Archive for the ‘Authors and critics’ Category

I’m pleased to announce that we will continue our series of discussions of papers published by Ergo. (For previous discussions, look here.)

The next discussion will look at Jeffrey McDonough‘s paper “Leibniz, Spinoza and an Alleged Dilemma for Rationalists”, which was published in volume 2 of Ergo. The commentator is Chloe Armstrong. I’d like to thank both Chloe and Jeff for participating in this event. We will publish comments and replies next week. Comments will be open on all posts, for those who would like to participate in the discussion.


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In my first post on Schmid’s paper “Finality without Final Causes,” I gave some background to and summarized Schmid’s core argument for the conclusion that on Suárez’s own account of final causation there cannot be final causes either in the divine or natural realms. Final causation in the natural realm is supposed to derive from final causation in the divine realm, external actions derive their final causes from immanent actions, but God’s immanent actions have no final causes.

I’ve argued in the past that Suárez can solve this problem. The general strategy is to tell a different story about how final causality works in the case of God than in the case of human beings. More specifically, deny in the first place that external actions inherit their final causes from immanent acts in the case of God. That is, restrict that story to the case of finite rational agents. Suárez does this explicitly: “We deny that it is always necessary that there be causality of an end internal to the agent itself in order for it to be able to have a place beyond the agent in its other effects” (DM 23.9.9). The concerns stemming from God’s pure actuality do not apply in the case of God’s transeunt or external actions, so if God’s immanent acts can be transparent to final causality in this way, then it seems that God’s transeunt actions can have final causes after all. This might still leave a worry about metaphorical motion. After all, there is no place for metaphorical motion in either God’s immanent or transeunt acts. But didn’t Suárez say that the causality of the end consists in metaphorical motion?

Here I think it is important to notice an easily overlooked structural feature of Suárez’s disputation on final causation, DM 23. The disputation consists of ten sections. The first section, as one might expect, introduces final causes and asks whether there are any in reality. In that section he divides agents into three classes: the uncreated rational agent (God), created rational agents (e.g., human beings), and natural agents (e.g., plants). He then says that since the case of created rational agents is better known to us (we ourselves are such agents), he will first discuss final causation in that realm and then later talk about the other agents (DM 23.1.8). He only returns to the other agents in sections nine and ten (on God and natural agents, respectively). That means that in all the intervening sections he is still restricting his attention to the human case.

That the discussion in sections two through eight is restricted in that way is borne out by the objections he does and does not consider. For example, in the seventh section he asks whether cognition of an end is necessary for final causation. The obvious potential counterexample for any Aristotelian is the case of natural agents, but Suárez does not consider that objection. This would be a significant oversight if he took himself already to be establishing a perfectly universal claim that cognition is necessary, but it makes good sense if he is restricting his attention to created rational agents. The structure of Suárez’s discussion raises interpretive questions, since one might well want to take some of the conclusions in sections two to eight as applying more generally than just to created rational agents. But for present purposes, the important point is that there seems to be textual room for restricting the story about metaphorical motion to the domain of created rational agents. In other words, the claim that an end’s causality consists in metaphorical motion of the will need not be read as applying to the divine case.

Or so I suggested. Schmid has a well-argued reply. Recall that Suárez wants there to be a common concept of cause such that final causes will really be causes. But, Schmid argues, this requires an analogy of intrinsic attribution, which requires that efficient and final causes both infuse being into another thing but in different ways, and the way in which final causes exemplify that characteristic is through metaphorical motion. Hence, whatever Suárez says about ends in the case of God’s actions, they do not metaphorically move and so they do not satisfy the characteristic of being a cause and so they do not fall under the common concept of cause. If the term ‘final cause’ is applied in the divine case, it becomes an equivocal term. Schmid is willing to grant that God acts for a purpose and so allows that there is finality in divine actions. But there is no final causality. In short he answers affirmatively the question in the title of his paper: “Finality without Final Causes?”

My first reaction to Schmid’s argument is fear and trepidation. Final causation is a challenging enough topic. Bring in scholastic doctrines of analogy and an absolutely simple (yet three) being who has intellect and will but is pure actuality, immutable, and impassible … It’s a familiar thought that there is one way of being right and many ways of being wrong, but here all ways start looking wrong.

Being less courageous, I will ask some questions rather than asserting a position contrary to Schmid’s:

  1. Suárez clearly thinks that ’cause’ is an analogical term, but is it clear that Suárez thinks it does not apply univocally to efficient and final causes? DM 27.1.11 suggests to me that he thinks it applies univocally in at least some cases. This might not help Suárez out. Schmid’s argument against analogicity might work just as well against univocity. Still, if Suárez does think that efficient and final causes are univocally causes, that might affect how we should understand his account more generally.

  2. Instead of focusing on the account of metaphorical motion in DM 23.4, could we take our lead from DM 24.2.12 where Suárez says that “final causality … only consists in this dependency which the action has by the agent having thus ordered it to the end”? The suggestion would then be that this dependency counts as the infusion of being. Furthermore, God’s transeunt actions can have this dependency via God’s eternal love and intention. The way created rational agents order actions to an end involves metaphorical motion, but God can order actions to an end without metaphorical motion. In either case, transeunt actions come to have the relevant dependency that satisfies the characteristic needed for an analogy of intrinsic attribution. I am not sure that this could be made to work, but my general thought is there may be ways to wriggle out of seeing metaphorical motion as the only way final causes could have a genuine influxus.

The second question, of course, is the crucial one with respect to Schmid’s core argument. If something along the lines of my suggestion can be made to work, then Suárez might be able to retain his account of final causation and have it apply in the divine and natural realms after all.

I also have two questions of clarification:

  1. Schmid talks of describing an actualization of the will from two sides, from the side of the end or final cause and from the side of the will or efficient cause. Is this supposed to imply that the efficient cause’s physical motion and the final cause’s metaphorical motion are in fact one and the same motion, just under two descriptions? To use Suárez’s language are the physical motion and metaphorical motion distinct ex natura rei or only conceptually?

  2. Disagreements over whether something is an F can be rooted in two different places. The disagreement might indicate disagreement about what conditions need to be met for the concept to have application or there might be agreement about that but disagreement over whether those conditions are met. I often find myself unclear about which sort of disagreement is at stake in discussions of final causation. Am I right in thinking that the key issues in this paper concern the concept of final causation rather than what the world is like? More precisely, does an Aristotelian who thinks there is unproblematic final causation in the natural realm without appeal to God disagree with Suárez about what conditions need to be met for the concept to have application, or is there disagreement about what natural agents are like and how they work?

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[This is part of a series of blog posts about articles in the new, open-access journal, Ergo]

We are all familiar with challenges to final causation in the natural, i.e., non-rational, realm. More surprising is Stephan Schmid’s conclusion in a recent paper, “Finality without Final Causes? – Suárez’s Account of Natural Teleology” (Ergo 2015), that on Francisco Suárez’s account of final causation there can be no final causes for divine actions. Schmid also argues that there fails to be final causation in the natural realm on Suárez’s account, but that is a consequence of the prior absence of final causation in the divine case.

Schmid’s paper is an unusually rich one. He has an earlier book, Finalursachen in der frühen Neuzeit, in which he examines the views of Aquinas, Suárez, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz on final causation, and so he has given this matter extended thought and has the historical expertise to situate Suárez’s view properly. The fruit of this expertise is evident in this paper’s simultaneous attention to details of the texts and arguments and eye towards the bigger picture. As a result, there is much worthwhile material that I will ignore in this post. Read the paper!

The core argument in Schmid’s paper can be stated easily enough. Teleology in the natural realm is to be explained by appeal to final causes in the divine realm. But the notion of final causation finds no application on the divine side. Why not? Because transeunt or external actions inherit their final causes from immanent or internal acts (for example, my walking to the library inherits its final cause from my intention to check out and read a book), but God’s immanent acts have no final cause since God is pure act and so does not have an actualizable will. Consequently, teleology in the natural realm cannot be explained by reference to God.

That’s the short version. Properly appreciating the argument, however, requires some stage-setting, so let’s step back. Suárez wants final causes to be causes. That is, there is supposed to be a concept common to all four Aristotelian causes. So on the one hand, we need a concept broad enough to cover efficient, final, material, and formal causes. On the other hand, Suárez does not want a notion so broad that all principles are going to count as causes. This is where Suárez appeals to the notion of infusing or inflowing being: “a cause is a principle that per se infuses being into another thing” (DM 12.2.4 — English translations of all the texts cited in this post can be found through my “Suárez in English Translation” webpage). All four causes are supposed to satisfy this account while non-causal principles such as privations are not.

To complicate matters, the four causes obviously do not inflow being in the same way. Whatever exactly efficient causes do, for example, is certainly not the same as what material causes and formal causes do, which inflow being by constituting that which they cause. As a result, Suárez does not think the term ’cause’ applies univocally. He does, however, think we can avoid mere equivocal predication, which would be to abandon hope of a common concept. What he wants is analogical predication or, more specifically, predication that is analogical by intrinsic attribution. As Schmid puts it, “different Cs can also be called Cs in an analogical sense if they fall under a common concept while complying with the characteristics of being a C in different ways” (398). In the case at hand, as we saw, the characteristic of being a cause is per se infusing being into another thing. So insofar as, say, an efficient cause and a material cause comply with that characteristic in different ways, they are causes analogically by intrinsic attribution.

Schmid takes an important part of the story to be that efficient causes come to be seen as the paradigmatic causes. And, indeed, Suárez explicitly says that efficient causes “most properly infuse being” (DM 27.1.10). That Suárez says this indicates that he is not using ‘influxus‘ in its most obvious and natural sense. What happens when the Thames flows into (influit) the North Sea? The very water that was in the Thames becomes part of or helps constitute the North Sea. But if we think of that model, then we might well conclude that matter and form most properly flow into their effects, not efficient causes. This is a salutary reminder, then, that Suárez’s talk of infusing being should not be understood as the literal transfer of some parcel of being from one thing to another thing.

Whatever exactly it means to infuse being into another thing, efficient causes do it most properly. Suárez’s task now is to show that the other Aristotelian causes satisfy that characteristic in different ways such that they all fall under the concept of cause, albeit only analogically. In the case of final causes, Schmid takes Suárez’s answer to be that ends’ metaphorical motion is how they satisfy the infusing being condition. As Suárez says, “the causality of an end consists in a metaphorical motion of the will” (DM 23.5.2). Schmid rightly points out that describing the motion as metaphorical is not meant to call into question the reality of the motion. What is metaphorical motion? When my will turns from potentially loving an end to actually loving the end, that change or motion can be described from two sides. On the one hand, it can be described as having been generated by my will. On the other hand, it can be described as having been drawn out or attracted by the end, an end that seemed good to me. The latter is the metaphorical motion of the will and it is the way in which final causes “infuse being into another thing.”

Immanent acts such as an act of love for an end are the fundamental cases. But if those immanent acts issue in external acts such as walking to the library, those external acts inherit final causality from the immanent acts. Reading such and such a book seems good to me and so I come to desire reading it and form the intention to read it. I consider various means and decide the best way to read the book involves walking to the library to check it out. The end did not directly attract my legs, but, nevertheless, my legs move for the sake of the end thanks to the intervening immanent act.

As stated, this story obviously does not hold in the case of natural, i.e., non-rational, agents such as squirrels, oak trees, and rocks. For starters, they do not have wills and hence do not have wills that can be metaphorically moved. Schmid has a detailed and rewarding discussion of final causation in the natural realm and of the different ways in which natural teleology might be explained by final causes in the divine realm. I’m going to skip over most of that discussion and simply note that Suárez concedes that the actions of natural agents have no final causes insofar as we consider strictly the natural agents themselves, but he goes on to argue that their actions do have final causes thanks to God’s involvement.

So Suárez argues. Schmid, however, thinks that Suárez’s argument fails, because there can be no final causes of God’s actions and hence there is no final causation to be inherited by natural agents. The problem is that God is supposed to be pure actuality and consequently immutable and impassible. Suárez recognizes the worry and promptly acknowledges that there are no final causes of God’s immanent acts. God loves himself and other things, but there is no final cause of that love (DM 23.9.3). But, as we saw earlier, external actions inherit their final causes from the immanent acts that lie behind the external actions. Since there is no final causality to inherit in this case, God’s external actions lack final causes. Of course, there is then also no final causality for natural agents to inherit.

In short, Schmid argues that most of the instances of final causation that Suárez wishes to claim are in fact not such instances on Suárez’s own account of what final causation is.

That, as I understand it, is Schmid’s basic argument. I’m on record arguing that Suárez has a solution to this problem.* In my next post, I will briefly sketch my proposal, explain the response Schmid has to my proposal, and then raise some questions for Schmid’s account.

* “Final Causality: Suárez on the Priority of Final Causation.” In Suárez on Aristotelian Causality, ed. by Jakob Leth Fink, 122-49. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

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[This is part of a series of blog posts about articles in the new, open-access journal, Ergo]

Leibniz’s mill argument is one of very few Leibnizian arguments frequently invoked in contemporary philosophy of mind. How exactly this argument works, however, is controversial among Leibniz scholars. In the past few months, two stimulating articles devoted exclusively to the mill argument have come out: Marleen Rozemond’s “Mills Can’t Think: Leibniz’s Approach to the Mind-Body Problem” (Res Philosophica 91.1, 2014) and Paul Lodge’s “Leibniz’s Mill Argument Against Mechanical Materialism Revisited” (Ergo 2014). Rozemond’s paper was published first, but as Lodge acknowledges in a footnote, he only became aware of this paper after writing his own, and therefore does not otherwise engage with it. Hence, I’d like to put these two excellent analyses in conversation with each other here. In fact, even though the two papers disagree on several fundamental questions, they also turn out to help each other in interesting ways.

Let me start with the primary texts under discussion. The most famous formulation of the mill argument occurs in Monadology section 17:

we must confess that perception, and what depends on it, is inexplicable in terms of mechanical reasons, that is, through shapes and motions. If we imagine that there is a machine whose structure makes it think, sense, and have perceptions, we could conceive it enlarged, keeping the same proportions, so that we could enter into it, as one enters into a mill. Assuming that, when inspecting its interior, we will only find parts that push one another, and we will never find anything to explain a perception. And so, we should seek perception in the simple substance and not in the composite or in the machine. (transl. from AG 215)

Leibniz does, however, offer versions of this argument elsewhere as well, as both Rozemond and Lodge acknowledge. Particularly interesting are the versions from Leibniz’s Preface to the New Essays (NE 66f.), a letter to Bayle (G 3:68/WF 129), a draft of a letter to Queen Sophie Charlotte (LTS 259), and “On the Souls of Men and Beasts” (G 7:328/SLT 63). I will not quote those passages here, but they can be found in Rozemond’s and Lodge’s articles.

Turning now to the two recent discussions of the mill argument, I will start with Lodge’s because it provides a useful categorization of the different interpretations of the argument that have so far been advanced. The argument, Lodge claims, has the following structure:

Premise: Perception, sensation, and thought cannot be explained in mechanical terms.

Conclusion: Therefore, matter (as understood by mechanistic philosophers) cannot perceive, sense, or think.

Lodge then lists four different interpretations of the implicit justification for the argument’s premise. They can be paraphrased as follows:

  1. The Explanatory Gap Interpretation (Stewart Duncan): Shape, size, and motion are the only modifications of matter, and we cannot conceive how these modifications or their combinations could give rise to perception, sensation, or thought.
  2. The Unity of Consciousness Interpretation (Margaret Wilson): Conscious perceptions possess a special unity, and material things, since they are infinitely divisible, cannot exhibit, or give rise to, this kind of unity.
  3. The Unity of Perception Interpretation (Marc Bobro and Paul Lodge; Stewart Duncan): Perception can only take place in a unity, and material things, since they are infinitely divisible, cannot exhibit this kind of unity.
  4. The Activity/Passivity Interpretation (Marleen Rozemond; Paul Lodge): The power to perceive, sense, or think is an active power, and matter, since it is passive, cannot possess active powers.

It is important to note that the controversy over the mill argument is not primarily a controversy over what Leibniz’s views about perception or the possibility of thinking machines are. Interpreters in fact generally agree that Leibniz denies that machines are capable of thought or perception, and that he believes that only simple, immaterial unities could possibly possess perceptions and thoughts. Most scholars furthermore agree that because all natural states of a monad originate within the monad, perceiving involves some kind of activity. The controversy is, rather, about what exactly the structure of the various versions of the mill argument is. Even though this is not a disagreement about Leibniz’s fundamental views, it is an important interpretive issue, and not only because the mill argument is so frequently invoked in contemporary philosophy of mind. It is also important for evaluating how powerful and compelling Leibniz’s argument is, especially to readers who do not already accept large portions of Leibniz’s system. One crucial aspect of the controversy, then, is the question to what extent we already need to accept controversial Leibnizian doctrines in order to find the argument compelling. Relatedly, the controversy concerns the relations between Leibniz’s fundamental views, for instance between activity and perception. Even interpreters who agree that monads are active in perceiving, after all, may disagree on whether activity is a necessary condition for perceiving.

Lodge rejects the first of the four interpretations listed above as too minimalistic because he sees Leibniz as pointing to particular features of perception that make a mechanical explanation impossible. He also rules out the second interpretation, but on textual grounds: Leibniz seems to be concerned with perception generally, not conscious perception in particular. Yet, Lodge argues, the third interpretation is the best way to make sense of some versions of the mill argument, while the fourth interpretation works better for a few other versions.

I am not going to go into more detail of Lodge’s argument here. Instead, I will turn to Rozemond’s interpretation of the mill argument and end with some observations about the most significant differences between her reading and Lodge’s.

Rozemond argues that the activity/passivity interpretation is the best way to understand all versions of Leibniz’s mill argument, even the ones in the Monadology and the letter from Bayle, which Lodge thinks are better understood in terms of the unity of perception interpretation. She moreover adds a fifth candidate to the list of possible interpretations of the mill argument.

5.   The Internal Action Interpretation (Marleen Rozemond): Perception is an internal action, which means that it cannot consist in the operation of various parts of an entity. Whatever a machine does, however, consists in the operation of its various parts, and therefore machines cannot perceive.

Rozemond provides convincing textual evidence that Leibniz uses ‘internal action’ in two different ways: sometimes it is contrasted with transeunt action, at other times it is contrasted with actions consisting in the operations of parts of the agent. She moreover suggests—plausibly, I think—that the latter understanding of the term ‘internal action’ is at work in passages in which Leibniz argues that matter cannot perceive because perception is an internal action.

This fifth interpretation appears to me to be closely related to the unity of perception interpretation. Determining just how closely they are related would require a much more thorough examination of how exactly Leibniz understands the unity of perception, and of what exactly he means when he calls perception an internal action. It may or may not turn out that they are versions of the same interpretation. Either result, however, would be interesting and advance our understanding of the mill argument.

If the internal action interpretation does not turn out to be a version of the unity of perception interpretation, Rozemond has discovered yet another plausible way of understanding the mill argument. This new interpretation might even solve some of the interpretive problems that the other candidates cannot handle convincingly.

If the internal action interpretation does turn out to be a version of the unity of perception interpretation, on the other hand, this very realization, and the examination that led to it, would presumably afford us a deeper understanding of what the relation between perception and simplicity or unity is for Leibniz. Moreover, we could then subsume at least some of the passages in which Leibniz invokes internal action and which Lodge subsumes under interpretation (4), under interpretation (3) instead. This would be interesting for Lodge, who understand some passages in accordance with the activity/passivity interpretation because they invoke the notion of internal action. On the basis of the textual evidence Rozemond presents that Leibniz sometimes uses ‘internal action’ to refer to an action not resulting from the operation of parts of the agent, one could argue that worries about unity or simplicity are after all doing most of the work in those versions of the argument. This strategy would work particularly well for the passage from a draft of a letter to Sophie Charlotte, which Lodge reads in accordance with the activity/passivity interpretation. It might also help explain why Leibniz brings up internal actions in the Monadology, directly after the mill argument, as well as in the letter to Bayle. This is one way in which Rozemond’s discussion helps Lodge’s argument.

Rozemond claims—correctly, I think—that in the texts she discusses, Leibniz does not explicitly identify what I call the internal action interpretation as underlying the mill argument. Instead, she argues that Leibniz sometimes brings up internal action as an additional reason for rejecting thinking matter, in addition, that is, to considerations about the activity of perception and the passivity of matter. Rozemond also wonders whether Leibniz might be relying implicitly on the internal action interpretation in some versions of the mill argument. Yet, she does not mention the draft of a letter to Sophie Charlotte, which Lodge discusses, and in which Leibniz provides a version of the mill argument that fits perfectly with the internal action interpretation. Leibniz there writes,

supposing whatever traces, machines, or motions you like in the brain, one will never find the source of perception or of the reflection on oneself, which is a truly internal action, any more than one could find it in a watch or in a mill. For crude or subtle machines differ only in degree. (Leibniz and the Two Sophies, p. 259)

This is one way in which Lodge’s discussion helps Rozemond: it supplies a version of the mill argument in which Leibniz explicitly employs the strategy Rozemond finds most promising.

There are many thought-provoking aspects of both Rozemond’s and Lodge’s paper that I was not able to explore here. For instance, Rozemond’s article includes an excellent discussion of the differences between Kant’s “Achilles Argument” and Leibniz’s mill argument; her paper also contains an argument against reading the mill argument in the Monadology in accordance with the unity of perception interpretation. I hence strongly recommend that those who are interested in the topic read both of these excellent papers and investigate these fascinating questions further. Even though the two articles have cleared up the main issues significantly, I agree with the last sentence of Rozemond’s paper: “Much work remains to be done.”

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Thanks again to everyone who participated in the recent discussion of Spinoza’s Metaphysics: Substance and Thought. Anyone who wants to catch up on the discussion can do so via this post, which links to all the comment and reply posts.

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Alan Nelson’s posts are generous and penetrating, as always. I am very much flattered to read his warm reception of the book. Needless to say, we have been discussing many of the ideas in the book for quite a few years now, and thus I feel vindicated to read his impressions of the final product.

Y.1.9: Many of the joyful and useful disagreements between Alan and me over the years have concentrated in one way or another on Spinoza’s relation to Descartes. Unlike Alan, and many other top scholars of modern philosophy, I tend to see Spinoza as essentially anti-Cartesian. I will not delve into this important issue here, though I imagine that the reader may have discerned my distinct view in this regard.

Y.1.10 In a very gentle and mild rebuke, Alan notes: “I suspect, however that Melamed’s overall interpretation does not provide a sufficient basis for giving due weight to the human standpoint. ” I completely agree with this claim in at least two senses (i.e., at least one sense more than Alan’s original point). First, the focus of the book is indeed not on the human standpoint. Spinoza has much to say about this issue, and I believe I have quite a bit to say about what Spinoza has to say, but this is not indeed the focus of the book. Let me note that much of what Spinoza has to say about the human standpoint is expressed throughout Part II of the Ethics, in what I take to be a systematic attack on the Cartesian point of view.

Second, I think Alan is right to say that Spinoza does not consider man as “the measure of all things.” Indeed, Hegel would enthusiastically endorse the claim that Spinoza failed to give the human standpoint its due place. In fact, I would say that this is one of the best ways to state one of the most fundamental -disagreements between Hegel and Spinoza (the other main point of contention between the two is the (related) issue of self-negation).


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In accordance with Spinoza’s plan to metaphysically relate God and humans,  Part I of the Ethics deals with God and Part II with the nature and origin of the human mind.  It is striking, therefore, that Spinoza cannot prevent himself and the human mind from intruding into Part I.  This is what one would expect from a picture that emphasizes the human standpoint, but it confuses a picture that makes God the starting place for a rigorous geometrical ordering of ideas.  Let’s look at some examples.

In the Part I definitions, we find the first personal pronoun (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8) or appeal to “what is said” (2 and 7).  The all-important E1D4, “By attribute I understand what the intellect perceives of a substance as constituting its essence” is, in isolation, most naturally read as asserting that Spinoza’s own intellect, and others like it perceives attributes thus.  Most commentators, including Melamed, think that it absolutely crucial that it must instead be the infinite intellect, God’s idea, doing the perceiving.  Here I make use of a popular interpretive trope: “surely if Spinoza had meant “infinite intellect” in E1D4 instead of his own intellect, i.e. his capacity for making true ideas clear and distinct, he should have said so.  How sloppy of him!”  One thing that might support reading this definition as referring to the infinite intellect is that in the similarly all-important E1P16, Spinoza says that everything that can fall under an infinite intellect follows from the necessity of the divine nature.  That too, however is rather strange.  It is not until later, in Part II, that Spinoza gets around to demonstrating that thought is one of God’s attributes (E2P1) so that God’s idea can be one of his infinite modes (E2P3).  The demonstration of E2P1 is enthymematic; it relies on the existence of singular thoughts.  But the existence of singular, finite, thoughts can be demonstrated only because Spinoza himself and his readers have some.  Spinoza has marked this in E2A1, which formally introduces humans to the scene and E2A2 which asserts simply: “Man thinks.” [the Dutch translation very suggestively adds, “or, to put it differently, we know that we think” (emphasis added)].  It is also worth noting that in E1P16D, that Spinoza again refers to the “intellect” and here he definitely means the human intellect, for he considers how this intellect infers things from definitions—hardly a task appropriate to the infinite intellect.  So this is further evidence that the intellect mentioned in E1D4 is human intellect.


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