Not Wholly Finite: The Dual Aspect of Finite Modes in Spinoza

Not Wholly Finite: The Dual Aspect of Finite Modes in Spinoza Spinoza’s bold claim that there exists only a single infinite substance entails that finite things pose a deep challenge: How can Spinoza account for their finitude and their plurality? Taking finite bodies as a test case for finite modes in general I articulate the necessary conditions for the existence of finite things. The key to my argument is the recognition that Spinoza’s account of finite bodies reflects both Cartesian and Hobbesian influences. This recognition leads to the surprising realization there must be more to finite bodies than their finitude, a claim that goes well beyond the basic substance-monism claim, namely, that anything that is, is in God. This leads to the conclusion, which may seem paradoxical, that finite bodies have both an infinite as well as a finite aspect to them. Finite bodies, I argue, both actively partially determine all the other finite bodies, thereby partially causing their existence insofar as they are finite, as well as are determined by the totality of other bodies. I articulate precisely what this infinite aspect is and how it is distinct from the general substance-monism dictum. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophia Springer Journals

Not Wholly Finite: The Dual Aspect of Finite Modes in Spinoza

Philosophia , Volume 46 (2) – Dec 7, 2017

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy, general; Epistemology; Ethics; Philosophy of Language; Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Science
ISSN
0048-3893
eISSN
1574-9274
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11406-017-9918-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Spinoza’s bold claim that there exists only a single infinite substance entails that finite things pose a deep challenge: How can Spinoza account for their finitude and their plurality? Taking finite bodies as a test case for finite modes in general I articulate the necessary conditions for the existence of finite things. The key to my argument is the recognition that Spinoza’s account of finite bodies reflects both Cartesian and Hobbesian influences. This recognition leads to the surprising realization there must be more to finite bodies than their finitude, a claim that goes well beyond the basic substance-monism claim, namely, that anything that is, is in God. This leads to the conclusion, which may seem paradoxical, that finite bodies have both an infinite as well as a finite aspect to them. Finite bodies, I argue, both actively partially determine all the other finite bodies, thereby partially causing their existence insofar as they are finite, as well as are determined by the totality of other bodies. I articulate precisely what this infinite aspect is and how it is distinct from the general substance-monism dictum.

Journal

PhilosophiaSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 7, 2017

References

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