New PDF release: Greenhouse Gardener

By David Shelton

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Questions can be answered, therefore, only by taking thought; and answers, if they are to be found, can satisfy only if they are intellectually acceptable. Of this, Spinoza was fully aware and his philosophy is one of the most systematic and coherent presentations ever made of the human situation, the conflicts and failings of passionate human nature, and its ultimate source of satisfaction. CHAPTER II GEOMETRICAL METHOD 1. The primacy of knowledge The ultimate concern of Spinoza's philosophy, as we have seen, is not simply a theoretical interest in ethics but a deep practical desire to discover the best way to live.

This, if it were the case, would indeed conflict with Spinoza's nominalism. But if we realize that his nominalism is the result precisely of his opposition to abstract reasoning from general ideas, and that his deduction is the development of a "concrete universal," we see that there is no inconsistency in his thinking and that the postulation of "fixed and eternal things," which are singularia (individuals) yet nevertheless universal in import, is no contradiction. 42 The apparent contradiction to which Hubbeling refers, between Ethics, II, x, and xi, C, (in the first of which it is stated that the nature (esse) of substance does not pertain to the essence of man, and in the second that the infinite intellect of God constitutes the essence of the human mind), appears as an inconsistency only if the text is misunderstood.

Also H. G. Hubbeling, Spinoza's Methodology, (Assen, 1967), p. 10 and passim. 18 Cf. Study. Introd. 11 Cf. op. , Appendix to Book I, pp. 115-119, Book II, Ch. III, pp. 189-90, Appendix, pp. 230-232. 18 Cf. Joachim, Spinoza's TTactatus de Intellectus Emendatione (Oxford, 1940), Ch. II, § 6, Ch. III, Excursus, Ch. IV, § 21 and passim. (Hereafter abbreviated as S pinoza's Tractatus). GEOMETRICAL METHOD 21 method of presentation,19 but the method is dictated by his metaphysics. Indeed, Spinoza did not believe (whether rightly or wrongly) that the method was solely appropriate to the second kind of knowledge (ratio).

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