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refutation of Spinoza #1762
Wed Mar 19, 2003 7:12 PM
Wed Mar 19, 2003 7:12 PM

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I need to write a refutation to Spinoza's monism for my History of Philosophy class. However, I must admit that he is somewhat out of my league. I've also had very little luck finding any substantial refutation of his views (the best I've found so far is a chapter on Pantheism in Hodge's Systematic Theology). Does anybody here happen to know of any exceptional resources or want to offer up their own critique of the first part of Spinoza's Ethics? [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/smile.gif" alt="smile" title="smile[/img]

Re: refutation of Spinoza #1763
Wed Mar 19, 2003 9:36 PM
Wed Mar 19, 2003 9:36 PM
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Briefly, of course he was expelled-from the synagogue in Amsterdam for his heretical beliefs, including pantheism.<br><br>Mind-body parallelism is usually associated with Baruch Spinoza. His theory affirms that both mental and physical events exist but that no causal interaction between them occurs--parallel railroad tracks that never meet...On one track occurs mental events, while all physical events are confined to the second track. Every time either a mental or physical event occurs, a corresponding event appears on the other tack. His explanation of this was based on his claim that mind and body are attributes or aspects of one more fundamental substance--for Spinoza that one substance was a pantheistic God. (Ronald Nash, Life's Ultimate Questions).<br><br>Spinoza, Baruch (Benedict): (1632-1677) Dutch Jewish philosopher; wrote 1. Ethics Based on Geometry and 2. Theologico-Political Treatise. Reality is Infinite Substance or God. "By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite a substance consisting in infinite attributes." From the human standpoint, two attributes are intelligible: consciousness (mind) and extension (matter). mind and body, thought and motion, are parallel; the causal succession of physical events is paralleled by the logical succession of ideas (parallelism). God and the universe are one (pantheism). God is immanent cause not creator. All events are interdependent and necessary (determinism). "The whole endless series of bodies with their divisions, forms, and motions, are the modes of extension (matter), just as the endless series of minds with their ideas and volitions are the modes of consciousness (mind)." Spinoza's monism attempts the reconciliation of idealism and materialism. He is a rationalist in epistemology; pantheist in metaphysics. <br><br>Here is some things on line--quick search--I did not read the materials (Besides these sources Geisler's Introduction to Philosophy has some material on him):<br><br>The Philosophy of Benedict Spinoza<br>Benedict Spinoza (1634-77)<br>FREE WILL AND MORAL RESPONSIBILITY, by John M. Frame<br>Gordon Clark's Extraordinary, View of Men & Things<br>PHILOSOPHY INTERNET RESOURCES<br><br>As usual all sources are used at the readers own risk. If one should become confused during the use of such material the Highway will disavow any knowledge of your existence.


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Re: refutation of Spinoza [Re: J_Edwards] #1764
Thu Mar 20, 2003 4:01 PM
Thu Mar 20, 2003 4:01 PM

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Joe:<br><br>Thanks for the reply. However, none of those sources really offer what I'm looking for (1 link is broken, 2 only have Spinoza's name one each in a list of the philosophers of his time and the other 2 only explain his statements).<br><br>I've actually read and comprehended Spinoza's Ethics. What I can't do is refute his argument.<br><br>One problem is the "mind-body parallelism" noted in your post. Spinoza notes in the Ethics "P2: Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another." From this he concludes that a thinking substance cannot be the cause of an extended substance. As God (as He is commonly perceived) is not an extended substance, He cannot be the cause of the universe. Therefore, Spinoza must conclude that God is consubstantial with the physical universe (or else He could not be its cause). This also has implications in the mind/body duality. If mind is a thinking substance, and body an extended substance, how do the two affect each other? Spinoza concludes it is impossible (therefore, mind and body are consubstantial). Ultimately, Spinoza uses this one statement as the basis of his monism (the other major proposition being "P5: In nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute" leading to "P7: Every substance is necessarily infinite").<br><br>I believe that Hodge has a good beginning to addressing the necessity of infinite substances well by stating that the existence of an infinite line does not preclude the existence of a finite line (line segment, to be technical -- if my memory of geometry serves me). However, that only deals with Spinoza's definition of infinite; it doesn't deal with Spinoza's question of how one distinguishes between to substances of the same type (P5 of the first part of the Ethics).<br><br>I also still haven't found a good answer to the question of the relations of substances of different attributes. That is, if our mind is spiritual (a spiritual or thinking substance), then how does it affect the body (an extended substance)? Also, there is the issue of God creating and interacting with a substance completely unlike Himself (I think this would be solved if the previous question could be answered however).<br><br>So, if you or somebody else knew of something dealing with those issues, that is what I really need (to be quite specific).<br><br>Take care,


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