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A History of Philosophy in Epitome by Schwegler

Spinoza comprehends under the conception of accidence


In

relation to substance, therefore, the attributes must be apprehended as entirely independent: they must be conceived through themselves: their conception is not dependent upon that of substance. This is necessarily true; for since the substance can have no determinateness, then the attribute which is its determinate being, cannot be explained from the substance, but only through itself. Only by apprehending the attribute independently can the unity of the substance be maintained.

In relation to each other, the attributes are to be taken as opposites strictly and determinately diverse. Between the bodily and the ideal world there is no reciprocal influence nor interaction: a body can only spring from a body, and an idea can only have an idea for its source. Hence, therefore, neither the mind can work upon the body nor the body upon the mind. Nevertheless there exists between the two worlds a perfect harmony and an entire parallelism. It is one and the same substance which is conceived under each of the two attributes, and under which one of the two we may contemplate it is indifferent to the substance itself, for each mode of contemplation is equally correct. From this follows at once the proposition of Spinoza, that the connection of ideas and of things is the same. Hence the solution to the problem of the relation of body and soul, so difficult to find from the Cartesian standpoint, is readily seen from that of Spinoza. Body and soul are one

and the same thing, only viewed under different attributes. Mind is nothing but the idea of body, _i. e._ it is the same thing as body, only that it is viewed under the attribute of thought. In the same way is explained the apparent but not real influence of the body upon the mind, and the mind upon the body. That which, in one point of view is bodily motion, in another is an act of thought. In short, the most perfect parallelism reigns between the world of bodily things and that of ideas.

3. Individual beings, which considered under the attribute of thought are ideas, and under the attribute of extension are bodies, Spinoza comprehends under the conception of accidence, or, as he calls it, mode. By modes we are therefore to understand the changing forms of substance. The modes stand related to the substance as the rippling waves of the sea to the water of the sea, as forms constantly disappearing and never having a real being. In fact this example goes too far, for the waves of the sea are at least a part of the water of the sea, while the modes, instead of being parts of the substance, are essentially nothing and without being. The finite has no existence as finite; only the infinite substance has actual existence. Substance, therefore, could not be regarded more falsely than if it should be viewed as made up of modes. That would be, Spinoza remarks, as if one should say that the line is made up out of points. It is just as false to affirm that Spinoza identifies God and the world. He identifies them so little that he would rather say that the world, as world, _i. e._ as an aggregate of individuals, does not at all exist; we might rather say with Hegel that he denies the world (his system is an acosmism), than with Bayle, that he makes every thing God, or that he ascribes divinity to every thing.

Whence do finite things or individuals arise, if they can have no existence by the side of substance? They are only the product of our deceptive apprehension. There are two chief ways of knowledge--the intuitive, through the reason, and the imaginative. To the latter belong the knowledge of experience, and all that is abstract, superficial, and confused; to the former, the collection of all fitting (adequate) ideas. It is only the fault of the imagination that we should look upon the world as a manifoldness of individuals; the manifoldness is only a form of representation. The imagination isolates and individualizes what the reason sees together in its unity. Hence it is only as considered through the imagination (experience or opinion) that modes are _things_; the reason looks upon them as necessary, or, what is the same thing, as eternal.


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