Sostuvo una abundante correspondencia con intelectuales de toda Europa. En J. Es decir, que alma y cuerpo no son entes separados, sino que se trata de una y la misma cosa pero vista desde distintas perspectivas E, III, p2, esc. En otras palabras: puede disminuir o aumentar su potencia [n. Dispuestas estas consideraciones, cabe decir que el problema a plantearse seriamente es el de la posibilidad del conocimiento verdadero. Su apariencia ha sido re-construida.

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Indeed, in his masterwork, Ethics, Spinoza set out to prove certain theorems which are to be deduced from axioms in the manner of Euclidean geometry. Whether or not he was successful in this endeavor has been a matter for over three intervening centuries of scholarship and If rationality is defined as the capacity to solve problems, anticipate consequences and understand causes of events, one would be hard pressed to find its more complete realization than in the philosophy of Benedict Spinoza.

Whether or not he was successful in this endeavor has been a matter for over three intervening centuries of scholarship and debate. Yet Spinoza anticipated his detractors, if not through his philosophy, then by answering them explicitly, "I do not presume to have discovered the best philosophy, but I know that I understand the true one. Three essential aspects of his particular stripe of rational thought are: first, his confidence in the ability of reason to supply us with dependable knowledge epistemology ; secondly, his conviction that the universe itself is governed by rational law metaphysics ; and lastly, his certainty that reason is the one acceptable guide to living ethics.

In essence, only belief in the intelligibility of the world, ourselves included, will provide the motivation necessary for pushing through our own limitations. He proposes that knowledge is derived in three separate, yet progressively linked, ways: knowledge acquired from sense perception is of the lowest level, and while of some value, is neither completely authentic nor consistent. Knowledge at the next level is found in the rational, as scientific principles. These ideas Spinoza refers to as adequate ideas, considered as such because they are logically related and one can have complete certainty about them in the same way one has complete certainty in the mathematical logic of, say, six is to three as four is to two.

Knowledge at the third and highest level Spinoza terms scientific intuition. Knowledge at this stage is wholly contingent upon mastery of the previous stage of knowledge, the rational, which it then enables one to transcend. This is the insight that enables one to see possibilities that are beyond the current realm of scientific knowledge.

One who possesses such intuitive knowledge understands that everything is necessary to the whole of the eternal order of things, and as such, the universe is rendered as a single absolute system that is governed by rational law. It is from such an unequivocal position that Spinoza promotes the tenets of the Ethics.

His epistemology is inextricably tied to his metaphysics and takes up the first three parts of the treatise, wherein he argues that the Universe is cause of itself. And it is in the working out of this element of his philosophy that the most distinctive, and perhaps most remarkable, claims of Spinozism are made. Living at the early dawn of the Enlightenment, Spinoza felt the need to interpret the nature of God in language sufficient to do justice to the new universe that science was explaining.

The problem Spinoza perceived is not to prove the existence of God, but to find what God is really like. His first step was to define the existence of God in such a way as to make it incontrovertible.

This concept is regarded as substance monism by contemporary philosophers, in that there is only one root thing from which all other things stem. And it is this root thing which Spinoza alternately calls substance, or God. He maintains that a there is a substance that has every attribute; b there cannot be two substances that have an attribute in common; c there cannot be a substance that has no attributes, and consequently; d there cannot be two substances.

As a result, this uniquely self-determining substance, God, cannot be produced by anything other than itself. As such, God is immanent in the rational order of the universe; the rational order which is expressed through the natural world and in human thought.

If something exists other than God, it is either within and dependent upon God, in which case it is merely a finite expression of God, what Spinoza calls a mode; or it is without God, in which case something exists which is not God, whereby God is limited, and therefore itself finite, which is impossible because God has been demonstrated to be infinite.

A necessary consequence of this claim is that the only entity exhibiting anything resembling free will in the universe is God, because everything else is necessarily dependent upon it, or, as Spinoza himself puts it, "God is, and acts solely by the necessity of His own nature; He is the free cause of all things. Or, as Spinoza would have it, "men believe themselves to be free, simply because they are conscious of their actions, and unconscious of the causes whereby those actions are determined.

While it may induce existential panic in most of my literary-minded, free will sympathetic friends, I find it liberating. The determinism of Spinoza, a consequence of his claim of holism, leads into his next claim in the Ethics, that the mind and body are really the same thing conceived under the Cartesian attributes of Thought and Extension.

It therefore follows that God, the natural universe as a whole, can be conceived as simultaneously a system of extended or material things and a system of thinking or immaterial things. As such, mind and body, expressions of the attributes of Thought and Extension, are nothing more than different sides of the same coin.

Spinoza sees the scientific knowledge of the body through reason advancing from, rather than opposed to, awareness of the body through sense and imagination. His rationalism is a consequence of empiricism, not in competition with it. Still, rational knowledge is not possible without prior empirical experience; as a result, the mind, as the rational, is a necessary and ascendant consequence of the body, as the empirical.

Knowledge based solely on empiricism is then, strictly speaking, reactive, whereas knowledge based upon rationalism is proactive.

This idea is not false if considered at merely the sensory level of knowledge, but is inadequate at the next level of knowledge, in as much as it is demonstrated that the sun is a gigantic star millions of miles away. The reason Spinoza addresses epistemological and metaphysical questions in the first place is because he feels that they are a necessary foundation for ethical questions.

We must first know our potentialities and our relation to Nature, otherwise our ideas about moral philosophy will simply be projections of our imaginations. Spinoza understands that the rational laws of science, being comprehensive, are just as applicable to human life as they are to the physical universe. Ethical behavior becomes a matter of applied psychology. The virtuous man is not one who lives in accord with moral commandments imposed upon him by some external, vengeful authority, but the man who acts in accordance with his nature.

A nature which has been laid bare to him. And it is by exercising freedom, as he defines it, that one acts in an ethical manner. An example of a confused idea addressed by Spinoza is emotion.

Our emotions, he contends, are a result of ignorance. If knowledge of this kind is insufficient, so much more so is a life that is based on it. The free man is conscious of his compulsions and seeks to understand them. Indeed, the concept of good and evil is relative and has nothing to do with that eternal nature.

Spinoza writes, "So every man, according to his emotions, judges a thing to be good or bad, useful or useless. Things are neither good nor evil in and of themselves, they are just necessary to the universe as a whole. Coming to this awareness is no simple task, but if one extrapolates rationalism in the manner prescribed by Spinoza, it is a necessary outgrowth.

It is only in comprehending the universe that man can rise above it, for as the philosopher reminds us, "The intellectual love of God, which arises from the intuitive kind of knowledge, is eternal.


Spinoza, Baruch - Etica Demostrada Segun Orden Geometrico

Ahora bien: deducir todo ello a partir de la naturaleza del alma humana no corresponde a este lugar. Corolario: Nadie envidia por su virtud a alguien que no sea su igual. Como ya he dicho a menudo, los hombres son, sin duda, conscientes de sus acciones y apetitos, pero inconscientes de las causas que los determinan a apetecer algo. Nadie puede desear ser feliz, obrar bien y vivir bien, si no desea al mismo tiempo ser, obrar y vivir, esto es, existir en acto. El deseo, en efecto, de vivir felizmente, o sea, de vivir y obrar bien, etc.


ESPINOSA BARUCH - Etica Demostrada Segun El Orden Geometrico[1]


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