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Ideas of Baruch de Spinoza, by Text

[Dutch, 1632 - 1677, Born Amsterdam. Expelled from Amsterdam Jewish community for blasphemy. A lens grinder in the Hague, where he died.]

1664 Letters to De Vries
1664? p.316 Experience does not teach us any essences of things
1665 Letters to Blijenburgh
1665 p.162 God no more has human perfections than we have animal perfections
1665 p.162 A talking triangle would say God is triangular
1665 Letters to Oldenburg
1661 p.277 God is a being with infinite attributes, each of them infinite or perfect
1665? p.290 Whether nature is beautiful or orderly is entirely in relation to human imagination
1675? p.302 Trying to prove God's existence through miracles is proving the obscure by the more obscure
1670 Tractatus Theologico-Politicus
p.21 The Bible has nothing in common with reasoning and philosophy
p.102 Spinoza wanted democracy based on individual rights, and is thus the first modern political philosopher [Stewart,M]
p.684 Society exists to extend human awareness [Watson]
16.01 p.195 In nature everything has an absolute right to do anything it is capable of doing
16.03 p.196 Natural rights are determined by desire and power, not by reason
16.04 p.197 The order of nature does not prohibit anything, and allows whatever appetite produces
16.05 p.197 Without reason and human help, human life is misery
16.05 p.198 Forming a society meant following reason, and giving up dangerous appetites and mutual harm
16.06 p.198 People only give up their rights, and keep promises, if they hope for some greater good
16.08 p.200 Once you have given up your rights, there is no going back
16.08 p.200 Democracy is a legitimate gathering of people who do whatever they can do
16.10 p.201 Slavery is not just obedience, but acting only in the interests of the master
16.10 p.201 The freest state is a rational one, where people can submit themselves to reason
16.10 p.201 People are only free if they are guided entirely by reason
16.11 p.202 In democracy we don't abandon our rights, but transfer them to the majority of us
16.14 p.203 The sovereignty has absolute power over citizens
16.21 p.206 State and religious law can clash, so the state must make decisions about religion
17.01 p.208 No one, in giving up their power and right, ceases to be a human being
17.01 p.208 Everyone who gives up their rights must fear the recipients of them
17.02 p.209 Sovereignty must include the power to make people submit to it
17.04 p.211 Every state is more frightened of its own citizens than of external enemies
17.07 p.213 The early Hebrews, following Moses, gave up their rights to God alone
17.08 p.213 If religion is law, then piety is justice, impiety is crime, and non-believers must leave
17.23 p.222 Hebrews were very hostile to other states, who had not given up their rights to God
17.26 p.225 Peoples are created by individuals, not by nature, and only distinguished by language and law
18.05 p.233 Kings tend to fight wars for glory, rather than for peace and liberty
18.05 p.233 Monarchs are always proud, and can't back down
18.06 (1) p.234 Allowing religious ministers any control of the state is bad for both parties
18.06 (2) p.234 Government is oppressive if opinions can be crimes, because people can't give them up
18.07 p.235 Deposing a monarch is dangerous, because the people are used to royal authority
20.05 p.252 Treason may be committed as much by words as by deeds
20.06 p.252 The state aims to allow personal development, so its main purpose is freedom
20.11 p.255 Without liberty of thought there is no trust in the state, and corruption follows
1674 Letters to Hugo Boxel
1674? p.382 The most beautiful hand seen through the microscope will appear horrible
1674 Letter to G.H. Schaller
1674.10 p.390 A thing is free if it acts only by the necessity of its own nature
1675 The Ethics
p.8 Contingency is an illusion, resulting from our inadequate understanding [Cottingham]
p.51 'I think' is useless, because it is contingent, and limited to the first person [Scruton]
p.52 Spinoza implies that thought is impossible without the notion of substance [Scruton]
p.57 For Spinoza, 'adequacy' is the intrinsic mark of truth [Scruton]
p.57 Spinoza's three levels of knowledge are perception/imagination, then principles, then intuitions [Scruton]
p.73 Spinoza's God is just power and necessity, without perfection or wisdom [Leibniz]
p.77 Spinoza strongly attacked teleology, which is the lifeblood of classical logos [Roochnik]
p.79 For Spinoza eyes don't act for purposes, but follow mechanical necessity [Roochnik]
p.86 Emotion is a modification of bodily energy, controlling our actions
p.126 Spinoza extended Hobbes's natural rights to cover all possible desires and actions [Tuck]
p.132 Mind and body are one thing, seen sometimes as thought and sometimes as extension
p.140 Spinoza's life shows that love of truth which he proclaims as the highest value [MacIntyre]
p.142 Along with his pantheism, Spinoza equates ethics with the study of human nature [MacIntyre]
p.143 Spinoza's God is not a person [Jolley]
p.144 Only self-knowledge can liberate us [MacIntyre]
p.159 Spinoza argues that in reality the will and the intellect are 'one and the same' [Cottingham]
p.160 We think we are free because we don't know the causes of our desires and choices
p.168 To understand a phenomenon, we must understand why it is necessary, not merely contingent [Cottingham]
p.172 Spinoza's theory of mind implies that there is no immortality [Stewart,M]
p.177 Stoics want to suppress emotions, but Spinoza overcomes them with higher emotions [Stewart,M]
p.178 Spinoza names self-interest as the sole source of value [Stewart,M]
p.179 God is wholly without passions, and strictly speaking does not love anyone [Cottingham]
p.197 Ideas are powerful entities, which can produce further ideas [Schmid]
p.224 The key question for Spinoza is: is his God really a God? [Stewart,M]
p.236 In Spinoza, one could substitute 'nature' or 'substance' for the word 'God' throughout [Stewart,M]
p.358 God is the sum and principle of all eternal laws [Armstrong,K]
I p.160 That God is the substance of all things is an ill-reputed doctrine [Leibniz]
I Ax 3 p.46 From a definite cause an effect necessarily follows
I Ax 6 p.46 A true idea must correspond with its ideate or object
I Ax 7 p.46 If a thing can be conceived as non-existing, its essence does not involve existence
I Def 1 p.3 Some things makes me conceive of it as a thing whose essence requires its existence
I Def 3 p.45 Substance is that of which an independent conception can be formed
I Def 4 p.3 An 'attribute' is what the intellect takes as constituting an essence
I Def 5 p.3 A 'mode' is an aspect of a substance, and conceived through that substance
I Def 6 p.3 God is a substance with infinite attributes
I Def 6 p.29 Spinoza says a substance of infinite attributes cannot fail to exist [Lord]
I Def 7 p.46 A thing is free if it acts by necessity of its own nature, and the act is determined by itself alone
I Pr 02 p.4 Two substances can't be the same if they have different attributes
I Pr 04 p.5 Outside the mind, there are just things and their properties
I Pr 05 p.5 There cannot be two substances with the same attributes
I Pr 08 p.30 Substance is the power of self-actualisation [Lord]
I Pr 08 n2 p.48 People who are ignorant of true causes imagine anything can change into anything else
I Pr 08 n2 p.50 There is necessarily for each existent thing a cause why it should exist
I Pr 09 p.9 The more reality a thing has, the more attributes it has
I Pr 10 p.10 In nature there is just one infinite substance
I Pr 11 p.10 Denial of God is denial that his essence involves existence, which is absurd
I Pr 11 p.10 There must always be a reason or cause why some triangle does or does not exist
I Pr 11 p.30 God is being as such, and you cannot conceive of the non-existence of being [Lord]
I Pr 11 p.52 God must necessarily exist, because no reason can be given for his non-existence
I Pr 15 p.14 Everything is in God, and nothing exists or is thinkable without God
I Pr 15 p.56 An infinite line can be marked in feet or inches, so one infinity is twelve times the other
I Pr 25 p.25 God is the efficient cause of essences, as well as of existences
I Pr 29 p.68 Divine nature makes all existence and operations necessary, and nothing is contingent
I Pr 32 p.70 God does not act according to the freedom of the will
I Pr 32 p.168 An act of will can only occur if it has been caused, which implies a regress of causes
I Pr 33 p.31 Necessity is in reference to essence or to cause
I Pr 33 p.31 Things are impossible if they imply contradiction, or their production lacks an external cause
I Pr 33 p.70 The actual world is the only one God could have created
I Pr 33 p.71 We only call things 'contingent' in relation to the imperfection of our knowledge
I Pr 33 p.74 To say that God promotes what is good is false, as it sets up a goal beyond God
I Pr 36 p.34 All natures of things produce some effect
IApp p.37 Mathematics deals with the essences and properties of forms
IApp p.37 Final causes are figments of human imagination
IApp p.38 God has no purpose, because God lacks nothing
IApp p.38 Men say they prefer order, not realising that we imagine the order
IApp p.77 Nature has no particular goal in view, and final causes are mere human figments
IApp p.78 Priests reject as heretics anyone who tries to understand miracles in a natural way
II Def 2 p.45 Essence gives existence and conception to things, and is inseparable from them
II Def 3 p.82 An 'idea' is a mental conception which is actively formed by the mind in thinking
II Def 7 p.46 A thing is unified if its parts produce a single effect
II Lem 7 p.61 We can easily think of nature as one individual
II Pr 07 p.50 Ideas and things have identical connections and order
II Pr 10 p.53 The essence of man is modifications of the nature of God
II Pr 10 p.89 The essence of a thing is what is required for it to exist or be conceived
II Pr 11 p.91 The human mind is part of the infinite intellect of God
II Pr 15 p.171 Spinoza held that the mind is just a bundle of ideas [Schmid]
II Pr 17 p.98 If the body is affected by an external object, the mind can't help believing that the object exists
II Pr 17 s p.46 Error does not result from imagining, but from lacking the evidence of impossibility
II Pr 18 p.100 If the body is affected by two things together, the imagining of one will conjure up the other
II Pr 19 p.101 The human mind is the very idea or knowledge of the human body
II Pr 21 p.102 Mind and body are the same thing, sometimes seen as thought, and sometimes as extension
II Pr 21 p.103 Anyone who knows, must know that they know, and even know that they know that they know..
II Pr 23 p.69 Self-knowledge needs perception of the affections of the body
II Pr 29 p.106 The mind only knows itself by means of ideas of the modification of the body
II Pr 29s p.52 Encounters with things confuse the mind, and internal comparisons bring clarity
II Pr 35 p.108 'Free will' is a misunderstanding arising from awareness of our actions, but ignorance of their causes
II Pr 35 p.109 Claiming that actions depend on the will is meaningless; no one knows what the will is
II Pr 37 p.76 Nothing is essential if it is in every part, and is common to everything
II Pr 40 p.55 If our ideas are adequate, what follows from them is also adequate
II Pr 40 p.79 The 'universal' term 'man' is just imagining whatever is the same in a multitude of men
II Pr 43 p.82 True ideas intrinsically involve the highest degree of certainty
II Pr 43S p.58 You only know you are certain of something when you actually are certain of it
II Pr 43S p.59 Truth is its own standard
II Pr 44 p.84 Reason only explains what is universal, so it is timeless, under a certain form of eternity
II Pr 44 p.116 Reason naturally regards things as necessary, and only imagination considers them contingent
II Pr 44 p.117 Reason perceives things under a certain form of eternity
II Pr 45 p.85 Things persevere through a force which derives from God
II Pr 47 p.119 People make calculation mistakes by misjudging the figures, not calculating them wrongly
II Pr 48 p.87 The will is not a desire, but the faculty of affirming what is true or false
II Pr 48 p.120 Ideas are not images formed in the brain, but are the conceptions of thought
II Pr 48S p.170 Faculties are either fictions, or the abstract universals of ideas
II Pr 49 p.88 The idea of a triangle involves truths about it, so those are part of its essence
II Pr 49 p.89 We must be careful to keep words distinct from ideas and images
II Pr 49 p.89 A man who assents without doubt to a falsehood is not certain, but lacks a cause to make him waver
II Pr 49 p.89 Will and intellect are the same thing
II Pr 49 p.90 The will is finite, but the intellect is infinite
II Pr 49 p.123 Would we die if we lacked free will, and were poised between equal foods? Yes!
II Pr 49 sII p.64 An idea involves affirmation or negation
II Pr 49S p.166 Unlike Descartes' atomism, Spinoza held a holistic view of belief [Schmid]
III Pref p.129 Laws of nature are universal, so everything must be understood through those laws
III Def 2 p.98 We are the source of an action if only our nature can explain the action
III Def of Aff I p.104 Whenever we act, then desire is our very essence
III Def2 p.70 We act when it follows from our nature, and is understood in that way
III P59 p.87 The three primary emotions are pleasure, pain, and desire [Goldie]
III Pr 01 p.100 Minds are subject to passions if they have inadequate ideas
III Pr 02 p.101 Animals are often observed to be wiser than people
III Pr 02 p.134 The mind is not free to remember or forget anything
III Pr 04 p.105 Only an external cause can destroy something
III Pr 06 p.75 As far as possible, everything tries to persevere
III Pr 07 p.105 The essence of a thing is its effort to persevere
III Pr 09 p.137 We don't want things because they are good; we judge things to be good because we want them
III Pr 09S p.169 The conatus (striving) of mind and body together is appetite, which is the essence of man
III Pr 10 p.138 We are incapable of formulating an idea which excludes the existence of our body
III Pr 11 p.138 Pleasure is a passive state in which the mind increases in perfection
III Pr 13 p.140 Love is nothing else but pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause
III Pr 49S p.95 We love or hate people more strongly because we think they are free
III Pr14 p.78 Once we have experienced two feelings together, one will always give rise to the other
IIIEm Df 4 p.175 The three primary emotions are pleasure, pain and desire
IV Pref p.115 Music is good for a melancholic, bad for a mourner, and indifferent to the deaf
IV Pref p.163 By 'good' I mean what brings us ever closer to our model of human nature
IV Pref p.163 A horse would be destroyed if it were changed into a man or an insect
IV Pref p.188 A final cause is simply a human desire
IV Def 3 p.164 A thing is contingent if nothing in its essence determines whether or not it exists
IV Pr 03 p.118 Our own force of persevering is nothing in comparison with external forces
IV Pr 18 p.201 Reason demands nothing contrary to nature, and so it demands self-love
IV Pr 18 p.201 Both virtue and happiness are based on the preservation of one's own being
IV Pr 18 p.202 Rational people are self-interested, but also desire the same goods for other people
IV Pr 18S p.126 The ideal for human preservation is unanimity among people
IV Pr 20 p.126 The more we strive for our own advantage, the more virtuous we are
IV Pr 20 p.203 It is impossible that the necessity of a person's nature should produce a desire for non-existence
IV Pr 22 p.179 All virtue is founded on self-preservation
IV Pr 24 p.128 We seek our own advantage, and virtue is doing this rationally
IV Pr 26 p.181 Understanding is the sole aim of reason, and the only profit for the mind
IV Pr 28 p.182 To understand is the absolute virtue of the mind
IV Pr 28 p.496 God is not loveable for producing without choice and by necessity; God is loveable for his goodness [Leibniz]
IV Pr 35 p.132 Men only agree in nature if they are guided by reason
IV Pr 35 p.186 In so far as men live according to reason, they will agree with one another
IV Pr 35 p.209 If people are obedient to reason, they will live in harmony
IV Pr 35 p.210 To live according to reason is to live according to the laws of human nature
IV Pr 36 p.187 To act virtuously is to act rationally
IV Pr 37 p.190 Animals feel, but that doesn't mean we can't use them for our pleasure and profit
IV Pr 39 p.193 The poet who forgot his own tragedies was no longer the same man
IV Pr 44 p.195 Love is joy with an external cause
IV Pr 50 p.199 People who live according to reason should avoid pity
IV Pr 50 p.200 A person unmoved by either reason or pity to help others is rightly called 'inhuman'
IV Pr 50 p.221 Pity is a bad and useless thing, as it is a pain, and rational people perform good deeds without it
IV Pr 51 p.222 A rational person will want others to have the goods he seeks for himself
IV Pr 52 p.201 Self-satisfaction is the highest thing for which we can hope
IV Pr 56 p.203 A man ignorant of himself is ignorant of all of the virtues
IV Pr 57 p.204 The sum of its angles follows from a triangle's nature
IV Pr 58 p.205 Pity is not a virtue, but at least it shows a desire to live uprightly
IV Pr 59 p.227 Pleasure is only bad in so far as it hinders a man's capability for action
IV Pr 64 p.210 If our ideas were wholly adequate, we would have no concept of evil
IV Pr 67 p.151 The wisdom of a free man is a meditation on life, not on death
IV Pr 69 p.213 In a free man, choosing flight can show as much strength of mind as fighting
IVApp 04 p.237 Man's highest happiness consists of perfecting his understanding, or reason
IVApp 09 p.218 The best use of talent is to teach other people to live rationally
IVApp 21 p.220 Slavery is a disgraceful crime
IVApp 29 p.222 Rational people judge money by needs, and live contented with very little
V Pr 03 p.248 An emotion comes more under our control in proportion to how well it is known to us
V Pr 06 p.233 If infancy in humans was very rare, we would consider it a pitiful natural defect
V Pr 09 p.251 An emotion is only bad if it hinders us from thinking
V Pr 10 p.236 If we are not wholly wise, we should live by good rules and maxims
V Pr 17 p.239 God feels no emotions, of joy or sorrow
V Pr 23 p.172 After death, something eternal remains of the mind
V Pr 23 p.260 The eyes of the mind are proofs
V Pr 36 n p.265 Knowledge is the essence of the mind
1675 Improvement of Understanding
95 p.24 To understand the properties we must know the essence, as with a circle
p.35 p.20 All the intrinsic properties of a thing should be deducible from its definition