Spinoza Argument On Substance Monism

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Spinoza argued for substance monism. For the purpose of this paper, I will discuss Spinoza’s argument for substance monism. I will then explore how Spinoza’s view of substance monism is relevant to absurdist claims that there is no meaning in existence. I will then raise an issue with Spinoza’s seventh axiom. I will then conclude with why Spinoza’s substance monism is not entirely convincing in large part because of his definition of God and his seventh axiom. Substance monism is the claim that one infinite substance is the only substance that exists. Spinoza begins by arguing that substances essentially exists and that every substance has at least one attribute. This can be seen by his definitions of both substance and attribute.…show more content…
That question is the one raised by absurdism. Being, how can we derive meaning when nothing that exists has meaning, nothing exists on purpose, and therefore human life is absurd. Spinoza’s substance monism directly confronts this question by asserting the claim that there is essentially meaning in life because we are all a part of one substance which is God. However, while this may seem like it directly refutes the absurdist’s claim that nothing in existence has meaning it does not. The issue with the solving of this problem is in Spinoza’s definition of God. Spinoza defines God as “a being absolutely infinite-that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality.” The issue with this definition can be found within the word essentiality. I take issue with this definition because I disagree with his definition of God. Nothing in existence is essential and therefore to posit the claim that God is essential is a direct contradiction. Spinoza’s method of proving one substance relies upon his definitions and reason. I take further issue with this method because God cannot be proven through reason alone. Through this same reasoning Spinoza gives life too much meaning. In his argument, he claims that since God is the only substance all things flow from God. Meaning that everything in existence is a part of…show more content…
Axiom seven states that, “If a thing can be conceived as non-existing, its essence does not involve existence.” This axiom can be attributed to God. I can certainly conceive of God as non-existing just as I think of a chair as non-existing. By saying God does not exist does not imply a contradiction. This does not imply a contradiction because I can think of all things as non-existing, everything has the potential to not exist. Therefore, I can also think of God as non-existing and by Spinoza’s seventh axiom it is clear that Gods essence does not involve existence. Since I can think of God as non-existing then it follows that the God does not have to exist. Therefore, the one substance that is everything does not have to exist because everything has the potential to not
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