A Study of Spinoza's Ethics by Jonathan Bennett PDF

A Study of Spinoza's Ethics by Jonathan Bennett PDF

By Jonathan Bennett

ISBN-10: 0915145839

ISBN-13: 9780915145836

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

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Descartes probably didn't, and Leibniz and Spinoza certainly didn't. Leibniz indeed used that idea as a basis for arguing that ordinary physical things are not substances: he does not talk about their being causally vulnerable to things outside them, but rather about their not being 'simple'; and he maintains that that disqualifies them from counting as, by strictest and most serious standards, subjects of predication. I shall explain. Consider whether an army is a substance. What makes it an army-its 'essence', as Leibniz says-is the fact that a number of men are interrelated in a certain way.

He holds that reality must be composed of substances, rigorously so-called; so he has a problem about how to bring § 15 Substance tn the rationalists the concept of substance to bear on the world of extended things. He denies that the latter are composed of unextended parts: the size of an extended thing must be the sum of the sizes of its nonoverlapping parts, says Leibniz, and if none of them has any size then neither has the whole. He therefore declines to apply the concept of substance to the extended world in any way at all.

Even if an army is not literally a property or relation, it is something which can be handled predicatively; it can be exhaustively treated without any substantival reference to it; and it has that in common with such clearly nonsubstantial items as blushes and roundnessses and heroisms. For a blush to exist is for a face to be briefly red; for an army to exist is for some soldiers to be related by chains of command. Next, Leibniz infers that nothing with spatial parts is a substance. Any thing with parts is just a more or less tightly bound aggregate or collection, he thinks, with differences in tightness of bonding having no metaphysical significance.

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A Study of Spinoza's Ethics by Jonathan Bennett


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