1. Rene Descartes argues that there are two basic categories of existence (being), or substance: Minds and Bodies.Thus, whereas Aristotle saw “soul (the Form of the Body) and matter as a unity, Descartes sees them as categorically distinct, thus ushering in the problem of how do the two categories relate, or interact, when they are radically different.
What do you think of such a program?
question 2. Descartes, like Spinoza, will use the strategy of the “Ontological Argument,” for the existence of God. the claim is that there must be such an entity, because God is an entity which is necessary, and thus must exist. Thus, in Descartes case he will introduce here a third category of existence – because the human mind cannot be identical with God. Descartes then will affirm that God is no deceiver, thus the reality of the material world is established, only in so far as its “essence,” or extension.
How do you see this relationship?
3.Spinoza will ultimately affirm a philosophical monism. This means that he will affirm a singular basic reality, “Substance,” or as he states, “God,” or “Nature.” This move makes it possible to avert any issues with Dualism concerning interaction between mind and matter. Further, this means that he may incorporate Descartes’ notion of God, and claim that all being has its foundation in God, or Nature (the terms being interchangeable).
What might your initial thoughts be for such a project?
4. Spinoza opens “The Ethics” in an unusual fashion by listing 8 definitions. By this tactic he is setting the stage for what follows, especially in terms of: “Substance, Attribute, and Mode.”
What might be your first impressions of this approach?
5. Spinoza’s next task is list a set of Axioms, or that which is assumed to be self-defining (Cf. Analytic Propositions).
What are your thoughts concerning this strategy, as axioms will be, as are the definitions, a window into Spinoza’s project?
6. Spinoza’s third step is to list a set of propositions, or hypotheses. This is a set of statements which he will use to establish the framework for his discussion of the notion that there is only one substance, with various attributes and modes.
The first fifteen propositions are key to unfolding Spinoza’s grand vision of the universe being a singular system which can be rationally understood. Indeed the Universe then, on Spinoza’s account may be referred to as “God,” “Substance,” or Nature. And this singular substance has features known as “modes,” or modifications of the singular substance, as well as observing that this singular substance has an infinite array of “attributes,” of which only two are paramount: “Thought,” or Ideas, and “Extension,” or Bodies. That is to say: Ideas and Things.
What might be your thoughts on this outlook?
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