Philosophy Of Spinoza

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Erik Morque
Philosophy 213
Midterm question 2

The post Cartesian era of philosophy witnessed Benedict de Spinoza rise to prominence in the late 17th century. revered as one of the great rationalist, Spinoza built upon, and often disagreed with, the philosophical foundation provided by Rene Descartes. Spinoza is best known for Ethics, his metaphysical approach to rational philosophy. within the ethics, Spinoza takes a notably divergent approach from Cartesianism in which he presents the doctrine of the single substance to explain how the universe works.
The single substance doctrine, otherwise known as substance monism is largely presented in part one of Ethics. Spinoza begins part one with a series of definitions. The most important of these definitions is substance. “By substance, I understand what is in itself and is conceived throughout itself, that is, that whose concept does not require the concept of another thing, from which it must be formed.” (ethics part 1, definition 3) in this quote from the ethics, it is evident that Spinoza places great importance on the concept of “substance.” By defining substance as existing through itself, Spinoza establishes that substance is highest form of metaphysical classification. furthermore, by not requiring the concept of another thing in order to understand its own concept, Spinoza essentially indicates that substance stands on its own, independent from all other things. Spinoza, furthermore, goes on to claim that substance is infinite and all things in nature are derivative from it. Spinoza then moves on to explain the concepts of attributes and modes. “by attribute I understand what the intellect perceives of a substance, as constituting its essence.” in this quote Spinoza ...

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... substance. Spinoza rejects these claims by Descartes within the single substance doctrine.”the thing extended and the thinking thing are either attributes of god or affections (modes) of the attributes of god” (ethics 1 pg 8) in this quote from the ethics Spinoza explains that mind and body are simply just properties of the same substance and are therefore unified under the single substance doctrine. overall, Spinoza and Cartesianism differ on the foundational premise of monism versus dualism.
In the Post Cartesian era, Benedict de Spinoza offered up a new spin on rationalist philosophy and is considered the father of metaphysical intellect. HIs contribution to philosophy not only questioned Cartesianism, but also basic theology as a whole. HIs single substance theory marked the stark divergence from Cartesianism and a new branch of monistic philosophical thought.
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