I turn now to the comments by Professor Alison Peterman (University of Rochester).
Y.1.6: Alison begins her comments with a genuine confession: “I’ve never liked the infinite modes.” I understand this sensibility, and for a while I was tempted to share it. The infinite modes are probably some of the least understood elements of Spinoza’s ontology. His contemporaries and 18th-century successors barely marked their presence, and when they did, they made trivial and basic errors. Even a sharp mind like Tschirnhaus seems to have had hardly any clue as to how important they were (see Ep. 63). Could it be that the infinite modes are a complete invention of Spinoza scholarship in the late 19th and early 20th century? I do not think so. Spinoza’s reply to Tschirnhaus in Ep. 64, as well as various references to the infinite modes in the Short Treatise and the Ethics, make this suggestion untenable. Still, I believe there are many questions about these entities which have not been adequately answered. My own discussion of the infinite modes (Ch. 4 of the book) was written much later than the rest of the book, because there are many issues related to Spinoza’s mereology which I still find problematic. I noted some of these issues in the footnotes to Chapter 4, and I am still working on a study of Spinoza’s mereology. Nevertheless, since my picture of the infinite modes was very different from the standard account, I thought it would be worth publishing, even though there are several issues I had to leave as open questions.