§1 De Deo / Of God

BS: D1. Per causam sui intelligo id cujus essentia involvit existentiam sive id cujus natura non potest concipi nisi existens.

SS: D1. By that which is self-caused I mean that whose essence involves existence; or that whose nature can be conceived only as existing.

:: What does BS understand by conceivability?

BS: D2. Ea res dicitur in suo genere finita quæ alia ejusdem naturæ terminari potest. Exempli gratia corpus dicitur finitum quia aliud semper majus concipimus. Sic cogitatio alia cogitatione terminatur. At corpus non terminatur cogitatione nec cogitatio corpore.

SS: D2. A thing is said to be finite in its own kind (in suo genere finita) when it can be limited by another thing of the same nature. For example, a body is said to be finite because we can always conceive of another body greater than it. So, too, a thought is limited by another thought. But body is not limited by thought, not thought by body.

:: Note emphasis on conceivability and extension. But in this context, how can one thought be said to be limited by another thought?

BS: D3. Per substantiam intelligo id quod in se est et per se concipitur hoc est id cujus conceptus non indiget conceptu alterius rei a quo formari debeat.

SS: D3. By substance I mean that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; that is, that the conception of which does not require the conception of another thing from which it has to be formed.

:: Substance is conceived through itself, in that sense independent.

BS: D4. Per attributum intelligo id quod intellectus de substantia percipit tanquam ejusdem essentiam constituens.

SS: D4. By attribute I mean that which the intellect perceives of substance as constituting its essence.

:: Attributes make up the essence of substance, as perceived by the intellect.

:: What does BS understand by perception?

BS: D5. Per modum intelligo substantiæ affectiones sive id quod in alio est, per quod etiam concipitur.

SS: D5. By mode I mean the affections of substance; that is, that which is in something else and is conceived through something else.

:: Mode is form of affection of substance that is (i) in something else, and (ii) conceived through something else.

BS: D6. Per Deum intelligo ens absolute infinitum hoc est substantiam constantem infinitis attributis quorum unumquodque æternam et infinitam essentiam exprimit.

SS: D6. By God I mean an absolutely infinite being; that is, substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence.

:: How does BS envisage ‘infinite’?

:: So these attributes then are (i) positive qualities – their absence in substance is not itself an attribute; and (ii) can be simultaneously held or constituted?

SS: D7. That thing is said to be free (liber) which exists solely from the necessity of its own nature, and is determined to action by itself alone. A thing is said to be necessary (necessarius) or rather, constrained (coactus), if it is determined by another thing to exist and to act in a definite and determinate way.

:: So it follows that infinite things are necessarily free?


SS: Explic. For such existence is conceived as an eternal truth, just as is the essence of the thing, and therefore cannot be explicated through duration or time, even if duration be conceived as without beginning and end.

:: Why cannot ‘eternal truths’ be explicated through other conceptions? Cf. Kant’s synthetic truths.

SS: A7. If a thing can be conceived as not existing, its essence does not involve existence.

:: But what requirements must be met for us to speak of such a thing as [conceived as not existing]?

3 Responses to “§1 De Deo / Of God”

  1. Cheryl E. Fitzgerald says:

    “How does BS envisage ‘infinite’?”

    Exactly as he says, unlimited, and unbounded: that which has no end, no edge where it stops and something else is. That should be understood both temporally and spatially.

    “But what requirements must be met for us to speak of such a thing as [conceived as not existing]?”

    That it is limited, and bound: that for which there is an end, an edge where it stops and something else is.

    Remember what I said: you must keep reading in order to understand what you have already read.

    Let Grandfather Spinoza take your hand and show you around for awhile. It will make sense later, when you’ve taken enough in and given it time to sink in, when you’ve revisited it many times, pondering the mysteries Spinoza spat out at you, when suddenly you will see in the world what it was he was trying to show you.


  2. Jelte says:

    CeF: That should be understood both temporally and spatially.

    :: So does BS view thoughts as being bounded because they are phenomena of finite duration?

  3. Jelte says:

    CeF: That it is limited, and bound: that for which there is an end, an edge where it stops and something else is.

    :: Okay, but what I am after is this: what does it mean for something to be conceivable [or not] as existing in the first place? Again, what is conceivability to BS?

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