Spinoza defines a substance as something ‘conceived through itself’ , there cannot be anything that causes a substance as it is ‘self-explanatory’ . Therefore, Spinoza reasons, it comes to follow that one substance cannot be caused by another, and so two substances must essentiality not share any attributes.
However, having two, or more, substances, cannot explain why this number of substances exist, and so, Spinoza explains the world as having just one substance with infinite attributes, which avoids having to make this impossible explanation. Spinoza’s reasons his argument in proposition V by stating that ‘there cannot exist in the universe two or more substances having the same nature or attribute’ .
He argues to highlight the difference between substances and the importance of distinguishability, as based on his earlier propositions I and IV, that there ‘cannot be granted several substances, but one substance only.’ Whilst inspecting Spinoza’s work it is important to analyse previous arguments and the assumptions that the focused proposition is set upon. For example proposition V rests upon axioms I and IV, as well as, definitions III, V, VI. By backwardly engineering the argument, Spinoza lays out a firm, clear argument that builds from the basic definition of a substance to an argument pertaining the reasoning of his argument.
Substance monism expresses one subst...
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...rehand be proved that the statement itself is true. The problem remains that, there is nothing to validate the definition of Spinoza’s ‘substance’ any more than ‘substance’ defined by Plato or David Hume for example. The subjectivity of definition as a principle, especially if taken only at face value of the reader, leaves a poor foundation for a philosophical argument. This remains to be Spinoza’s biggest weakness of his ‘Deus sive Natura’.
Spinoza develops his ideas of substance in relation to God and/or Nature in the Ethics, the reasoning he uses is based off of his idea that the universe is not a culmination of materials and a separate deity, but rather that to two are intrinsically linked. His argument, though sometimes difficult to read, is coherently traceable back to the beginning to show the reasoning that leads to the assumptions made in the propositions.
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