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By Jonathan Bennett

"With an amazing erudition . . . and in an immediate no-nonsense variety, Bennett expounds, compares, and criticizes Spinoza’s theses. . . . not anyone can fail to benefit from it. Bennett has succeeded in making Spinoza a thinker of our time." --W. N. A. Klever, Studia Spinoza

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Extra resources for A Study of Spinoza's Ethics

Sample text

Balz, op. , p. 71. 28. Curley, Spinoza's Metaphysics; see for example p. 124. 29. See for example Balz's p. 52 for an attempt to give a third realm reading to Spinoza's phrase 'action of the mind'. 3 The One Substance Doctrine This chapter will expound Spinoza's official argument for his doctrine that there is only one substance. There ts some preliminary explaining to do. §15. 1. _its concept of _substance. The root idea is that of what has properties or is asubject of predication; but that is too thin to be useful, since anything can be a subject of predication-his honesty is pleasing, but honesty is not a substance.

IV I 46 I 3 ) The clue to understanding this is the fact that Spinoza often uses psychological language to make logical or conceptual points (see § 14). I think that here he is saying that substance differs from attribute only by the difference between a substantival and an adjectival presentation of the very same content. If we look for how that which is extended (substance) differs from extension (attribute), we find that it consists only in the notion of that which has ... extension or thought or whatever; and that, Spinoza thinks, adds nothing 9.

Although 'conceived' sounds psychological, 'concept' can be logical, and there can be no doubt that substance is here being defined in terms of some kind of logical independence or self-sufficiency. A little later Spinoza offers two arguments running from ld3 to the conclusion that 'a substance cannot be produced by anything else' ( 1p6c). Neither looks much like an appeal to causal rationalism, but I shall contend later that in this stretch of the Ethics Spinoza's arguments do not point accurately to the structure of his thought.

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