Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

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Attributes are at the very heart of Spinoza 's metaphysics. They enable us to understand and talk about an extended world and a thinking world in terms of ...

Adam Smith (Great Britain, 1723–1790), often considered the founder of modern economics , was a key figure in formulating and advancing economic doctrine of free trade and competition. In his Wealth of Nations Adam Smith outlined the key idea that if the economy is basically left to its own devices, limited and finite resources will be put to ultimately their most efficient use through people acting purely in their self-interest. This concept has been quoted out of context by later economists as the invisible hand of the market.

Damasio : I do believe that animals develop a very basic self-concept—what I refer to as “core self.” But to have a broader self, such as we do, requires an autobiographical memory.

As we have seen, Descartes defines substance in terms of independence.  This, however, is only a very general claim.  In order to better understand Descartes’ account of substance we need to have a better idea of the way in which substances are independent.  On one hand, in his thinking about substance Descartes is working with the traditional conception of independence according to which a substance’s existence is independent in a way that a mode’s existence is not, since substances are ultimate subjects.  Accordingly, let us say that substances are subject-independent.  On the other hand, in his account of substance Descartes is also working with a causal sense of independence.  After all, the reason that God is the only Substance (as opposed to Created Substance ) is that all other things “can exist only with the help of God’s concurrence” ( Principles ), and Descartes understands this as the causal claim that all other things are God’s creation and require his continual conservation.  Consequently scholars have seen Descartes as holding that in general i) God is both causally and subjectively independent (God is not, after all, a mode of anything else), ii) created substances are causally independent of everything but God and subjectively independent, and iii) modes are both causally and subjectively dependent in that they both depend on God’s continual conservation and on created substances as subjects. (See for example, Markie 1994: 69; Rodriguez-Pereyra 2008: 79-80)

Spinoza’s Argument for Substance Monism is generally deemed a failure by contemporary philosophers.  There are a number of ways to attack the argument.  The most common way is to reject Spinoza’s second premise (E1p5: “That two substances cannot share the same nature or attribute.”)   One of the most popular arguments against this promise was first presented by Leibniz.  Leibniz argued that whereby it might be impossible for two substances to have all of their attributes in common (because then they would be indistinguishable), it may be possible for two substances to share an attribute and yet differ by each having another attribute that is not shared.  For example, one substance may have attributes A and B and another substance has attributes A and C.  The two substances would be distinguishable because each has an attribute the other lacks, but both substances would nevertheless share an attribute.  This objection was first presented by Leibniz to Spinoza himself.  Though Spinoza did not find the objection persuasive, he never offered an explicit reply.  See Della Rocca 2002: 17-22 for a plausible solution on Spinoza’s behalf based upon the conceptual independence of the attributes.

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spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Damasio : I do believe that animals develop a very basic self-concept—what I refer to as “core self.” But to have a broader self, such as we do, requires an autobiographical memory.

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spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

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spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Adam Smith (Great Britain, 1723–1790), often considered the founder of modern economics , was a key figure in formulating and advancing economic doctrine of free trade and competition. In his Wealth of Nations Adam Smith outlined the key idea that if the economy is basically left to its own devices, limited and finite resources will be put to ultimately their most efficient use through people acting purely in their self-interest. This concept has been quoted out of context by later economists as the invisible hand of the market.

Action Action

spinoza no shared attributes thesis
Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Damasio : I do believe that animals develop a very basic self-concept—what I refer to as “core self.” But to have a broader self, such as we do, requires an autobiographical memory.

Action Action

Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Action Action

spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Attributes are at the very heart of Spinoza 's metaphysics. They enable us to understand and talk about an extended world and a thinking world in terms of ...

Action Action

spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Adam Smith (Great Britain, 1723–1790), often considered the founder of modern economics , was a key figure in formulating and advancing economic doctrine of free trade and competition. In his Wealth of Nations Adam Smith outlined the key idea that if the economy is basically left to its own devices, limited and finite resources will be put to ultimately their most efficient use through people acting purely in their self-interest. This concept has been quoted out of context by later economists as the invisible hand of the market.

Action Action

spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

Action Action

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Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

As we have seen, Descartes defines substance in terms of independence.  This, however, is only a very general claim.  In order to better understand Descartes’ account of substance we need to have a better idea of the way in which substances are independent.  On one hand, in his thinking about substance Descartes is working with the traditional conception of independence according to which a substance’s existence is independent in a way that a mode’s existence is not, since substances are ultimate subjects.  Accordingly, let us say that substances are subject-independent.  On the other hand, in his account of substance Descartes is also working with a causal sense of independence.  After all, the reason that God is the only Substance (as opposed to Created Substance ) is that all other things “can exist only with the help of God’s concurrence” ( Principles ), and Descartes understands this as the causal claim that all other things are God’s creation and require his continual conservation.  Consequently scholars have seen Descartes as holding that in general i) God is both causally and subjectively independent (God is not, after all, a mode of anything else), ii) created substances are causally independent of everything but God and subjectively independent, and iii) modes are both causally and subjectively dependent in that they both depend on God’s continual conservation and on created substances as subjects. (See for example, Markie 1994: 69; Rodriguez-Pereyra 2008: 79-80)

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Spinoza no shared attributes thesis

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