Spinoza: Argument for Divine Nature

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kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 10:34 am
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;69872 wrote:
but c'mon church... play nice. Leibniz doesn't really care to much about that since he was Jewish, but because he was Jewish, he faced ostracism from his community who feared some sort of reaction from the christian community.



:perplexed: Leibniz was a Jew? He was a Christian. Spinoza was a Jew. He was excommunicated from the Synagogue in Amsterdam.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 04:58 pm
@Kooks phil,
LOL! And right both you are. Spinoza was Jewish and Leibniz was not. Typo. But seems kinda odd that Leibniz would all of the sudden come into the conversation about Ethics without context. Ooops.

Personally, I don't really care if Spinoza (or Leibniz for another matter) were Hindu, Baha'i, or whatever. But this is not to say that personal history is not important compared to his intellectual history. If Spinoza was not excommunicated from the Jewish community, he would not have taken more interest in his profession as a lens grinder which enabled him to have the time necessary to become a scholar and philosopher. This is also indirectly linked to his subsequent move to Leydon and the Hague, where he met Leibniz.
 
richrf
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 05:59 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
Hi,

Einstein had an interesting quote about his beliefs and Spinoza:

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."



Einstein clarifies his view of God because of his use of God in his famous quote:

"God does not play dice with the universe."


For all philosophers living at the time of Spinoza, I feel it would be very difficult expressing all of their thoughts. Religious institutions had much reason to suppress all ideas that might undermine their authority. In many ways similar conditions still exist today. So I give Spinoza's words lots of slack, understanding the constraints he was writing under.

For me, the general notion of a Universal Substance, is very similar to the notions found in Doaism (the Dao), and Heraclitus Logos. Similar notions appear throughout history and they emanate from the feeling that in order for one thing to affect another, all things must be somehow connected. If there is any disconnection whatsover, they cannot affect each other. There is a good chance that Spinoza rejected Descartes dualism for this reason.

Rich
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 08:04 pm
@richrf,
richrf;74124 wrote:
Hi,

Einstein had an interesting quote about his beliefs and Spinoza:

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."

Einstein clarifies his view of God because of his use of God in his famous quote:

"God does not play dice with the universe."


For all philosophers living at the time of Spinoza, I feel it would be very difficult expressing all of their thoughts. Religious institutions had much reason to suppress all ideas that might undermine their authority. In many ways similar conditions still exist today. So I give Spinoza's words lots of slack, understanding the constraints he was writing under.

For me, the general notion of a Universal Substance, is very similar to the notions found in Doaism (the Dao), and Heraclitus Logos. Similar notions appear throughout history and they emanate from the feeling that in order for one thing to affect another, all things must be somehow connected. If there is any disconnection whatsover, they cannot affect each other. There is a good chance that Spinoza rejected Descartes dualism for this reason.

Rich

That's interesting, I did not know that Einstein had referenced Spinoza in one way or another, so good fact. Spinoza conceived of a god that had these attributes;

1. Has no goals, emotions, or plans
2. Does not have free will
3. Is physical (as well as mental)
4. Is not separate from the world
5. Has no inherent moral properties (like justice or benevolence)
6. Is adequately known by us (through his supra-temporal essence)

These are actually points outlined in Ethics, Metaphysical Thoughts, Principles of Cartesian Philosophy, as well as bits from Theologico. But on the whole, nearly all of these points are put forward in Ethics. But I agree with you that there would have been an increasing difficulty in publishing with such a heavy influence by the Catholic church. But on the same note, the Catholic church was also patron to many other philosophers and artists, as well as scientists and theoreticians. The church giveth and the church taketh away. You get the preservation of a good deal of intellectual history on one hand and the destruction of some on the other. I think the trend has been for the past century to blame the church for pretty much everything though because it is losing its practical relevancy in a world of increasing emphasis of empirical doctrines. Do those conditions exist today? Not really. We tend to think the world is coming down on us in recent memory and complete remove the more serious instances in history. The church is not as powerful as it once was, and its hold over intellectual progress is severely less strangling.

With all that being said, as well as the points outlined on Spinozas god, your points are very interesting. In the Taoist tradition, if I'm not mistaken, it seems similar to Leibniz more than Spinoza. Taoists like Wang Dao tend to believe less in a singular substance then in a preservation of substance in general which do not go out of existence but change. Ironically, Wang Dao believes in a fundamental principle of energy, which should sound in check with the principle of conservation we know and love today. This in turn seems more like Leibniz and monodology, where monads are the plurality of substances in the plenum/universe and exists since conception, coming to effect only when they reflect the universe most accurately (dominant monad). Spinoza's god is inherently singular. In Hereclitian tradition, Heraclitus believes in a primary substance of fire (in the classic bow-and-string sense), saying, "All things are an exchange of fire and fire for all things, as gold is for goods and goods are for gold." (fragment B90) So you definitely have a point when you posit some method of connection and problematic occurrences if there is some disconnection.

However, I do not follow you when you say that Spinoza would reject Descartes dualism for these reasons though. It seems like this would be somewhat in tune with Descartes on a fundamental level.
 
richrf
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 08:35 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
Hi there,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. A few comments, to continue the discussion:

VideCorSpoon;74153 wrote:
But on the same note, the Catholic church was also patron to many other philosophers and artists, as well as scientists and theoreticians. The church giveth and the church taketh away. ... Do those conditions exist today? Not really. We tend to think the world is coming down on us in recent memory and complete remove the more serious instances in history. The church is not as powerful as it once was, and its hold over intellectual progress is severely less strangling.


I guess one should consider the donations by the Church similar to lobby money and research grants spent by corporations. Money spent in order to achieve certain results. I still think it is very prevalent today among all types of religions, the influence of which I think is still quite strong though somewhat tempered by influences from other non-religious institutions.

Quote:
With all that being said, as well as the points outlined on Spinozas god, your points are very interesting. In the Taoist tradition, if I'm not mistaken, it seems similar to Leibniz more than Spinoza. Taoists like Wang Dao tend to believe less in a singular substance then in a preservation of substance in general which do not go out of existence but change.


I hesitate to speak for all Daoists, for I am sure there there many, many beliefs among all sects. So, instead let me just recite a couple of verses from the Dao De Jing:

Chapter 1

The dao that can be said is not the everlasting Dao.
If a name can be named, it is not the everlasting Name.
That which has no name is the origin of heaven and earth;
That which has a name is the Mother of all things.

Chapter 42

Tao gives birth to unity,
Unity gives birth to duality [Yin and Yang]
Duality gives birth to trinity [Yin, Yang and Qi]
and trinity gives birth to dall things.

One way of describing Qi would be to be basic energy. The closest analog in modern physics would be the motion of an electron.

Thus all things are unified, and the polarity of opposites together with motion forms all things. The Taiji symbol is used to symbolize this idea:

http://users.erols.com/dantao/oldtaijisymbol.jpg

Notice the unity of opposites, the spiraling motion, and the how spirals can create new things. Similar to quantum waves.


Quote:
In Hereclitian tradition, Heraclitus believes in a primary substance of fire (in the classic bow-and-string sense), saying, "All things are an exchange of fire and fire for all things, as gold is for goods and goods are for gold." (fragment B90) So you definitely have a point when you posit some method of connection and problematic occurrences if there is some disconnection.


I believe that the Hereclitian notion of fire, which figures prominantly in Daoist literature, is an analog for Qi, energy, or motion. Heraclitus thought as the Daoist do that all is in flux and changing.

Quote:
However, I do not follow you when you say that Spinoza would reject Descartes dualism for these reasons though. It seems like this would be somewhat in tune with Descartes on a fundamental level.


There does not seem to be any duality in Spinoza's, Heraclitus, or Daoist thinking. All is unity and from the opposites in unity and the motion created, things are born.

Now, for a bit of my own thoughts here. I see the motion begining with a Willful desire to bend in and create spirals (the Universe looking at itself). I believe that this same Will is contained in every part of the Universe (Dao or Logos). Spinoza, however, seems to be a determined Determinists. Smile

Hope this is helpful in understanding my perspective.

Rich
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 08:15 pm
@richrf,
I think Spinoza should be understood as the rationalization of an intuition. We need to consider the religious / mythological significance of monism.

Spinoza is a revision of monotheism. Kojeve points out some contradictions in Spinoza, but these contradictions are not important.

Spinoza is sublime, noble, serene. He offers a fusion of the rational and the religious.

---------- Post added 11-24-2009 at 09:20 PM ----------

I don't think it is at all provable, for instance, that all is one. I think the human mind is programmed (for lack of a better word) to perceive existence as a singularity. I think Kant says something about this.

But it doesn't matter so much what is provable. Nothing is ultimately proven. Persuasion are more or less successful. Spinoza is the thinking man's monotheism. And Hegel is the fancy version of Spinoza. If you like Spinoza, read about Hegel.
 
 

 
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