly different view to that which we see here most of the time. I'll make no judgement on it until we've started a discussion, but I thought the easiest thing would be to list his premises and then assess his conclusion. I'm ignoring his axioms on purpose as I think it will cause too much disagreement wihtout enough purposeful discussion, we'll see. In the first part we'll look at how Spinoza considers god as substance in premises 1-15. If that takes off I'll post 16-25 where he considers cause and then 26-36 which is the thesis of determinism.

    DEFINITIONS:

    i) Cause of itself: that whose essencesinvolves existence or that whose nature cannot be concieved except as existing.
    ii) Finite in its own kind: that which cannot be limited by another of the same nature.
    iii) Substance: that which is in itself and is concieved through itself
    iv) Attribute: that which intellect percieves of substance, as constituting its essence
    v) Mode: the affectations of substance
    vi) God: An absolutely infinite entity, a substance consisting of of infinite attributes, each expressing infinite eternal essence.
    vii) Free: That which exists solely by the necessity of its own nature
    viii) Eternity: Existence itself flowing necessarily solely from an eternal thing

    PREMISES:

    1) Substance is prior to its affectations
    2) Two substances which have different attributes have nothing in common with one another
    3) Of things which have nothing in common with one another, one cannot be the cause of another
    4) Two or more disinct things are distinguished from one another by a difference of attributes , or their affectations
    5) There cannot exist 2 substances of the same attribute
    6) A substance cannot be produced by another
    7) It belongs to the nature of a substance to exist
    8) Every substance is necessarily infinite
    9) The more reality or being a thing has, the more attributes belong to it
    10) Each attribute of a substance must be conceived through itself
    11) A substance consisting of infinite attributes each of which expresses infinite essence necessarily exists (God)
    12) No attribtue of a substance can truly be conceived from which it follows that substance can be divided
    13) An absolutely infinite substance is indivisible
    14) Besides god no substance can exist or be conceived
    15) Whatever exists exists in god and nothing can exist or be conceived without god

    Any takers?
  2. CA, USA
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    03 Apr '07 13:21
    Need help writing that paper eh?
  3. Subscribersonhouse
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    03 Apr '07 13:40
    Originally posted by Starrman
    I thought it might be interesting to have a look at Spinoza's view of God as put forth in his Ethics. It's a fairly different view to that which we see here most of the time. I'll make no judgement on it until we've started a discussion, but I thought the easiest thing would be to list his premises and then assess his conclusion. I'm ignoring his axioms ...[text shortened]... er exists exists in god and nothing can exist or be conceived without god

    Any takers?
    #1, he didn't know of the big bang theory obviously.
    #2, He knew nothing about modern atomic particle theory, like a set of 6 quarks making up every kind of atom.
    #3, not much knowledge of quantum theory or transmutation of elements, like uranium spontaneously turning into lead, etc.
    #4, #5 can't find fault with those.
    #6 violates known atomic theory, see #3.
    #7 nobody knows the validity of that statement, there are some theories which say all the attributes in the universe is just a vast ordering of data, like a giant hologram.
    #8, The whole universe is finite, but unbounded, but still finite.
    #9 sounds like unmitigated BS. How can some things have less reality? Even Dark matter hidden in the galaxies around us have reality.
    #10, Not sure I understand that statement, sounds like it presupposes some kind of intelligence inherent in all matter.
    #11, like to see him prove that one.
    #12, again, modern atomic particle theory blows that one out of the water, every atom can be subdivided into common constituent sub-particles, called quarks.
    #13, show me some.
    #14, Prove it.
    #15, I'm sure Intelligent Designers would agree with that one, but it gets blown away if there is no god.
  4. Joined
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    03 Apr '07 13:57
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    #1, he didn't know of the big bang theory obviously.
    #2, He knew nothing about modern atomic particle theory, like a set of 6 quarks making up every kind of atom.
    #3, not much knowledge of quantum theory or transmutation of elements, like uranium spontaneously turning into lead, etc.
    #4, #5 can't find fault with those.
    #6 violates known atomic theory, s ...[text shortened]... e Intelligent Designers would agree with that one, but it gets blown away if there is no god.
    Perhaps you should look at the definitions and then look at the premises afresh. Spinoza was writing hundreds of years ago, I'd like to discuss his views regardless of his scientific ignorance.
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    03 Apr '07 13:58
    Originally posted by jammer
    Need help writing that paper eh?
    Something like that 😉
  6. Subscribersonhouse
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    03 Apr '07 14:10
    Originally posted by Starrman
    Perhaps you should look at the definitions and then look at the premises afresh. Spinoza was writing hundreds of years ago, I'd like to discuss his views regardless of his scientific ignorance.
    His mind set is from such a long time ago, its in the era of debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It's such a remote intellectual time I can't get into it. Still think he is an unmitigated BS artist though.
  7. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    03 Apr '07 14:19
    Originally posted by Starrman
    i) Cause of itself: that whose essencesinvolves existence or that whose nature cannot be concieved except as existing.
    Sonhouse's comments aside, I cannot conceive of the universe as not existing. No doubt that's because I'm part of it and to conceive of one's one non-existence is impossible while one still exists. Or am I already on the wrong track?
  8. Hmmm . . .
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    03 Apr '07 14:49
    Originally posted by Starrman
    I thought it might be interesting to have a look at Spinoza's view of God as put forth in his Ethics. It's a fairly different view to that which we see here most of the time. I'll make no judgement on it until we've started a discussion, but I thought the easiest thing would be to list his premises and then assess his conclusion. I'm ignoring his axioms ...[text shortened]... er exists exists in god and nothing can exist or be conceived without god

    Any takers?
    2) Two substances which have different attributes have nothing in common with one another

    14) Besides god no substance can exist or be conceived

    ________________________________

    If #2 and #14 are both premises, does not #14 obviate the need for #2? Or is #14 a conclusion?
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    03 Apr '07 14:55
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Sonhouse's comments aside, I cannot conceive of the universe as not existing. No doubt that's because I'm part of it and to conceive of one's one non-existence is impossible while one still exists. Or am I already on the wrong track?
    I believe he means conceived as in brought into being, rather than as in mentally considered.
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    03 Apr '07 15:00
    Originally posted by vistesd
    2) Two substances which have different attributes have nothing in common with one another

    14) Besides god no substance can exist or be conceived

    ________________________________

    If #2 and #14 are both premises, does not #14 obviate the need for #2? Or is #14 a conclusion?
    Yes, I should have mentioned there are steps of discussion between each premise to show how he arises at them. Unfortunately I don't have the time or finger strength to transcript them here. Perhaps if people had time they could read the first part of the ethics:

    http://www.mtsu.edu/~rbombard/RB/Spinoza/ethica1.html

    Perhaps we should take the premises one at a time and discuss his proofs and notations.
  11. Hmmm . . .
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    03 Apr '07 15:17
    Originally posted by Starrman
    Yes, I should have mentioned there are steps of discussion between each premise to show how he arises at them. Unfortunately I don't have the time or finger strength to transcript them here. Perhaps if people had time they could read the first part of the ethics:

    http://www.mtsu.edu/~rbombard/RB/Spinoza/ethica1.html

    Perhaps we should take the premises one at a time and discuss his proofs and notations.
    Okay: I’ll take a look at it, but it’ll probably be a bit later.

    Initially, with regard to #1—it might be argued that a substance is simultaneous with its affectations. That is, is it conceivable that a substance has no mode whatsoever? One can argue that Brahman precedes all manifestations in a causative sense, I suppose, but it seems quite possible that the nature of the one substance is essentially expressive. One can speak of the one substance as being ontologically prior to affectations, but I’m not sure what that means.

    I might caution that in our manner of speaking about it, we not “sneak in” a kind of dualism between substance and mode.
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    03 Apr '07 15:27
    Might not be here for this one, but if you're discussing Spinoza's pantheism in the Ethics, don't forget the appendix!
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    03 Apr '07 15:361 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Okay: I’ll take a look at it, but it’ll probably be a bit later.

    Initially, with regard to #1—it might be argued that a substance is simultaneous with its affectations. That is, is it conceivable that a substance has no mode whatsoever? One can argue that Brahman precedes all manifestations in a causative sense, I suppose, but it seems quite possible t ...[text shortened]... ner of speaking about it, we not “sneak in” a kind of dualism between substance and mode.
    I agree, alas I fear Spinoza has no such caution, we'll see. In the end he's saying god is everything and the affectations his ultimate reality has are infinite. Which may be to say everything just 'is' which isn't actually saying much, and yet taking a massive detour to do it. I still can't work out if he's saying god is different from the totality of existence. If he is then how? If he isn't then why call it god and also, who cares?
  14. Hmmm . . .
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    03 Apr '07 15:47
    Originally posted by Starrman
    I agree, alas I fear Spinoza has no such caution, we'll see. In the end he's saying god is everything and the affectations his ultimate reality has are infinite. Which may be to say everything just 'is' which isn't actually saying much, and yet taking a massive detour to do it. I still can't work out if he's saying god is different from the totality of existence. If he is then how? If he isn't then why call it god and also, who cares?
    I've just printed out the Appendix to read a bit later.

    I find it can be damned difficult to keep a creeping (substance) dualism out of one's language: one of the reasons I always try to refer to not only that from which and in which we are, but of which we are as well. For me, the illusion (maya) is not that the forms exist, but that they are separable from the substance.
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    03 Apr '07 19:051 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I've just printed out the Appendix to read a bit later.

    I find it can be damned difficult to keep a creeping (substance) dualism out of one's language: one of the reasons I always try to refer to not only that from which and in which we are, but of which we are as well. For me, the illusion (maya) is not that the forms exist, but that they are separable from the substance.
    That's a precursor of human perception, I think, and (time for some more Bad Zen© ) unfortunately also a barrier to enlightenment. When you can perceive that which you are instead of that which you perceive, you're a step closer.
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