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Spinoza and human freedom Lindley, Richard Charles 1973

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C I SPINOZA AND HUMAN FREEDOM by RICHARD CHARLES LINDLEY B.A., University of Oxford, 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of PHILOSOPHY We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1973 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada ABSTRACT This thesis provides a c r i t i c a l account of Spinoza's philosophy of human freedom as presented i n his ETHICS. Rather than being a scholarly work on Spinoza, this essay uses Spinoza as a vehicle for shedding light on problems regarding the nature of human freedom, and i t s attainability and desirability. After the introduction, the thesis begins with an introductory sketch of Spinoza's metaphysics. This sketch i s designed to acquaint the reader with Spinoza's terminology, and to lay out the framework into which his philosophy of freedom was squeezed. Chapter Two and Three present Spinoza's theories of human bondage and human freedom, which, i t i s maintained, are in many respects, just one theory. These chapters take the form, almost of a commentary on Parts Four and Five of ETHICS. The criticisms of Spinoza which are introduced here are, on the whole, specific criticisms of arguments used by him, rather than broad criticisms of his whole enterprise. The last chapter discusses a recent attack on the desirability and rationality of pursuing a Spinozist path to freedom. The attack is a general attack on Spinozism about freedom as such. It i s argued that the attack does contain v a l i d criticisms of Spinozism as expounded by Spinoza i n ETHICS. However, a truncated form of Spinoza's prescription for freedom i s defended, albeit rather tentatively, from this attack. i . //' TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT i ACKNOWLEDGEMENT INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER ONE: SPINOZA'S METAPHYSICS - A SKETCH 5 1. SPINOZA'S ONTOLOGY 5 2. SPINOZA'S THEORY OF CAUSATION. ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT 14 3. SPINOZA'S THEORY OF CAUSATION. THE THEORY ITSELF 22 4. SPINOZA'S THEORY OF CAUSATION. THE THEORY AT WORK 28 CHAPTER TWO: THE BONDAGE OF HUMAN BEINGS 36 5. THE SOURCE OF SPINOZA'S DETERMINISM 36 6. THE SCIENTIFIC VIEW 41 7. THE SPECIAL TREATMENT OF HUMAN BEINGS 42 8. THE NATURE OF HUMAN BONDAGE 44 9. ESSENCES AND INNER DRIVES 46 10. THE AFFECTS. PART ONE 51 11. ADEQUACY 56 CHAPTER THREE: THE FREEDOM OF HUMAN BEINGS 66 12. INTELLECT AND REASON 66 13. SELF-PRESERVATION • 70 14. FREEDOM THROUGH ADEQUATE IDEAS 82 15. THE AFFECTS. PART TWO 91 CHAPTER FOUR: REASON, EMOTIONS AND HUMANITY 100 16. TO WHAT EXTENT SHOULD WE ABANDON OUR EMOTIONS . 100 17. REACTIVITY 105 BIBLIOGRAPHY 123 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT There are many people without whose help I would have not been able to write this thesis. I am grateful to them a l l . In particular I am indebted to my supervisor, Jonathan Bennett, for his encouragement and invaluable suggestions; to Peter Remnant for his very useful criticisms; to Bonnie Johnson, Leonard Angel and Steve Johnson; and f i n a l l y to Andrew Levine, with-out whose method this thesis would s t i l l be somewhere i n i t s embryonic form. August 1973. SPINOZA AND HUMAN FREEDOM INTRODUCTION The great Seventeenth Century Rationalist philosophers, Descartes, Leibniz and Spinoza, were a l l devoted system-builders. They were epistem-ological optimists, and firmly believed, as the name 'Rationalist' suggests, that the basis for this optimism lay i n reason i t s e l f . Each tried to con-struct a deductively interrelated metaphysical edifice. This makes i t very d i f f i c u l t to discuss just one aspect of the work of any of these philosophers. The problem i s even more acute on account of the use of an unfamiliar termin-ology i n many of their writings. Wittgentein said that philosophy, far from changing anything, leaves everything as i t i s . In the face of apparently wild and implausible claims about the world made by Rationalists, one must be particularly careful to make sure that the author was not making a familiar claim about the world, using unfamiliar language. There i s thus a more press-ing need for cross-references to other parts of the author's work than i s re-quired i n studies of English-speaking philosophers. Of the great Rationalists Spinoza made the most remorseless attempt to erect a unified metaphysical system. His major work, ETHICS, was written i n 'geometrical order'. This device was adopted mainly for i t s heuristic value, but has actually deterred many from even reading Spinoza's philosophy. When a reader, who i s used to interpreting prose i s confronted with ETHICS, set out i n geometrical order, with definitions, axioms and propositions, he can easily be overawed, and even more easily discouraged. The different aspects of Spinoza's philosophy seem to be even more inextricably connected than those of his two Rationalist r i v a l s . 2. In view of these facts, i t might appear bold, or just foolhardy, to attempt a relatively short work on Spinoza's theory of human freedom. This suspicion could easily be reinforced by the fact that the sections on human bondage and freedom occur in ETHICS at the end of what is supposed to be a giant deduction, embracing a vast metaphysic, the discussion of which would l i e well beyond the scope of an essay such as this. There are two things I would like to say i n this connection to j u s t i f y my study; one i s about Spinoza, and the other i s about my approach to his philosophy. Spinoza pursued philosophy with the prime aim of discovering a way of l i f e which would accord anyone who followed i t , true and lasting happiness, leaving aside for now what that state might be. Thus the t i t l e of his major work is no coincidence. One can perhaps get one of the best insights into Spinoza's interests from looking at the beginning of the fragment DE INTELLECTUS EMENDATIONE. After experience has taught me that a l l the usual surroundings of social l i f e are vain and f u t i l e ; seeing that none of the objects of my fears contained i n themselves anything either good or bad, except i n so far as the mind i s affected by them, I f i n a l l y resolved to inquire whether there might be some real good having power to communi-cate i t s e l f , which would affect the mind singly, to the exclusion of a l l else; whether, in fact, there might be anything of which the discovery and attainment would enable me to enjoy continuous, supreme, and unending happiness. Wild: SPINOZA SELECTIONS, p . l . This 'unending happiness' is the f i n a l achievement of someone who under-stands and acts on ETHICS - at least according to Spinoza. What the earlier sections of ETHICS, which supposedly entail the theory of freedom, actually do, apart from anything else, i s to j u s t i f y Spinoza's insightful views about 3. freedom. I t i s not simply that these latter views stem from the former. One should not assume that the theory of freedom arose for Spinoza out of an independently conceived metaphysics. It i s quite possible for a modern reader to accept much of the theory of freedom whilst rejecting a lot of the metaphysical doctrines of the earlier parts of ETHICS. Spinoza's giant edifice i s not as monolithic as i t at f i r s t appears, or as i t was intended to be. It i s supported by several towers, which have their own foundations, some more shaky than others. In short one does not, despite appearances which were deliberately generated by Spinoza, have to accept or reject his philosophy i n i t s entirety. There are two distinct, though overlapping approaches to the history of philosophy, which reflect differences of emphasis. The f i r s t approach i s the more purely h i s t o r i c a l . I t involves finding out as much as possible about the ideas of the author i n question. One would typically try to connect up a l l the ideas of the philosopher with each other and with those of other thinkers, and then to put him or her on the historico-philosophical map. One's prime concern would be with what the author actually said, irrespective of i t s philosophical importance. It i s a prerequisite for this scholarly approach that one be able and prepared to go back to multifari-ous original documents, including the lesser works of the author, and the works of his contemporaries and philosophical ancestors. The other approach concentrates on a philosophical problem, and uses an his t o r i c a l figure to shed light on the discussion. Here one's prime concern is with the philosopher's work as an attempt to answer a problem or problems 4. with which one i s independently interested. Whilst stressing the differences between these approaches to history of philosophy, I want to emphasize that the two concerns are not fundamentally opposed. Indeed one could hardly use a philosopher to shed light on a philosophical problem without finding out what he said. Similarly, one who sought to understand what a philosopher was really saying, could not succeed without having a grasp of the problems which the philosopher was trying to solve. For the purposes of this essay I shall be adopting the second approach. I enter the discussion not primarily as a Spinoza scholar, but as a philosopher concerned with problems about the nature and po s s i b i l i t y of human freedom, who believes that Spinoza said much of these matters which i s particularly thought-provoking, penetrating, and surprisingly insightful. Notwithstanding my primary interest i n the problems with which Spinoza's ethical writings deal, I now confess that a study of Spinoza's philosophy of freedom ought to include at least some consideration of his metaphysical views. In order to understand the latter sections of ETHICS one must have some familiarity and understanding of the earlier ones, apart from anything else, to familiarise oneself with the terminology. After writing a familiarising sketch we shall investigate and c r i t i c i z e Spinoza's ideas about human bondage and freedom. Finally a modified Spinozist view about human freedom w i l l be defended against one line of attack from the Twentieth Century. CHAPTER ONE SPINOZA'S METAPHYSICS - A SKETCH In a work of this magnitude i t w i l l be impossible to expound f u l l y Spinoza's extremely elaborate and obscure metaphysics, l e t alone to provide a c r i t i c a l account of i t . In this Chapter I shall attempt nothing so bold. What I shall try to do i s to set the scene, so to speak, for my discussion of Spinoza's account of human freedom by presenting a sketch of the sort of world view which accompanied, and, i n Spinoza's view, led to his theory of freedom. 1. SPINOZA'S ONTOLOGY Rationalism i s i n i t s nature given to extremes. As Rationalists permit themselves to use only reason for the establishment of their metaphysics, they make the most of i t by constructing systems which follow one line of reasoning to i t s logical conclusion. To the extent that a philosopher wavers from this he ceases to be rat i o n a l i s t i c . Descartes, for example, who was the least consistently r a t i o n a l i s t i c of the three great Rationalists was the one who pursued the most lines of reasoning the shortest distance along the way to their logical conclusions. Leibniz took his line of reasoning to the extreme of believing that reality consisted ultimately of an i n f i n i t y of non-extended 'monads'; Spinoza took his to the opposite extreme, and held that reality consisted ultimately of a single i n f i n i t e l y extended 'substance' - he was a monist. 6. It i s interesting that Leibniz's monadism and Spinoza's monism should have followed from their respective definitions of 'substance'. Spinoza's basic way of dividing up real i t y was into the substantial and the modal. Thus at the very beginning of ETHICS we find the following: By substance, I understand that which is i n i t s e l f and i s conceived through i t s e l f ; in other words, that, the conception of which does not need the conception of another thing from which i t must be formed. By mode, I understand the affections of substance, or that which i s i n another thing through which also i t i s conceived. Everything which i s , i s either i n i t s e l f or i n another. That which cannot be conceived through another must be conceived through i t s e l f . E.I. DEF. III. § V., § AXIOMS I., § II. The common-sense view of what i s rea l l y real, i f there be such a view at a l l , i s that there are a lot of substances, such as tables and chairs, animals, plants, people, bicycles, etc., and that connected with these fundamentally real substances, are their states, affections, or modes. To take a human ex-ample, l e t us consider a blush. Should we include i n our description of what is really real in the world, blushes? The line of reasoning which inclines us to say 'No' in answer to this question begins with the recognition that one could give a complete l i s t of the contents of the world, without making any reference to blushes at a l l . Suppose that Tom is blushing. To say, awkward though i t may sound, that Tom has a blush on his face, i s not to make any existence claims for some thing on Tom's face, as to say that Tom had a f l y on his face would be. In the former case one is merely describing Tom. In this 7. sense the blush i s a state, affection, or mode of Tom, and cannot be conceived without him. I f Tom ceased to be, so would his blush, just as one would have expected the Cheshire cat's grin to have disappeared with the cat. This view of the relation between substances and modes is quite handy for everyday purposes. Substances exist, so to speak, in their own right, and modes have merely a secondary, or quasi-existence, as the states or affections of substances. We can 'muddle through' our daily routine with these concepts. The d i f f i c u l t i e s arise as soon as we start to lean at a l l heavily on the con-cept of 'substance'. Both Leibniz and Spinoza believed that 'substance' was the term by which to characterize the fundamental unit of reality. Our notion of 'substantial' i s roughly equivalent to 'not adjectival on anything'. Spinoza and Leibniz both accepted t h i s , but pushed their respective equivalents of 'not adjectival on anything' to their logical extremities. Leibniz believed that to be not adjectival on anything entailed being absolutely simple, that i s in d i v i s i b l e . For i f anything i s divisible i t i s possible to describe the world without reference to the thing, talking only about the parts. As a Rationalist he was not content with there being some-thing merely physically indivisible as the basis of the reality of divisible things. Rather he sought something which was conceptually i n d i v i s i b l e , and believed that there must be such things, as there are obviously non-simple things, which are, necessarily, aggregates of simple things. As anything extended i s at least conceptually d i v i s i b l e , Leibniz held that the really real things were non-extended, and that a l l extended things were ultimately adject-i v a l on these non-extended 'monads', or simple substances. He believed that there were i n f i n i t e l y many monads. This seems to be one extreme result of 8. trying to push the notion of 'substance' to a logical conclusion. Spinoza defined 'substance' as 'that which i s i n i t s e l f and i s conceived through i t s e l f . 'Being i n i t s e l f means something li k e 'existing completely independently of everything else'. So i f something i s i n i t s e l f i t s existence necessarily could not be threatened by anything outside i t s e l f . As long as there i s something outside or other than a substance candidate, the candidate is not a substance, for i t would be logically possible for this external thing to destroy the candidate. God or Nature i s the only being which can pass these extremely rigorous tests for substantiality. God or Nature i s equivalent to the Universe - a l l that there i s . This alone has nothing other than i t , and thus alone i s 'in i t s e l f . The trick for both Leibniz and Spinoza lay i n stretching, i n the one case 'simple', and i n the other 'being i n i t s e l f to their logical conclusions, that i s , pushing a line of reasoning as far as i t w i l l go. Spinoza believed that substance was 'absolutely i n f i n i t e ' , a Spinozist notion which i s contrasted with 'in f i n i t e i n i t s own kind'. Space i s i n f i n i t e i n i t s own kind, since there i s nothing spatial beyond (the whole of) space. On the other hand i t i s not absolutely i n f i n i t e , because there are things other than the whole of space, which 'limit' i t , such as thoughts. As Spinoza believed that there i s only one substance, and God i s defined as: Being absolutely i n f i n i t e , that is to say, substance consisting of i n f i n i t e attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and i n f i n i t e essence. E.I. DEF. VI. 9. God and Substance must be identical. So one could characterize Spinoza as a pantheist. In a sense he believed that God i s in everything a l l the time, more specifically that God i s the whole of r e a l i t y , that is, Nature. The doctrine which i s l a i d out in Part One of ETHICS, however, seems to have much more in common with atheism than with any kind of theism whatsoever; i t is only towards the end of his magnum opus that Spinoza's latent mystical strain i s rendered ex p l i c i t . Nevertheless, as far as Part One of ETHICS i s concerned i t i s to a l l intents and purposes irrelevant whether or not we construe Spinoza as a pantheist or an atheist. One thing he i s absolutely clear on, though, i s that the universe was not created by something or some-body outside i t , and most emphatically, that i t was not created by someone i n whose image human beings have been fashioned. Probably the most fundamental distinction between things i n Spinoza i s that between the absolutely i n f i n i t e and the rest. This coincides with the distinction between substance and the rest. I stress the notion of absolute i n f i n i t y , because i t i s this that distinguishes substance from 'attributes' which do share with substance the property of being conceived through them-selves. Bearing i n mind the logical connexion between 'substance* and 'absolute non-adjectivalness', we can construe Spinoza as maintaining that i n a subject-predicate sentence anything which qualifies for the characterization 'substance' must appear on the 'subject' side of the sentence. We cannot predicate 'sub-stance' of anything. After substance i n the hierarchy of r e a l i t y , come the 'attributes'. He 10. defines 'attribute' as follows: By attribute, I understand that which the intellect perceives of substance, as (if) constituting i t s essence. E.I. DEF. IV. There is some controversy regarding Spinoza's use of each of the terms 'substance', 'attribute' and 'mode'. It i s , however, at i t s height i n connex-ion with the second of these. This is for a number of reasons, not least of which i s that Spinoza does not use the term consistently, or should we say that he altered i t s meaning. In a le t t e r to De Vries he writes: By substance I mean that which i s i n i t s e l f and i s conceived through i t s e l f , that i s , whose conception does not involve the conception of some other thing. I mean the same by attribute with respect to the i n t e l l e c t , which attributes such and such a nature to substance. SPINOZA.: LETTER IX. This suggests strongly that substance and attribute are identical. However, i n other places he talks of substance as 'consisting of i n f i n i t e attributes', which suggests that substance i s the sum total of the attributes. The two examples of attributes which Spinoza gives are thought and extension. So he believed that both thought and extension express i n f i n i t e and eternal essence, and, i t appears, that thought plus extension plus the other attributes what-ever they might be, add up to God or substance. Perhaps the best clue as to what Spinoza probably meant most of the time, throughout ETHICS at any rate, comes from his distinction between 'absolutely i n f i n i t e ' and 'in f i n i t e i n suo genere'. He says that the attributes are i n f i n i t e in suo genere. The best way of interpreting this is to conceive of attributes as being the 'summa genera' on the predicative side. Everything can be predicated of the attributes, except of course substance. However, only mental predicates can be predicated 11. of the attribute of thought, and only physical ones of that of extension. This i s the best way of construing the notion that the attributes are i n -f i n i t e merely 'in suo genere'. They are the fundamental categories in which substance expresses i t s e l f , and i t i s only through these categories that sub-stance can be described, since to characterize i t i n any other way would i n -volve predicating i t of something, which i s impossible. This provides an explanation of Spinoza's saying words to the effect that substance i s nothing over and above i t s attributes. The third member of Spinoza's ontological trilogy i s the mode. A mode is an 'affection' of substance, or 'that which i s i n another thing through which also i t i s conceived'. Thus, to revert to our common-sense example, modes stand to substance, for Spinoza, as blushes, grins, etc., stand, for us, to people. Spinoza i s maintaining i n ETHICS that a l l the things i n the world are modes. Modes are 'in' substance, and through i t are conceived. To say this i s to deny the independent rea l i t y of such 'substantial' things as people, tables, chairs and the l i k e . These things are a l l just 'expressions' of sub-stance, and have their existence solely as such. There i s another important distinction, however, which cuts across the substance-mode boundary, and this i s the distinction between i n f i n i t e and f i n i t e . Substance consists of: ... i n f i n i t e attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and i n f i n i t e essence ... E . i . l l . but among the modes there are i n f i n i t e and f i n i t e modes. The i n f i n i t e modes are not, of course, absolutely i n f i n i t e , but merely i n f i n i t e in their own kinds, and: 12. That thing i s called f i n i t e i n i t s own kind (in suo genere) which can be limited by another thing of the same nature. For example, a body i s called f i n i t e , because we always conceive another which i s greater. So a thought i s limited by another thought; ... E.i.D.3. Modes such as ordinary bodies, and thoughts more puzzlingly, are said to be f i n i t e , because they can be limited by another thing of the same category. I take this to mean i n the case of bodies that no matter what body we conceive we could always conceive of another body, which would be either larger than i t , or i f not that, at least outside i t , and which would therefore 'limit' i t i n the relevant sense. Between the attributes, which joi n t l y constitute substance, and these f i n i t e modes are the so-called i n f i n i t e modes. The two of the allegedly i n -f i n i t e numbers of attributes which constitute substance, of which we, f i n i t e modes as we are, can conceive, are Thought and Extension. According to Spinoza these attributes are expressed i n a number of ways, giving rise to the f i n i t e modes, which are the expressions. There are certain rules for the expression of these attributes, which i n the case of the attribute of extension, we would c a l l the basic laws of science. One such rule i s that everything extended must be either i n motion or at rest. In Spinoza's terminology Motion and Rest i s an i n f i n i t e and eternal mode of the attribute of extension. Not only this, but i t i s an immediate i n f i n i t e and eternal mode, because i t follows directly from the attribute of extension. There are other i n f i n i t e modes, which are rather mysterious - the so-called mediate i n f i n i t e modes, which one for the attribute of extension i s 'the face of the whole universe'. Spinoza gives examples of these two types of mode in the following le t t e r to Schuller: 13. Lastly, the examples for which you ask are; of the f i r s t kind, in Thought, absolutely i n f i n i t e under-standing, but i n Extension, motion and rest; of the second kind, the face of the whole Universe which although i t varies i n i n f i n i t e modes, yet re-mains always the same; ... LETTER LXIV to G.H. Schuller. Spinoza does not say much to c l a r i f y his notion of 'the face of the whole Universe'. Stuart Hampshire goes some way to explaining i t i n his book on Spinoza. We may ..., i f we go on ad infinitum, conceive the whole of nature as one individual, the parts of which (that i s to say a l l bodies) change i n i n f i n i t e ways without any change of the whole individual. ( E . i i . LEM. VII. Note) This highest-order individual Spinoza calls 'the face of the whole Universe' ...; in the hierarchy of his system of modes, i t has the t i t l e of 'a mediate i n f i n i t e and eternal mode' under the attribute of extension. It i s 'mediate' because i t is logically dependent on the immediate mode of motion and rest, which i s the primary, or l o g i c a l l y prior, feature of extension; i t i s ' i n f i n i t e ' and 'eternal' because the fact that Nature as a whole, conceived as a spatial system, remains thus s e l f -identical follows directly from the conception of motion-and-rest as the necessary feature of the extend-ed world. STUART HAMPSHIRE: SPINOZA p.74. I think that 'the face of the whole Universe' refers to the whole of physics. Probably Spinoza believed that a l l the laws of physics followed from the basic laws of motion. There i s a further element i n 'the face of the whole Universe' which i s worth mentioning b r i e f l y . Spinoza believed that the unchangeableness of the whole Universe followed from the laws of motion and rest. This i s connected with the view that a l l motion and rest is relative. I think that one of the reasons why Spinoza believed that the universe i s wholly unchangeable is that he believed that a l l change was 14. relative to something other than the thing that i s said to change. It is easy to infer erroneously from this belief, that the universe as a whole cannot change. There is no doubt that a lot of work needs to be done to c l a r i f y the relations between the i n f i n i t e modes, particularly the mediate ones, and attributes, and f i n i t e modes, but I cannot here undertake this probably arduous task. So to summarize, in Spinoza's ontology there is one substance, God or Nature, which is absolutely independent, and can never be predicated of anything. This substance consists of i n f i n i t e attributes, each one of which expresses i n f i n i t e and eternal essence, and is i n f i n i t e i n suo genere. The attributes are the summa genera on the predicative side. Finally there are the modes, the i n f i n i t e of which follow logically from their own attribute, and share most of the features of attributes, except that they cannot be conceived through themselves alone; the f i n i t e modes are such things as thoughts, feelings, individual minds, bodies and people. These last are completely dependent entities. I shall say a l i t t l e more about the relation between modes, attributes and substance i n the next section. 2. SPINOZA'S THEORY OF CAUSATION. ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT. Spinoza as perhaps the most r a t i o n a l i s t i c Rationalist of a l l , was a firm believer i n a principle of sufficient reason. He did not share with Leibniz the belief that everything that happens must happen for a reason because God is the supremely rational person. He took i t as being just an obvious principle that relies on nothing else for i t s truth. This principle that everything has an explanation i s one of the bastions of Rationalism. Although the most eminent Empiricist once wrote: "I never asserted so absurd 15. a proposition as that any thing might arise without a cause", one of the marks which distinguish Rationalists from Empiricists i s the Rationalists' belief that there is a sufficient reason for everything. When Hume says that he wouldn't hold such an absurd belief as that something might arise without a cause, he has something different in mind from Spinoza when HE says, express-ing his causal maxim: In nature there is nothing contingent, but a l l things are determined from the necessity of the divine nature to exist and act i n a certain manner. E.i.22. Although Hume might have believed that everything has a cause, despite knocking down arguments i n favour of the proposition, he certainly rejected the claim that i n nature there i s nothing contingent. His c r i t e r i a for some-thing being a cause of something else e x p l i c i t l y rule out the p o s s i b i l i t y of cause and effect being logically connected. ... as a l l distinct ideas are separable from each other, and as the ideas of cause and effect are evidently disti n c t , ' t w i l l be easy for us to con-ceive any object to be non-existent this moment, and existent the next, without conjoining to i t the distinct idea of a cause or productive principle. HUME: TREATISE I. II. i i i . This passage seems to contain a non-sequitur which arises out of an ambiguity, for when Hume says that the ideas of cause and effect are evidently distinct he i s talking about the concept of cause and that of effect, but when he writes that any object may exist at one moment, having been non-existent the previous one, without there being a relevant productive principle, he is maintaining that causes are distinct from effects, not just that the concepts are separable concepts. What I mean by the latter remark is that Hume believed that i t is quite possible to conceive of any given effect without conceiving of i t s cause. 16. There is no necessary connexion between a cause and i t s effect. This i s be-cause the cause and the effect are for Hume just 'brute facts'. The ideas of causes and effect are sensory states which occur at separate times, and dif f e r -ent times are distinct, inasmuch as what happens at one time is log i c a l l y independent of what happens at any other time. Let us now compare this with Spinoza on cause and effect. From a given determinate cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, i f no determinate cause be given, i t is impossible that an effect can follow. The knowledge of an effect depends upon and involves the knowledge of the cause. E.I. A . l £ 3. These two axioms suggest that the relation between cause and effect i s far from contingent. Spinoza as a Rationalist believed not just that every-thing has an explanation i n some weak sense, such as being caused i n a Humean sense. He believed that everything could ultimately be understood, and his notion of understanding incorporates gaining knowledge of that through which the thing to be understood has to be conceived. Those things which have nothing mutually i n common with one another cannot through one another be mutually understood, that is to say, the conception of the one does not involve the conception of the other. E.i.A.5. He uses this axiom i n his proof of E.i.3. If two things have nothing i n common with one another, one cannot be the cause of the other. If they have no tiling mutually in common with one another, they cannot (Ax.5) through one another be mutually understood, and therefore (Ax.4) one 17. cannot be the cause of the other. E.i.3. § i t s Dem. To give a Spinozist cause of something one must give the thing through which the problematic item has to be conceived. This involves as a necessary con-dition giving something which entails the existence of the item in question. Only thus w i l l one be able to understand why the thing exists. But the Rationalist mind i s not satisfied with just t h i s , for the question w i l l i n -evitably arise, or at least could always arise, about the thing which i s the cause of the f i r s t 'effect'. I f one had a Humean theory of causation, where the causal relation i s transitive and irr e f l e x i v e , this chain of causes could never be completed, for one could never reach anything which was self-explana-tory, or self-caused. This consequence of irreflexive theories of causation, namely that there cannot be an ultimate or self-explanatory explanation of why things happen i n the way they do puts strong pressure on a Rationalist to produce some alternative. There i s another feature of Humean theories of causation which cannot be acceptable to a Rationalist mind, and that is to do with the causal relation i t s e l f . Humean causes do not provide the right kind of explanation for a Rationalist, since i t i s always logically possible, and is thus possible as far as the understanding i s concerned, that given a cause any of a number of effects might follow. Hume did not seek, when looking for the cause of something, for an ultimate or logically perfect explanation of wiry that thing occurred, and I think that he was right i n so not doing. Spinoza, however, would certainly have disagreed with this markedly empiricist view, and this i s at least partly because he had 18. a markedly different view of the nature of explanation from Hume. I don't think that his b e l i e f that there are sufficient reasons for everything had to lead him to the belief that a l l events i n the world are logically connected in that they are a l l part of one giant causal nexus; for Leibniz believed that there was an ultimate explanation for everything that happens, but he shared Hume's scepticism about there being a logical connexion between events. In Monadology Section 7 Leibniz suggests very strongly that there i s no causal interraction i n the monadic realm, basically because of the contingency of events. From this i t i s clear that he had a notion of cause which i s much stronger than Humes, and that for this reason, given f a i r l y obvious facts about the world he admitted that there i s no genuine causal interaction. In the draft of a letter to Arnauld he actually talks of cause and effect as being merely an ideal relation between phenomena. In this sense of cause there are of course causal interactions between things, but for Leibniz these 'causes' are not genuine causes since they do not provide a sufficient reason for the occurrence of the 'effect'. Causation as an ideal relation i s i n fact very similar to Hume's notion of causation. How can this view of events and the denial of genuine causal interactions be squared with Leibniz's Rationalism? Leibniz believed that underlying everything there i s the supreme all-wise, benevolent, all-powerful, anthropomorphically-conceived God. Everything that happens i n the world is i n a sense contingent, as resting on the w i l l of God. But the nature of God is such that the only world He, being a l l wise, benevol-ent, and all-powerful, would create, i s the best of a l l possible worlds. Furthermore, He, being the supremely rational being always acts rationally, and thus had to (at least i n Leibniz's eyes) have a rational motive for doing 19. anything. Thus the 'true cause' of anything happening, and of anything that happens i s , according to Leibniz, God's reason for bringing about the partic-ular thing. Leibniz's God is such that given His nature and certain facts, i t follows that A rather than B w i l l occur. He denies that there i s any entailment relation linking cause and effect in the vulgar notion of causation. He i s certainly not denying that there are ultimate explanations for the occur-rence of things. He i s simply denying that they can be given i n terms of (efficient or logical) causality. Descartes was really very confused about cause and effect. He adhered to some form of the 'transfer' theory of causation. Thus, for him, i f A caused B then A must have transferred some of i t s e l f to something to produce B. For instance, i f a f i r e i s the cause of a kettle's heating up, then, on Descartes' view the f i r e must have transferred some of i t s heat to the kettle, thus bringing i t about that the kettle i s heated up. The transfer theory i s un-acceptable as an account of causation, even leaving theological issues out of the picture, but i t faces insuperable problems regarding the existence and origin of God. Like Hume's theory of causation the transfer theory has causat-ion as an irreflexive relation. With this theory problems arise for any Rationalist who seeks an explanation for everything, as Descartes does. Nothing exists concerning which the question may not be raised: - what is the cause of i t s existence? For the question may be asked even concerning God. DESCARTES: REPLY TO OBJECTIONS I I , HALDANE § ROSS VOL. II p.55. Since Descartes, unlike Leibniz and like Spinoza, rejected explanations i n terms of f i n a l causes, he was presented with a problem i n the form of a dilemma. He would have either to abandon the Rationalist dogma that everything has a cause, or to admit that there was something, other than God, who transferred 20. some of His power to another source to create God, for i t would surely be absurd to say that God brought about His own existence, as this would have involved Him doing something before He existed, a feat which a Rationalist ought to believe is beyond even the a b i l i t y of the Gods. In fact i t would involve the contradiction of God being separate from Himself. Descartes not surprisingly f a i l s to provide an adequate reply to this objection which was brought to his attention by Arnauld. He replied to Arnauld that i t i s useful to talk of God in language which suggests that He i s the efficient cause of His own existence, but that this i s not s t r i c t l y true. It i s necessary to talk as i f i t were, because otherwise, f r a i l souls that we are, we wouldn't understand why God exists. I think one could hardly be blamed for s t i l l not knowing why, even after reading Descartes' reply. A l i t t l e later on i n this reply to Amauld he even writes calamatously: ... thus although we do not enquire for an efficient cause with respect to a thing's essence, nevertheless we can do so with respect to i t s existence; but i n God essence and existence are not distinguished; hence we may enquire about the efficient cause of God. H. § R. VOL. II. p.113. At this point the reader might well wonder what a l l this had to do with Spinoza, especially in a work that does not profess to be a study of the views of his near contemporaries. My ju s t i f i c a t i o n for discussing b r i e f l y Descartes' views on causation i s that Spinoza's theory can be seen as an attempt to over-come some of the d i f f i c u l t i e s encountered by the Cartesian theory. I t is per-haps a l i t t l e easier to understand Spinoza's motivation for developing his rather bizarre theory i f we see i t i n this light. Spinoza was very much in-fluenced by the writing of Descartes, and he has on occasion been called the philosopher who had the courage to take Cartesianism to i t s logical conclusion. Others, such as Leon Roth have argued a contrary thesis on this matter, namely that the mature philosophy of Spinoza i s a reaction against Cartesianism. What is indisputable is that Spinoza, who was steeped in Descartes at an early age, was at least as aware of the shortcomings of the f i r s t great Rationalist's work as was any of his contemporaries. Spinoza, who believed that the vehicle for explanation was cause, was committed to the view that everything that exists has a cause, for to deny this would be to admit that there i s something in the universe which i s inex-plicable - a be l i e f which i s anathema to any Rationalist. Given any notion of causation where the relation of cause and effect is irreflexive, such as Hume's or that of Descartes, i t is d i f f i c u l t to maintain the Rationalist dogma that everything has an explanation, i f by this one means that i t i s i n principle possible to answer a l l "why" questions about the universe. This i s because everything that i s given as an explanatory cause, i t s e l f stands i n need of explanation, and not just that, but explana-tion by something else, not already explained, and so on ad infinitum. One route taken by philosophers i s to put God at the end of the causal chain, and to admit that God's existence i s uncaused, and that God can, through His i n f i n i t e power set off the entire chain of causation. Of course this i s to admit that there is at least one mystery about the universe which cannot, in principle be solved by rational inquiry. In order to preserve his Christian creator-God Descartes was prepared to concede, i n a very humble manner, that the human i n t e l l e c t , being merely f i n i t e , just couldn't really grasp some of the mysteries of God, and that this was why explanations about 22. the i n f i n i t e nature of God seemed to defy reason, or at least much of Carte-sian philosophy. Spinoza was completely uncompromising on this matter, and was certainly prepared to stick by reason even i f the price was to abandon the Judaeo-Christian God. In fact he did not consider that this abandonment was really a price to pay at a l l , since he rejected this kind of a God for a number of reasons, just one of which was that such a God seemed to him to be counter to reason. Along with the Judaeo-Christian God Spinoza abandoned the Cartesian irreflexive relation of cause and effect as his vehicle for explanation. 3. SPINOZA'S THEORY OF CAUSATION. THE THEORY ITSELF. The very f i r s t definition i n ETHICS i s as follows: By cause of i t s e l f , I understand that whose essence involves existence; or that, whose nature cannot be conceived unless existing. E.I. DEF. 1. What Spinoza means by 'cause of i t s e l f i s really 'something whose existence is entailed, i n a logical sense, by i t s very nature'. Just as a triangle cannot be conceived with more or less than three sides, so something that is a 'cause of i t s e l f cannot be conceived as not existing. In more familiar language, a triangle necessarily has three sides, and in the same sense of 'necessarily', a self-caused thing necessarily exists. The existence of a self-caused thing needs no more explanation than the three-sidedness of a triangle. Spinoza uses this notion of cause of i t s e l f in one of his more lamentable demonstrations, i n this case regarding the existence of Substance. 23. It pertains to the nature of substance to exist. There i s nothing by which substance can be pro-duced (Corol. Prop. 6). It w i l l therefore be the cause of i t s e l f , that i s to say (Def. 1), i t s essence necessarily involves existence, or i n other words i t pertains to i t s nature to exist. E.i.7 § i t s Dem. The conclusion of this demonstration, that the essence of substance involves existence, i s used by Spinoza i n his ontological argument for God's existence in E.i.12. What i s wrong with the demonstration above quoted i s that i t does not follow from the proposition that there i s nothing by which substance can be produced that i t is the cause of i t s e l f i n the required sense. A l l that i t shows i s that i f substance exists i t s existence is attributable solely to i t s own nature. Apart from this there i s another mistake made by Spinoza i n connexion with the reflexive 'self-caused' which should be mentioned now. Spinoza moved from the proposition that something's existence i s not restricted by space and time, to the proposition that the thing's existence is a logical necessity. He uses this move i n his proof of the existence of substance, which i s equated with the universe. His reasoning i s as follows: The universe as a whole cannot enter into any causal relation with anything else, since, necessarily, i t i s a l l that there i s . As nothing could have any causal commerce with the universe, the universe's existence must be i n -dependent of everything else, and therefore i t must be self-caused, and so, from E.i.7. Dem., must necessarily exist. This i s simply a confusion between 'unbounded by space and time' and 'logically necessary'. The mistake crops up again when Spinoza i s discussing the 'infinite and eternal laws of the universe', where he goes through the following steps: As there is nothing which can have any effect on the universe, so nothing can affect i t s governing 24. principles, or laws. Therefore these laws are i n f i n i t e and eternal. There-fore they necessarily (logically) hold. I shall leave this matter here, whilst acknowledging that quite a lot more could be said about i t . The problem about asking a series of "why?" questions i s similar to that of the series of questions put to Locke's unfortunate Indian. The Indian ... who, saying that the world was supported by a great elephant, was asked what the elephant rested on; to which his answer was -a great tortoise: but being pressed to know what gave support to the broad-backed tortoise, replied -something, he knew not what. LOCKE: ESSAY BK. II. CH.23. In important respects Empiricists are like the Indian, i n particular with respect to providing 'ultimate' explanations of why things are the way they are. F i r s t of a l l an Empiricist cannot explain why a particular causal relation holds, except by introducing another cause - the cause of the f i r s t causal relation's holding. The same question can now be asked about the new causal relation, and so on. Secondly, the Empiricist causal relation i t s e l f i s simply a particular kind of regularity, which inevitably leaves a dangling question, which i t cannot answer 'Why i s there any regularity?' By this question I mean 'Why i s i t that certain events always occur only after certain other events?' It seems that at some stage, given an obsessive asker of "Why?" questions, that an Empiricist would be driven to saying something like 'That's just the way things are, and that's the end of the matter'. Spinoza believed that there is a logical end to the series of "Why?" questions, and that this end comes when one reaches substance, whose nature provides the answer to the question concerning i t s existence. Of any thing 25. i n the world we might ask: 'Why does this exist?' and so on. Our answer w i l l be in terms of other things, about which the same question might be asked. However, i f we could eventually trace everything back to substance we would be able to put an end to the series of questions, because substance requires no explanation beyond i t s own nature - given i t s nature, i t s exist-ence is self-explanatory. Spinoza indeed does trace everything back to sub-stance: From the necessity of the divine nature in-f i n i t e numbers of things in i n f i n i t e ways (that is to say, a l l things which can be con-ceived by the i n f i n i t e intellect) must follow. Hence i t follows that God i s the efficient cause of a l l things which can f a l l under the i n f i n i t e i n t e l l e c t . E.i.16 § Corol. In order to curl the t a i l of the seemingly endless enquiry into why things exist, so that the enquiry doesn't rely on a dangling and unexplained i n f i n i t e chain, Spinoza equates the notion of entailment with that of causation. In the proposition just quoted he i s saying simply that, just as God's existence follows from His nature, so the existence of everything that can be conceived follows from His nature as well. God i s the cause of Himself, and also the cause of everything that exists, for a l l things which exist must f a l l under the i n f i n i t e i n t e l l e c t , since ' f a l l i n g under the i n f i n i t e i n t e l l e c t ' means 'being conceivable by an i n f i n i t e i n t e l l e c t ' . Spinoza has taken the paradigm of a rational explanation - a logical argu-ment - to i t s logical conclusion. Every truth is a necessary truth. Every-thing that happens has to happen i n precisely the way i t does happen. Things could have been produced by God i n no 26. other manner and i n no other order than that in which they have been produced. E.i . 2 3 . This radical form of determinism stems from Spinoza's entailment theory of causation, which is required to provide the epistemological foundation sought by his rationalist mind. For i f everything follows logically from the given nature of God, then, according to Spinoza, i f anything was i n any way di f f e r -ent from the way i t i s , then that from which i t follows, namely God would have to be different, but this i s absurd, since God's nature i s self-evidently necessary. I t would be a straightforward contradiction to give God a nature different from the one He has, and so i t i s , i n a strong sense, impossible that things should have been produced i n a different manner or order. Spinoza sees a l l the events i n the world as being related as steps i n an argument, or rather he sees the statements describing events as being the statements of steps i n an argument. The argument has only one assumption and this assumption cannot be altered, and everything in the argument follows from this assumption. Spinoza believed that i f the steps i n the argument were i n any way different, and the argument was to remain v a l i d , the assumption would have to change. But this i s , by hypothesis impossible. Therefore the steps have to be just the way they are. The line of reasoning i s invalid, for one can derive a conclusion from an assumption i n a number of ways. When one i s trying to prove something from a given premise, there are a number of different ways one can set about proving whatever i t i s . Furthermore, one could derive a statement or set of statements from any of a number of premises. The series might remain the same, although the i n i t i a t i n g premise might change, and the premise might change leaving the series the same as i t would have been had the original 27 . premise remained. When we are engaging i n logical arguments, we are selective i n what we take for our argument from the original premise - there i s no best order, or only possible order which follows from a given premise. Spinoza thought there was, and used this to produce his determinism, which i s the way he expresses his Rationalism about everything having an explanation. As well as not generating the requisite determinism, the entailment theory has other i n t r i n s i c demerits. One might, with j u s t i f i c a t i o n , accuse Spinoza of trying to cast out the speck of sawdust i n other theories of causation, only to i g -nore the plank i n what he substitutes for them. The main problem about the entailment theory is that i t makes the po s s i b i l i t y of changing incomprehensible, at least i f the theory i s taken l i t e r a l l y . For i f everything that 'happens' is entailed by the ' i n f i n i t e and eternal essence of God', then i t doesn't happen at a l l , for happenings occur at times, whereas entailments are eternal, or perhaps atemporal. At least Descartes' theory of causal transfers allows for changes in time, as does Hume's, and this i s more important than being able to accomodate an explanation for the existence of God. Spinoza was able to push his Rational-ism so far i n the direction of logical explanations for everything that he failed to recognize the contingency of events i n the world. Leibniz, although he didn't take time very seriously, managed to recognize the contingency of happenings. Spinoza also ignored analysing time, perhaps because of the obvious embarrassment i t creates for his radical causal rationalism.^" Fortun-ately he often doesn't take the causal rationalism absolutely l i t e r a l l y , and sometimes he pretends i t isn't there at a l l . . By 'causal rationalism' I mean the doctrine that to say 'A i s the cause of B' i s to say 'A logically entails B'. 28. 4. SPINOZA'S THEORY OF CAUSATION. THE THEORY AT WORK In fact Spinoza does attempt to deal with one of the problems he has created for himself with his causal rationalism. The problem can be stated in the following terms. I f everything follows lo g i c a l l y from the i n f i n i t e and eternal essence or nature of substance, then why are there, as there obviously are, transient and f i n i t e things, the f i n i t e modes? Spinoza admits that everything which follows from the absolute nature of God must be i n f i n i t e . A l l things which follow from the absolute nature of any attribute of God must for ever exist, and must be i n f i n i t e ; that i s to say, through that same attribute they are eternal and i n f i n i t e . E.i.21. If we combine this proposition with E.i.16., we should get the conclusion that everything there is is i n f i n i t e and eternal. This conclusion is, however, i n obvious direct contradiction to the Spinozist doctrine that human beings are just some of a whole l o t of f i n i t e modes. Also, E.i.28. i s i n direct contradiction to E.i.16. An individual thing, or a thing which i s f i n i t e and which has a determinate existence, cannot exist nor be determined to action unless i t be determined to existence and action by another cause which i s also f i n i t e and has a determinate existence; and again, this cause cannot exist nor be determined to action unless by another cause which i s also f i n i t e and determined to existence and action, and so on ad infinitum. E.i.28. Leibniz, who was not noted for his generosity to Spinoza or his philosophy, was quick to come up with a very cogent objection to Spinoza's theory of caus-ation, which arises out of there obviously being f i n i t e things i n the world. 29. (Spinoza) maintains ... that f i n i t e and temporal things cannot be produced immediately by an in-f i n i t e cause, but that they are produced by other causes, individual and f i n i t e . But how w i l l they f i n a l l y then spring from God? For they cannot come from him mediately in this case, since we could never reach i n this way things which are not similarly produced by another f i n i t e thing. It cannot, therefore, be said that God acts by mediating secondary causes, unless he produces secondary causes. LEIBNIZ: REFUTATION OF SPINOZA, WIENER: LEIBNIZ SELECTIONS p.497. In fact Spinoza's position isn't quite as bad as i t seems. F i r s t of a l l , i n answer to the claim that E.i.16 and E.i.21 are simply inconsistent with the existence of f i n i t e and temporal modes, one could say the following. When Spinoza says, i n E.i.16, that everything follows from 'the necessity of the divine nature' he means something different by 'the necessity of the divine nature 1 from what he means by 'the absolute nature of any attribute of God' i n E.i.21. The significant difference l i e s i n the word 'absolute', which occurs only i n the latte r proposition. One might then read E.i.21 in the following way. ' A l l things which follow from the absolute nature of any attribute of God must ...'. One could then interpret the proposition as asserting that everything that follows immediately from the definition of, or at least from the essence of, God, i s i n f i n i t e and eternal. This would leave one room for the f i n i t e and temporal, by admitting the existence of things which did ultimately follow from God, but didn't follow immediately from His definition or essence. But this escape from the frying pan of self-contradic-tion seems to lead straight to the f i r e of Leibniz's objection. Spinoza has equated the entailment relation with the causal relation. Everything i s caused by God. Therefore everything i s entailed by God. What Spinoza appears to be striving for is to be able to say the following. The i n f i n i t e and eternal follow directly from the nature of God. The f i n i t e and temporal also 30. follow from God's nature, but only indirectly. The problem i s : 'How can the existence of f i n i t e things, and especially temporal things, be logically inferred from the existence of an i n f i n i t e and eternal thing?'. E.M. Curley in his book SPINOZA'S METAPHYSICS, and Peter Remnant i n a recent graduate seminar at the University of Br i t i s h Columbia, have independ-ently provided similar accounts of Spinoza's views on the causality of God in relation to the world. The Curley-Remnant interpretation effects a parti a l salvage of Spinoza's ultimately untenable position. The interpretation which follows i s essentially a hybrid of the views of Remnant and Curley, which, on this matter, are very similar. Let us, for the sake of simplicity, concentrate on the attribute of ex-tension. We shall f i r s t of a l l take Spinoza's remarks on this subject as being really statements about facts rather than things. We can then take i t that the divine attribute of extension i s a manifestation of an ultimate law, or 'basic nomological' law, of real i t y . One could characterize the attribute of extension by saying 'Every substance must be extended'. The immediate i n f i n i t e mode under the attribute of extension, the mode of motion-and-rest, follows logically from the attribute of extension. This mode can be characterized thus. 'Everything i s either i n motion or at rest'. It follows from the attribute of extension, since the existence of this attribute entails that everything, that i s 'substance', i s extended. But anything that i s extended i s , as a matter of logic either in motion or at rest. Therefore everything is either i n motion or at rest. 31. The mediate i n f i n i t e mode under the attr i b u t e of extension, "the face of the whole universe', which f o r a l l intents and purposes, can be equated with physics, i n turn follows from the laws of motion and r e s t . One should note at t h i s juncture that so f a r a l l the statements which are i n the deduction are universal statements of the form ' A l l x i s ...'. We s t a r t o f f with something which resembles an eternal t r u t h , and was c e r t a i n l y regarded as such by Spinoza, and we end up with another seeming eternal truth. Before going further, i t might be worth noting that already we can see Spinoza's confusion between 'unbounded by spatiotemporal r e s t r i c t i o n s ' and 'necessary'. I f i t i s true that any substance must be extended, i t i s true without re f e r -ence to any time or to any place. I am not sure whether one ought to say that i t i s necessarily true that any substance must be extended. I suppose that given Spinoza's d e f i n i t i o n of substance, i t i s so. I t also seems reason-able to say that 'anything extended must be e i t h e r i n motion or at re s t ' i s necessarily true. I t i s a s i m i l a r kind of tr u t h to 'nothing can be red and green a l l over at the same time'. The laws of physics share with the above two statements, that they are not l i m i t e d by time and space. By t h i s I mean that the basic laws of physics are true f o r a l l times and a l l places. However i t i s not the case that these laws are necessarily true. I t would not involve a contradiction to deny, say Archimedes' p r i n c i p l e , or other basic laws of physics. Spinoza, however, thought i t would, and to think so i s quite under-standable. This a l l f i t s i n w e l l with the entailment theory of causation. The 'cause' of the attr i b u t e of extension i s 'substance' i t s e l f . The nature of substance explains why a l l substances must be extended. The 'cause' of the 33. plus certain facts about the f i n i t e tiling in question and other f i n i t e things. This i s rather similar to the familiar causal picture, where for instance the causal law that people who f a l l out of the topmost window of a one hundred storey building, i f their f a l l i s unimpeded, w i l l die, plus the fact that I am i n an unimpeded f a l l from the top of a hundred storey building only j ointly entail that I w i l l die. E.i.16 i s stressing that eternal laws cannot be l e f t out of any explana-tion. E.i.28 i s stressing that when one i s talking about f i n i t e things, one cannot leave f i n i t e things out of one's explanation. Although the two proposi-tions l i t e r a l l y do conflict, we can reinterpret them and provide a construct-ive suggestion as to what Spinoza had i n mind i n asserting them. I would l i k e to say three things about this way of reading Spinoza. F i r s t of a l l , the idea that the occurrence of an event i s entailed not solely by a causal law nor by the occurrence of a prior event, but only by a combination of the two, i s not merely true, but t r i v i a l l y so. This, however, i s not i n i t s e l f too bad, since i t is one of the tasks of an innovative meta-physician to convince his attentive readers that his system can account for the everyday facts. The second point i s more important, and i s as follows. Spinoza held i t to be axiomatic that: The knowledge of an effect depends upon and involves the knowledge of the cause. E.i.Ax.4. 34. I f I am not mistaken, this would leave Spinoza open to the charge that his theory does not enable us to have knov Ledge of anything except eternal and in f i n i t e truths. For of any two f i n i t e things, A and B, B being the pa r t i a l cause of A, I cannot know A unless I know B; but I cannot know B unless I know i t s cause, part of which w i l l be the f i n i t e C, and so on ad infinitum. This i s certainly entailed by the Curley-Remnant interpretation, and i t seems, at the very least, to have an a i r of paradox about i t . However, to this I would say that i t is a bad reflection on Spinoza rather than on the Curley-Remnant view of his theory. In fact Spinoza did believe that we could not have adequate knowledge of f i n i t e things. So an interpretation which implies this i s not to be rejected on the grounds that i t saddles Spinoza with this view. As a Rationalist who unequivocally scorned the senses, i t is not surprising that Spinoza should have held this view that we could not have adequate knowledge of f i n i t e and transient things, as such knowledge would have to come v i a the senses. It i s actually part of his later theory of freedom that we become free as we cease f i l l i n g our heads with 'inadequate' ideas of f i n i t e things. I shall leave discussion of this matter u n t i l a later chapter. The third point really arises out of the second one, and i s this. Spinoza i s not able to answer Leibniz's objection sa t i s f a c t o r i l y . His causal rationalism forces him to admit that the ordinary everyday world i s not real, since the ordinary world i s temporal, and the causal theory cannot accomodate time. Nevertheless, Spinoza does not abandon his causal rationalism, which reappears i n the later part of ETHICS Part Five. Instead he 'forgets' i t whilst giving his account of the human condition of bondage to the 'affects'. 3 5 . We can be thankful that he does. Although there i s obviously much more work which could usefully be done on the topic of Spinoza's metaphysics, I shall now turn to my main concern in this essay - Spinoza's theory of human freedom. I f I have provided some-thing l i k e the requisite metaphysical background for at least understanding the context i n which Spinoza's work about human beings was written, then this chapter w i l l have achieved i t s purpose. CHAPTER TWO THE BONDAGE OF HUMAN BEINGS 5. THE SOURCE OF SPINOZA'S DETERMINISM. In many of the debates about the freedom of human beings, the main argu-ment against their freedom has been that everything i s causally determined, and as this i s so, there i s no room for freedom. Therefore no human beings are free, and the belief that they are stems from romantic muddle-headedness. Spinoza i s famous for being a determinist; he i s also well-known, not entirely on account of the work of Somerset Maugham, for believing that human-beings are not free, but i n bondage. However, his belief that people are not free does not stem from his determinism, but from a different, thought not entirely unconnected source. As a Rationalist Spinoza was deeply committed to the view that everything has an explanation or cause. But so were the other Rationalists, and they certainly did believe that people are at least free enough to deserve moral blame for their misdeeds. I readily concede that Descartes' account of human freedom was particularly misguided, but I would li k e to stress that there i s an important kind of freedom which i s not incompatible with determinism, despite being incompatible with any just ascriptions of responsibility to anything. That Spinoza believed i n some such sort of freedom despite his ra t i o n a l i s t i c determinism i s evident from the following. That thing i s called free which exists from the necessity of i t s own nature alone, and i s deter-mined to action by i t s e l f alone. That thing, on the other hand, is called necessary, or rather 37. compelled, which by another is determined to exist-ence in a fixed and prescribed manner. E . i . Def. 7. On this view i t is quite a l l right to admit that something is both causally determined and free, provided of course that the cause of the free thing's existence and action is i t s own nature and not anything else. As substance is the only thing that is completely self-caused, i t i s the only thing that can be said to be truly free. On the other hand, a human being is not self-caused. For Spinoza, i n order to be free, something has to be completely independent of anything else. That i s to say, the existence, and action of a free thing depends exclusively on i t s own nature or essence. What defines a human being, or constitutes i t s 'essence' does not entail the existence of any human beings. In E.i.8.Sch., Spinoza argues that Whenever i t i s possible for several individuals of the same nature to exist, there must necessarily be an external cause for their existence. He proves' this, taking man as a paradigm case of the p o s s i b i l i t y for several individuals of the same nature to exist. He assumes that there are just twenty men i n existence. I f there are just twenty men in existence, there must be a cause or reason why there are neither more nor less. This cause cannot l i e in human nature i t s e l f : ... since the true definition of a man does not in-volve the number twenty, and therefore ... the cause why these twenty men exist, and consequently the cause why each exists, must necessarily l i e out-side each one; ... E.i.8.Sch. Thus according to the definition given above of what i t is to be free, man i s necessarily unfree. Again, at the beginning of Part Four of ETHICS - that 38. entitled OF HUMAN BONDAGE, Spinoza writes: There i s no individual thing in nature which i s not surpassed i n strength by some other thing, but any individual thing being given, another and stronger i s also given, by which the former can be destroyed. E. iv. Axiom. In Part One of ETHICS Spinoza launched a frontal assault on anthropocen-trism and on orthodox Judaeo-Christian theology. His determinism i s , apart from anything else, part of this frontal assault. Many people, including Christians and Jews believe that human beings are importantly unique i n the universe. They maintain that people are special i n the world, because they can transcend nature. They believe we possess some-thing which i s loosely called 'free-will'. Such a view of mankind was to the Rationalist, scientific-minded Spinoza, prejudiced and ir r a t i o n a l . His main distinction between things was the 'inf i n i t e and eternal' versus the 'finite and temporal'. Clearly, on this count, people have the relevant things i n common with plants, animals, tables and chairs, and lack the features of God or Nature. It i s not a b i t surprising therefore, that Spinoza has i t as an axiom at the start of his discussion of human bondage that any individual thing in nature i s surpassed i n strength, and can be destroyed by, another. I shall come back to Spinoza's anti-anthropocentrism in the next section. Although anthropocentrism can be maintained by atheists, such as the Humanist group, i t goes hand in hand with the doctrines of Judaism and Christ-ianity. For the sake of brevity I shall discuss the Spinozist criticisms only of Christianity. There i s a pressure from orthodox Christianity to accept libertarianism, which i s the belief that human beings act in ways which are 39. not subject to determining laws. What Spinoza does i s to reject orthodox Christianity, and thereby remove one of the main bases for the belief in libertarianism. He also has independent reasons for rejecting libertarianism, which doctrine he regards as thoroughly incoherent. The f i r s t reason for believing i n libertarianism which stems from ortho-dox Christianity, i s that i t seems to be a necessary condition for God's hav-ing to do anything in order to create the world in the f i r s t place. There would simply be nothing for God to have done unless the creation had something independent of Him i n i t , for otherwise, i t would a l l be part of Himself. The obvious candidate for something independent of God i s mankind with the God-given g i f t of free-will. The second pressure from Christianity for believing i n libertarianism arises out of the Christian notion of desert. Admittedly there are some Christians who believe that we are such miserable creatures that we don't deserve anything. These people believe that we can attain salvation by God's grace alone, which seems to be l i t t l e more discriminating than a lottery. However the majority of Christians believe that the way to salvation i s through freely deciding to do the right thing, or adopt the right way of l i f e , namely the Christian way. Christians seek to explain the existence of e v i l i n the world, by attributing i t to people's freely rejecting God's commandments, although this attempt cannot succeed. The whole notion of guilt and deserv-ingness which l i e s so near the heart of Christian theology hardly makes sense unless people have real freedom of choice. Much of ETHICS Part One is devoted to showing that the idea of a creator-God separate from the creation, is absurd. Spinoza's main argument i s that no 40. substance can either be or be conceived besides God, since God i s a being of which no attribute can be denied. I f there were a substance existing be-sides God, this would 'limit' God, but this i s impossible, since God i s an 'absolutely i n f i n i t e ' being. Quite a lot can be said about Spinoza's attack on the rationality of believing i n a Christian God, but to get into a discussion of this would take us rather too far afield. What i s important is that Spinoza absolutely rejected the view of the world which presents a creator and a separate creation which i s dependent on the creator. The rejection of the Christian God removed important reasons for believ-ing i n libertarianism. As implied above Spinoza also had reasons of a positive nature for believing i n determinism. He was very against the notion of 'free-will' even for God. He writes: The w i l l cannot be called a free cause, but can only be called necessary. E.i.28. His argument for this i s based on the statement that the w i l l i s only a certain mode of thought, and as a l l modes are determined by external causes, the w i l l i s so determined, and hence i s not free. As a corollorary to this we find: Hence i t follows ... that God does not act from freedom of the w i l l . E.i.33. When Spinoza says this he really means i t and he doesn't attempt to grant God the freedom of choice accorded to the Christian God by introducing i t under a different name. For Things could have been produced by God in no other manner and in no other order than that i n which they have been produced. E. i.33. 41. We have already come across this proposition i n connection with the discussion of Spinoza's causal rationalism. His argument for the proposition, as we have seen, is not a good one, since i t involves ignoring the p o s s i b i l i t y of select-ing any of a number of conclusions from a given premise. For more discussion of this proposition and the argument for i t I refer the reader to 6. THE SCIENTIFIC VIEW. Spinoza's attack on anthropocentrism is part of his avid insistence upon being objective and ' s c i e n t i f i c ' i n his writings. The ' s c i e n t i f i c ' i s i n inverted commas because Spinoza's philosophy has been c r i t i c i s e d for being unscientific. We must remember that Spinoza and the other Rationalists bel-ieved that the most respectable s c i e n t i f i c enquiry was a p r i o r i . It stems from his taking his Rationalism very seriously that Spinoza writes at the be-ginning of ETHICS Part Three, about those who regard man i n nature as a king-dom within a kingdom, that they: ... proceed to attribute the cause of human weakness and changeableness, not to the common power of nature, but to some vice of human nature, which they there-fore bewail, laugh at, mock, or as i s more generally the case, detest; E . i i i . I n t r o . His intention, he t e l l s us, is not to scoff at the 'affects', but rather to understand them, by applying to their study the geometrical method. 'Under-standing' is the key word here. His reason for using the geometrical method for analyzing human 'affects' i s that: Nothing happens in nature which can be attributed to . any vice of nature, for she is always the same, and her power everywhere one. Her virtue is always the same, and her power of acting; that i s to say, her laws and rules, according to which a l l things are and are changed from form to form, are everywhere and 42. always the same; so that there must also be one and the same method of understanding the nature of a l l things whatsoever, that i s to say by the universal laws and rules of nature. E . i i i . I n t r o . Spinoza, then, had a very deep-seated belief i n the unity of science. The affects are roughly equivalent to what we would c a l l emotions, and include hatred, anger and envy amongst other things. The affects, which are par t i a l causes of what we would c a l l actions, are themselves normally caused by the same necessity as that which necessitates any natural phenomenon. Thus Spinoza treats human beings as simply being one group amongst many, of f i n i t e modes. For him there i s no essential difference between people and other bodies, which would j u s t i f y us in giving a special 'moral' treatment of the study of man. Thus he writes at the conclusion to the introduction to E . i i i : I shall consider human actions and appetites just as i f I were considering lines, planes or bodies. E . i i i . I n t r o . 7. THE SPECIAL TREATMENT OF HUMAN BEINGS. Having made a l l these disclaimers about the non-speciality of human be-ings i n the study of nature, Spinoza proceeds with what must be one of the most insightful and sympathetic accounts of the human condition. Before embarking on the discussion of his detailed account of human bondage I would lik e to recapitulate the metaphysical basis for his claim that human beings are inevitably in bondage. There are two meanings to 'free' - one of them is in distinction to 'caused'. In this sense of 'free', freedom i s impossible, even for an i n f i n i t e , or even absolutely i n f i n i t e being, since 'everything has 43. a cause1 i s , for any good Rationalist, a necessary truth. According to the other sense of 'free', the Spinozist sense, 'being free' is i n contradistinc-tion to 'having an external cause'. Substance i s the only free thing i n this sense. People are not free, since they depend for their existence on the co-operation of other things - they are not self-caused. In this respect they are not different from anything else i n the world. When Spinoza discusses human bondage i t i s significant that he emphasizes the mental manifestations of this condition. This i s interesting because a l -though he doesn't actually attribute minds to the things i n nature apart from human beings, i t i s one of his f a i r l y fundamental tenets that: The order and connexion of ideas i s the same as the order and connexion of things. E.ii.7. Many of the propositions of ETHICS express this parallelism between the world of ideas and the world of extended things. As the mind i s on the 'idea' side of things, and the body i s i t s analogue on the 'extension' side, one would expect that an understanding of human beings would involve knowledge of the human body no less than of the human mind. Early on i n Part One of ETHICS, Spinoza talks of the connexion between finitude and lack of freedom. The notion of finitude i s f a i r l y easily under-stood when applied to physical objects, but less so when applied to minds. Spinoza writes the following on the subject. ... For example, a body i s called f i n i t e , because we always conceive another which is greater. So a thought i s limited by another thought. E.i.DEF.2. It i s easy to understand how a body can be limited by another body, but much 44. less so, how a thought, or a mind i s limited by another mind. Of course we can talk of having f i n i t e minds, meaning by this that we cannot, for example, conceive an i n f i n i t y of things at the same time, but the problem s t i l l re-mains that we don't have a metric for size of minds, as we do for size of bodies. If human beings were not regarded as special by Spinoza we could have expected him to have produced a study of 'the order and connexion' of the human body, or human bodies, i n their commerce with the rest of the extended world, and then to invoke E.ii.7. to j u s t i f y his claim that the mind is i n bondage too. The point I am trying to make is that Spinoza is really doing himself an injustice, though he apparently would not have thought so, when he says that he i s going to consider human actions and appetites as i f he were studying lines, planes or bodies. I f he really followed this through he would have concentrated on the physical movements of the bodies of human beings, and would have then added the sp e c i f i c a l l y mental content at the end via E . i i . 7 . Of course he does try to maintain the objectivity with which one would normally study lines, planes and the l i k e , but one can detect through-out the l a t t e r parts of ETHICS a profound sympathy for the human condition, and i n particular for the mental anguish suffered by most human beings. 8. THE NATURE OF HUMAN BONDAGE. The kernel of Spinoza's theory of human bondage i s this. People are nearly always at the mercy of their affects. This i s made quite e x p l i c i t not only by the t i t l e of Part Four of ETHICS, which i n i t s complete form reads: "Of Human Bondage or of the Strength of the Affects", but also by the opening words of the introduction to that part. 45. ... The impotence of man to govern or restrain the affects I c a l l bondage, for a man who is under their control is not his own master, but is mastered by-fortune, in whose power he i s , so that he is often forced to follow •the worse, although he sees the better before him ... E.iv.Preface. The theory is basically that, as most people are f a i r l y weak they are nearly always at the mercy of their affects. When one i s at the mercy of an affect, one is not at the helm i n determining one's course of action. Affects come over one, whether or not one asks them to, and i t i s a matter of chance whether or not they impel one to do what one really wants to do, or what i t i s i n one's true interest to do. I shall amplify this point later, when I discuss the theory of the affects i n detial. Despite the seeming i n e v i t a b i l i t y of our being unfree for the reasons adduced e a r l i e r , Spinoza does talk of there being a distinction within the behaviour of human beings between activity and passivity, which suggests that our plight may be not quite as gloomy as at f i r s t appeared. I say that we act when anything is done, either within us or without us, of which we are the adequate cause, that i s to say (by preceding def.), when from our nature anything follows, either within or without us, which by that nature alone can be clearly and dist i n c t l y understood. On the other hand I say that we suffer when anything i s done within us, or when anything follows from our nature, of which we are not the cause except p a r t i a l l y . E.iii.Def.3. In more modern language one might translate the above definition into some-thing lik e the following: Whenever the occurrence of an event can be ex-plained solely by reference to the fundamental desire of a person that person is active - or perhaps better i s : We are active when we do something because 4 6 . that i s what we, namely our true selves, want to do. On the other hand we suffer, or are passive, to the extent that what we do is determined by any-thing other than our true selves. The question w i l l now, I suspect, arise i n the reader's mind as to what is this 'true s e l f . This might well be coupled with the question 'What i s the connexion between 'fundamental desire' and 'true s e l f ? They both seem extremely nebulous expressions which c a l l for explication, and they aren't obviously connected. 9. ESSENCES AND INNER DRIVES. Spinoza, as I think has been said e a r l i e r , distinguishes 'existence' from 'essence'. In connexion with his arguments about God, he says that God's essence involves existence, just as the essence of a triangle involves the triangle's having three sides. According to this notion of essence, an object's essence may be equated roughly with i t s definition. We know that a triangle w i l l have three sides as this fact i s contained in the definition or 'essence' of a triangle. Similarly, the argument goes, with God - that God exists i s part of the definition or 'essence' of God. It would be self-contradictory to deny existence to God, just as i t would be self-contradictory to deny three-sidedness to a triangle. Notwithstanding a l l t h i s , Spinoza has something else in mind when he talks of essences other than a simple equation of 'essence' and 'definition'. He does have a distinction between 'essence' and 'actual essence', which i s not specifically acknowledged by him, but is nonetheless important. He defines 'essence' i n the following way at the beginning of ETHICS Part Two: 47. I say that to the essence of anything pertains that, which being given, the tiling i t s e l f is necessarily posited, and being taken away, the thing is necessar-i l y taken; or, i n other words, that without which the thing can neither be nor be conceived, and which in i t s turn cannot be nore be conceived without the thing. E.ii.Def.2. Here 'essence' i s defined as something similar to what we might c a l l 'defin-ing characteristics'. This was a f a i r l y common interpretation of 'essence'. The essence of a thing consists of i t s essential properties. So, for any thing, i f i t s essential properties are instantiated the thing is said to exist. Similarly, i f the thing exists the essential properties must be i n -stantiated, and so on. This definition does not, as might appear on a f i r s t reading, commit Spinoza to an ontological argument for the existence of a l l things, for i t does not assert that the essence of a thing causes i t s existence. However, i t i s true that the instantiation of the essential properties of a thing 'causes' i t s existence, as this instantiation entails the existence of the thing. In order to get the ontological argument out of E.ii.Def.2., one would need the premise that 'existence' i s a defining or essential property of everything, which Spinoza does not accept. The definition above i s s l i g h t l y puzzling because Spinoza implies i n i t that the essence of a thing i s responsible for two a c t i v i t i e s . It f i r s t of a l l enables the thing to exist, and secondly enables i t to be conceived, as i f these were two separate feats. They are actually intimately related, for i f something is inconceivable i t could not exist, whereas the definition suggests, by the words "neither be nor be conceived", that something could be, and yet not be conceivable. Perhaps one should not make too much of this. 48. Spinoza had two different things i n mind when he talked of essences, even though he might have been misled by his causal rationalism into equating them. The second type of 'essence' has much more to do with an inner dynamic force which keeps things going, than with the defining or essential properties of the original definition. In the part of ETHICS which is devoted to ex-plaining the nature and origin of the affects Spinoza says the following: The effort by which each thing endeavours to persevere in i t s own being i s nothing but the actual essence of the thing i t s e l f . E . i i i . 7 The 'actual essence' of a thing i s here something l i k e the inner drive which holds i t together, or, i n the case of people, the basic motivational force. This i s a far cry from the rather abstract essential properties of the original account of 'essence', although the word 'essential' could j u s t i f i a b l y be applied to both sets of properties. More w i l l be said on this controver-s i a l subject of drives, when I talk i n more detail about motivation. So I contend that i n E.ii.Def.2., Spinoza i s confused between 'formal' essences or definitions and 'actual' essences, or inner-driving forces, and his confusion stems directly from his causal rationalism. What interests me here is the second sense of 'essence'. Spinoza believes that human beings are passive or i n bondage when what they do does not follow from their drive for self-preservation. The actual essence of each person is something very akin to the Freudian notion of the 'id'. The main difference is that Spinoza rather implausibly attributes this fundamental endeavour for self-preservation, or 'conatus' as i t i s commonly called, to a l l things, animate or inanimate. This 'conatus' doctrine i s f a i r l y well-known, not least for i t s being very d i f f i c u l t to defend, especially i n the face of 49. such self-destructive 'tilings' as activated time bombs. I shall not try to defend the 'conatus' doctrine, but would l i k e to say that i t i s a doctrine which has far more pl a u s i b i l i t y when applied to human beings and other animate objects, than when applied to l i f e l e s s things.-This i s a feature common to many of Spinoza's doctrines despite his vehement anti-anthropocentricism. His anti-anthropocentrism came from two directions. He tried to close the gap between people and things f i r s t of a l l by saying that people are far more lik e things than they think. He also maintained that things are far more lik e people than we think. Thus he demotes human beings and elevates non-human beings. These two strains i n Spinoza's anti-anthropocentrism are closely parallelled by his wavering between a cold s c i e n t i f i c view of the universe, and a reverent pantheism. Despite this he never manages quite to escape his deep commitment to understanding the human condition. In fact Spinoza does, whilst discussing the 'conatus' doctrine make relevant distinction between people and, say, inanimate objects. He makes the distinction as i f i t i s not particularly important, although i t turns out to have great significance. Talking of the effort or endeavour of any-thing to persevere in i t s own being he writes: This effort, when i t i s related to the mind alone, is called w i l l , but when i t i s related at the same time both to the mind and the body, i s called appetite, which is therefore nothing but the very essence of man, from the nature of which necessarily follow those things which promote his preservation, and thus he i s determined to do those things. Hence there is no difference between appetite and desire, unless i n this particular, that desire is generally related to men and i t may therefore be defined as 50. appetite of which we are conscious. E.iii.9.Sen. Human beings are different from ordinary tilings, because we have conscious-ness of our desires. Spinoza acknowledged this , but he could not adequately accomodate i t into his theory of psycho-physical parallelism, for he maintain-ed that the: ... idea of the mind i s united to the mind i n the same way as the mind i t s e l f i s united to the body. E.ii.21. According to his original theory every physical state has i t s mental counter-part. He i s now asserting that i n the same way every mental state has, be-sides a physical counterpart, a higher order mental state, which i t is d i f f i -cult to see as other than something l i k e our notion of self-consciousness. The problem with this i s that, along with the original parallelism, i t would entail that everything i s self-conscious, or that there are ideas of the ideas of say stones. Yet clearly there are mental states without self-consciousness, even i f one were to grant that a l l things have mental states. Moreover i t is obvious, amongst other things, from E.iii.9.Sch., that Spinoza realized this. In fact, in his theory of human freedom, our capacity for re-flective awareness, something not attributed to things other than people, i s crucial for the escape from bondage. It seems f a i r l y clear from this why Spinoza, i n his talk about human be-ings i s far more concerned with their mental aspect. Thoughts were somewhat of an embarrassment to him i n his metaphysical talk about f i n i t e and i n f i n i t e ; bodies are the embarrassment when he talks about the p o s s i b i l i t y of human freedom, since we have such obviously f i n i t e bodies. S I . I pass now to a discussion of the stumbling blocks to human freedom, the affects. 10. THE AFFECTS. PART ONE. 'Affect' i s defined in the following way: By affect I understand the affections of the body, by which the power of acting of the body i t s e l f i s increased, diminished, helped, or hindered, together with the ideas of these affections. E.iii.Def.3. One has affects only when there is some change i n the 'power of acting of the body i t s e l f . The nearest equivalent i n our language to an affect i s , I think, an emotion, although this i s not more than an approximation. The main difference may stem less from Spinoza meaning something different by 'affect' from what we mean by 'emotion', and more from the fact that he held unfamiliar views about our familiar emotions. Affects are a species of 'affection' of the body plus the idea of that affection. An affection i s a change in the state of a body. Some affections leave the body's power of acting unchanged, whilst others constitute a change in power. An affect i s an affection which constitutes a change i n a body's power of acting plus the corresponding idea of this change. When Spinoza talks of our bondage to the affects he is concerned mainly with affects such as sorrow, rage, joy and so on, rather than with the changes which occur i n one's power of acting when one suffers direct physical affronts such as being hi t on the head by a stone and the corresponding pain, although this would technically-speaking be an affect. 52. Spinoza does sometimes talk as i f the affects cause rises and f a l l s i n the power of bodies. What one might sa;r to explain this i s that an affect not only constitutes a change i n the power of acting of a body, but also causes a further rise or f a l l . A ctivity was believed by Spinoza to be more desirable than passivity. In fact he equated 'power' with 'virtue'. 'Power' i n this context means 'power of ac t i v i t y ' , 'activity' here being a technical term to be explained later. The affects of sorrow mark a change from the more to the less active. These affects are therefore i n themselves bad. For these negative affects constitute and bring about a diminution i n the power of the body. They also diminish the power of the mind, for: I f anything increases, diminishes, helps, or limits our body's power of action, the idea of that thing increases, diminishes, helps, or limits our body's power of thought. E . i i i . 1 1 . These, as I c a l l them, 'negative' affects, cannot stem from our own nature or actual essence, since our own nature i s constantly striving for self-realiza-tion which i s equated with activity. Our minds are, for instance, described in the following way: The mind endeavours as much as possible to imagine those things which increase or assist the body's power of acting. E.iii.12. When one is having a negative affect, one's mind i s not imagining that which w i l l increase the body's power of action, but on the contrary, i s dwelling on the loss of power of the body. These thoughts cannot stem from our own nature, 53. then. Therefore, to the extent that we have such affects we are not active, according to the definition given above. In ETHICS Part Three Spinoza says that there are three primary affects, which are joy, sorrow, and desire. The last of these causes problems of interpretation, since 'desire' i s not only associated with the already alluded to 'conatus', but i s reintroduced as something which arises from joys and sorrows. Spinoza even writes: There are as many kinds of desires, ... as there are kinds of joy, sorrow, love §c... E. iii.56.Dem. These individual desires can increase or diminish the power of acting of their possessors, whereas the conatus inevitably involves an increase. Spinoza certainly ought to have distinguished the 'conatus-desire' from the 'affect-desire', as these are, although related, different. The desires which arise out of joys and sorrows are affects from which a free person w i l l be free, whereas a free person w i l l have an extremely powerful conatus. The other two primary affects are defined i n the following way: By joy, ... I shall understand the passion by which the mind passes to a greater perfection; by sorrow, ... the passion by which i t passes to a less perfection. E . i i i . l l . S c h . Sorrow and joy are called 'passions' because they do not, typically, arise simply from the essence of the joyful or sorrowful person. These affects, along with 'desire' are the basic ones. Affects typically involve joy, sorrow, or desire, plus the accompanying idea of some external thing, that i s , of some-thing other than the owner of the affect. For instance the affect of hatred is defined as: 54. Sorrow, with the accompanying idea of an external cause. E. Def.8. of the Affects. Joy and the affects of joy are i n themselves good, whereas sorrow and i t s affects are i n tJ mselves bad, for: Joy ... i s an affect by which the body's power of action i s increased or assisted. Sorrow on the other hand, i s an affect by which the body's power of action is lessened or restrained. E.iv.41.Dem. In more familiar language one might say that feeling sorrowful i s a bad thing, since when one feels l i k e that one i s severely limited from doing things. Spinoza believed that sorrow was a psycho-physical condition which constitutes both a physical and a psychological diminution of power of the sorrowful person. This i s true of a l l the affects of sorrow. Consider, for instance, someone who feels extremely jealous. I f one feels extremely jealous of somebody, then i t i s l i k e l y that one w i l l be severely inhibited from doing the things which one really wants to do. Often when one feels jealous, remorseful, resentful, or any of a host of other things, one i s not only somehow 'taken over' by feelings which one did not invite to come upon one, but also one would very much li k e i t i f the feelings would go away. Many of these feelings simply interfere with one's purposes when one i s sub-ject to them. The most obvious area where this i s the case is i n the f i e l d of concentration. One just cannot seem to concentrate on anything, except of course one's sorrow, i f one is i n subjection to a sorrow. On the other hand, i f one is feeling f u l l of joy, one is very often able to do a lot of things -get a lot done. Feelings of joy are not typically inhibiting. Moreover, people do not, as a rule, wish that they did not have the feelings of joy to which they are subject. So, although both joy and sorrow are passions in the 55. sense that they typically come upon us through causes external to ourselves, we are in less bondage i f we are subject to the emotions of joy than i f we are subject to sorrows. Spinoza writes i n a note at the bottom of the definition of 'affect': I f ... we can be the adequate cause of any of these affections, I understand the affect to be an action, otherwise i t i s a passion. E.iii.Def.3. So Spinoza does allow the p o s s i b i l i t y of having affects, and being active i n so doing. In as much as the affects we have constitute a c t i v i t i e s rather than passivities, they must be affects of either joy or desire, although clearly, being such an affect i s not a sufficient condition for being an 'active' one. Nevertheless I would li k e to say that i t i s not at a l l clear that the passions of sorrow, as they are called, universally make us unfree to a greater extent than some of the passions of joy. Sometimes people keep going in the depths of adversity, driven on by a hatred of their oppressors. I have heard of people who survived the most terrible ordeals i n the Nazi concentration camps, driven on by a hatred of the Nazis, which helped to give them the single-mindedness to put up with the most appalling hardships, which broke many people, who had, perhaps, less strong emotions, and were, hence more 'free'. I f bondage i s the lack of self-determination, and i f self-deter-mination i s acting solely from the motive of self-preservation, then Spinoza's claim about the extremity of bondage to the affects of sorrow would seem at most true as a rule, and not a universal truth. I shall now pass on, for the time being, from the affects as such, although there is quite a lot more to be said by way of elucidation, expansion and criticism. I shall resume this discussion i n my next chapter. 56. 11. ADEQUACY. There is one crucial aspect of Spinoza's account of the bondage of human beings which I have so far l e f t completely alone, and this i s his notion of adequacy. Adequacy crops up in two guises. Spinoza talks of 'adequate causes' and of 'adequate ideas'. In E.iii.Def.3., above quoted, Spinoza is saying that we are active i f we are the 'adequate cause' of an affect. He defines 'adequate cause' as follows: I c a l l that an adequate cause whose effect can be clearly and disti n c t l y perceived by means of the cause. I c a l l that an inadequate or pa r t i a l cause whose effect cannot be understood by means of the cause alone. E . i i i . D e f . l . As i s strongly implied by the note at the end of E.iii.Def.3., Spinoza cert-ainly believed that i t is possible for us to be active, some of the time, at any rate. This immediately generates problems for him, given his theory that we are active inasmuch as we are the adequate cause of how we fe e l , and of what we do. The most natural.way to interpret 'adequate cause', i n the light of Spinoza's causal rationalism i s to take i t that adequacy i s an a l l or nothing matter. Either a cause i s completely adequate, or i t is completely inadequate. What E . i i i . D e f . l . appears to be saying is that a cause i s adequate i f and only i f i t entails i t s effect no matter what else i s the cause. Thus God can be described as the adequate cause of a l l conceivable things, since a l l things follow from the nature of God. An adequate cause, then, i s something li k e a logically sufficient condition. The problem with this inter-pretation of 'adequate cause' is that i t would render our bondage or passivity absolutely irremediable which i s certainly not what Spinoza intended. It 57. would make our passivity absolutely incurable because we are individual things in nature, and: There is no individual thing in nature which i s not surpassed i n strength and power by some other thing, but any individual thing b^ing given, another and a stronger i s also given, by which.'the former can be destroyed. E.iv.Axiom. As I could be destroyed at any time by a number of things outside of myself, every time I do anything or feel anything part of the cause of my feeling the thing I feel or of my doing the thing I do i s that I am being enabled to do or feel whatever i t i s by the suitable interaction of the things that could destroy me, of which there are an i n f i n i t e number. Fully to understand why I do what I do, or feel the way I f e e l , i t i s necessary to understand, amongst other things, why I exist. As I am not the adequate cause of my own existence I could not be the adequate cause of what presupposes i t , namely my feelings and actions and so on. So i t seems that we are forced to construe 'adequate causation as being a matter of degree. I f we give i t this interpretation then we can at least allow there to be degrees of activity. We might wish to say that someone who is doing something because that i s what he really wants to do, and not because he i s , say, suffering from a compulsion, or because someone else i s making him, i s more of an adequate cause of his action than the slave and the klepto-maniac. This would y i e l d the right answer as far as our intuitions are con-cerned with regard to the relative freedom or degree of activity of the v a r i -ous people. The slave and the kleptomaniac are paradigm examples of people who are relatively speaking very unfree, and passive, at least with regard to their slaving and stealing. 58. However, this escape doesn't l e t Spinoza off the hook, at least i f he is to maintain his causal rationalism. The problem i s that of establishing a scale for degrees of adequacy. I f adequacy i s a matter of degree one would have to make comparisons between inadequate causes i n order to say which is the more adequate. Given a causal rationalist idea of 'cause' this would amount to having to make statements of the following form. 'X i s a more adequate cause of Y than P i s of Q. For X comes nearer to entailing Y than P does to entailing Q.'. But the only sense in which there can be these 'degrees of entailment' yields only three 'degrees'. Either A entails B, or i t i s consistent with, but doesn't, by i t s e l f entail B, or i t i s inconsistent with B. The 'degrees of adequacy' would have to be developed within the second of my three categories, and i n this context there i s simply no room there for such a development. As far as the entailment of events i s concerned a miss is as good as a mile. I f he gave up the causal rationalism there would be hope of at least some salvage. When we talk of the cause of a happening we aren't usually concerned with a l l the things which had to conspire i n order for the event to have occurred. For instance i f a car crashes, and we want to find out the cause we don't say that i t was caused by gravity, although the law of gravity's holding at the time of the crash would have been a necessary condition of the accident. We would also not be particularly interested i n some of the partic- ular facts of the situation which might have been necessary conditions for the crash having occurred, such as the fact that the road was less than f i f t y yards wide, or the fact that the wind was blowing at a rate of less than two hundred miles per hour. When we are looking for the cause of something's happening we assume that something unusual happened, and was a factor in the happening. To pursue the 'crash' story further, we would probably assume 59. that the accident would not have happened i f the driver had not been negligent, or i f the car's tyres had not been bald, or i f the camber of the road had been normal, or ... . When we pick out the cause of an event we pick out the thing of a l l the causes which seems to be special to the partic-ular case. In the crash case we wouldn't say that the cause of the crash was the force of gravity, since the force of gravity i s present on the roads at a l l times, and yet crashes happen f a i r l y infrequently. One might say to this that people's car's often have bald tyres etc. I quite agree that none of the causes i s logically sufficient to guarantee the event. However, we do, with some jus t i f i c a t i o n talk of important and less important factors i n some-thing's happening. The most important cause i s the one which i s regarded as being particularly special to the case. We might say that the most important factor i n , or cause of, the crash was the driver's negligence, since the road was normal, the car's tyres were i n good condition ... . We can relate this to human beings and their actions and psychic states. When we explain the occurrence of something we pick out that of the causally relevant factors which are special to the case. So we could easily say of a human being that he or she was the cause of an action. This would be tanta-mount to saying that i n the action, what was special to the case was the person's real desires, as opposed to the w i l l of another, or a compulsion, or a number of things external to the agent's 'essence'. Of the things one does, one is really the driving force behind some, though not others. Also a person might be one of the most important, though not the most important factor be-hind a certain thing taking place. According to this model there i s some hope of establishing a scale. We can talk of being a more or less special causal factor in our actions, as the actions emanate to a large extent from our own selves, or from extraneous factors. 60. This interpretation i s , I think, in the s p i r i t of Spinoza's account of freedom. It i s clear at this point just how much the causal rationalism i s an embarrassment to Spinoza's philosophy. I shall take up the discussion of 'being the cause of our psychic states' i n the next chapter. The other role i n which 'adequacy' appears i s i n the notion of 'adequate ideas'. That the distinction between adequate and inadequate ideas i s important for Spinoza's theory of human bondage i s suggested right at the beginning of ETHICS Part Three. Our mind acts and at times suffers: i n so far as i t has adequate ideas, i t necessarily acts, and in so far as i t has inadequate ideas, i t necessar-i l y suffers. E . i i i . l . I wrote earl i e r that Spinoza's theory of human bondage and freedom was essen-t i a l l y about mental bondage and freedom. Here he i s saying that we are free, or at least our mind acts, to the extent that we have adequate ideas. What then i s an 'adequate idea'? Spinoza's definition at the beginning of Part Two i s not i n i t s e l f very helpful. By adequate idea, I understand an idea which i n so far as i t i s considered in i t s e l f , without reference to the object, has a l l the properties or internal signs of a true idea. EXPLANATION: I say internal, so as to exclude that which is external, the agreement, namely, of the idea with i t s object. E.ii.Def.4. According to this definition and i t s explanation, then, an adequate idea i s one which has the properties of a true idea, whatever that may be, without any reference to the agreement of the idea with i t s object, whatever that may mean. Spinoza wishes to exclude 'the agreement of the idea with i t s object', because according to his theory of truth and f a l s i t y , a l l ideas agree with 61. their objects. But this, for anyone with a correspondence theory of truth, is to admit that there i s no such thing as f a l s i t y . In the definition Spinoza implies that there i s such a tiling as a false idea, but he i s never able to say exactly how something can be false. In the definition he im-plies that an adequate idea i s one which can be seen to be true without having to rely on knowledge about the world - i t can be known to be true from i t s own internal structure alone. But he cannot say i n what f a l s i t y consists, and without this he cannot explain what truth or any species of truth might be. He does define ' f a l s i t y ' , i n the following way: Falsity consists i n the privation of knowledge, which inadequate, that is to say, mutilated and confused ideas involve. E.ii.35. Any account of what f a l s i t y i s must be i n terms of what i t is to make a false judgement. It must be able to explain what i t is for someone to believe that something i s the case which isn't i n fact the case. Spinoza does not have any adequate account of judgement or of belief, and so cannot give an adequate account of f a l s i t y . There is i n fact strong evidence to suggest that what Spinoza ca l l s ' f a l s i t y ' and 'truth' i s a completely different thing from what we mean by the terms. What he cannot do i s to explain the p o s s i b i l i t y of hav-ing false beliefs on our notion of f a l s i t y . There is obviously much more to be said about Spinoza's theory of f a l s i t y which one cannot discuss i n a work of this scope and subject-matter. Any account of f a l s i t y must be i n terms of 'false judgments*. Spinoza's account being just i n terms of ideas cannot yi e l d an adequate account of what a false judgment, or indeed of what a judgment, may be. Despite their theoretic unsatisfactoriness Spinoza's definitions of 'adequate idea' and of 'f a l s i t y ' do contain interesting elements, which can 62. be extracted from the unsalvageable wreck of the theory of f a l s i t y . There i s some sense i n which we can t a l k of ideas as being 'inadequate 1 or 'mutilated'. In th i s sense an 'inadequate' idea i s one which gives a dis-torted picture of what i t i s supposedly an idea of. One analogy which might elucidate t h i s i s that o f a camera and i t s photographs. Cameras always t e l l the t r u t h , f o r they take pictures only of what i s actually before them. How-ever photographs are notorious f o r giving d i s t o r t e d views of the facts of a s i t u a t i o n . Sometimes the impression one gets from a photograph i s very mis-leading v i s - a - v i s what actually occurred when the photo was taken. At best one gets a camera-eye view of what went on, and there i s always a b i t of read-ing into the photo which has to be done i f one i s to get an accurate idea of what r e a l l y happened, was r e a l l y l i k e . Another analogy which helps explain what an 'inadequate idea' might be i s one I heard from Jonathan Bennett. Let us consider someone watching a c r i c k e t match through a narrow v e r t i c a l s l i t . What the observer w i l l perceive i s a series of rather disconnected people and b a l l movements. What he sees w i l l be seen out of context, and could not enable him to understand exactly what was going on, at least unless he could connect up what he saw with other c r i c k e t matches which he had seen, and understood, under more favourable con-d i t i o n s . Suppose that the s l i t enables the observer to see only the l i n e across the middle of the p i t c h . Then a l l he w i l l see i s the b a l l coming through his f i e l d of v i s i o n every so often, and people p e r i o d i c a l l y running towards him or away from him. In t h i s case the observer cannot discover from his looking what the causes of his perceptions are, or rather what the causes of the ball-movements are, and he therefore cannot understand them. S i m i l a r l y Spinoza believed that we could not properly understand an inadequate idea. 63. In i l l u s t r a t i n g t h i s feature t h i s analogy i s of more help than the other. What Spinoza i s t r y i n g to get out of the notion of 'adequate idea' i s something p r o p o s i t i o n a l , such as 'a sentence which i s true i n vir t u e of i t s i n t e r n a l construction or l o g i c a l form'. He believed that to have an adequate idea was to have i n one's mind a necessary truth. Of course his theory didn't allow him to say t h i s , but i t i s f a i r l y clear that t h i s i s what he had i n mind. Spinoza, then, believed that a l l ideas represented r e a l i t y i n some way. Some ideas, however, give an incomplete, or dis t o r t e d picture of what the nature of r e a l i t y i s l i k e . These are the so-called 'false ideas', and they include the ideas we have of ordinary p a r t i c u l a r things. In contrast with these ideas are the 'adequate ideas' which provide an accurate, non-subject-ive picture of r e a l i t y . Spinoza believed that i n r e a l i t y the connexions be-tween things were l o g i c a l , and that the only r e a l knowledge there i s i s 'adequate knowledge'. To have an adequate idea i s to perceive something i n i t s true l i g h t , under the aspect of et e r n i t y . We can now l i n k Spinoza's statement that we are i n bondage to our passions with his statement that we are passive to the extent that we have inadequate ideas, where p a s s i v i t y i s tantamount to bondage. According to Spinoza when we suffer a passion we necessarily have an inadequate, or d i s t o r t -ed idea of the cause of our own sorrow or joy. There i s one more feature of an adequate idea which might be worth mention-ing b r i e f l y , and that i s the following. Adequate ideas are something l i k e Descartes' 'clear and d i s t i n c t ' ideas. They d i f f e r from them i n th i s respect. According to Spinoza one can never be deceived into thinking that one has an 64. adequate idea when one doesn't actually have one. He who has a true idea knows at the same time that he has a true idea, nor can he doubt the truth of the thing. E.ii.43. Then he writes, more poetically i n E.ii.43.Sch.: Just as light reveals both i t s e l f and the darkness, so truth i s the standard of i t s e l f and of the false. E.ii.43.Sen. This provides an answer, at least to those c r i t i c s of Cartesian 'clear and distinct' ideas, who maintain that we can be duped into thinking a non-clear-and-distinct idea is such. It i s also interesting i n the light of Spinoza's believing that v a c i l l a -tion i s one of the important ingredients of human bondage. What he is saying is that when one i s on the right path, so to speak, one certainly knows one i s , and w i l l not have any doubts about the matter. Spinoza's account of human freedom i s , as one might expect, intimately connected with the theory of bondage. I have tried up t i l l now to concentrate on the 'bondage' side of his account. I realize that i n elucidating human bondage, one has to contrast i t with human freedom, and vice versa. There are some aspects, however, of the theory of freedom which can be rejected whilst the basic account of bondage i s accepted. Although the theories are two sides of the same coin, one side of the coin has more designs on i t than the other. The next chapter w i l l be ostensibly on the freedom of human beings. I would just li k e to make i t clear that the division of the account of the 6 5 . human condition into chapters on bondage and freedom is rather a r t i f i c i a l , given the content of each chapter. In dividing the chapters up in this way I am following Spinoza, and also acknowledging that there are aspects of the account of freedom which are independent of the account of bondage, or at least deserve an independent treatment. In any event the next chapter w i l l t i e up a number of loose ends remaining out of the discussion of human bondage. LL CHAPTER THREE THE FREEDOM OF HUMAN BEINGS 12. INTELLECT AND REASON. Although Spinoza's account of human liberty doesn't officially begin until ETHICS Part Five, he talks about i t at some length in the section on human bondage. In the ensuing discussion I shall draw on both Parts. Just as Part Four is called *0f Human Bondage OR THE STRENGTH OF THE AFFECTS' so Part Five is called 'Of THE POWER OF THE INTELLECT, or of Human Liberty' (my capitals). In the Preface to Part Five Spinoza tells us how he is going to show us the 'method or way which leads to liberty'. He says that in order to do this he will : ... treat of the power of reason, showing how much reason itself can control the affects, and then what is freedom of mind or blessedness. It is interesting that already his account of human liberty is in terms of 'freedom of mind', rather than 'freedom of body and mind', or some such thing. I have already mentioned my conjecture as to why, when he is talking about human beings and their liberty, Spinoza is so shy of the body. The main reason for this is that as Spinoza has defined freedom so that finitude rules out freedom, i t would be absurd to suggest that one could make one's body free. We should take Spinoza's official reason for ignoring the body in the discussion of freedom, or rather, for not working out in detail the body's freedom, with a pinch of salt. He says that he won't occupy himself with how the body can best perform its functions, as this is a task for medicine. 67. He also says that he i s not going to concern himself with how to render the i n t e l l e c t perfect, despite the t i t l e of Part Five, for t h i s i s a matter for l o g i c . This i s puzzling to say the least. What i s relevant here i s the d i s t i n c t i o n between the second and t h i r d kinds of knowledge which are some-what obscurely introduced i n Part Two. I s h a l l now turn to a b r i e f d i s -cussion of the kinds of knowledge as they are brought i n i n Part Two. Spinoza does not mean by 'knowledge' ('scientia') what we mean by the term, for according to him, conferring the t i t l e of knowledge upon something i s not to give i t an epistemic c e r t i f i c a t e . Thus he t a l k s of uncertain or inadequate knowledge, whereas we would not c a l l anything 'knowledge' which was epistemically inadequate, or about whose tr u t h we were uncertain. The f i r s t kind of knowledge corresponds more or less to our ordinary empirical knowledge, and includes what we 'know' from having been t o l d , and what we 'know' from making sensory observations. The second kind of know-ledge i s supposed to derive from our 'possessing common notions and adequate ideas of the properties of things'. What I think he means here i s something l i k e 'knowledge of the kind which comes v i a l o g i c a l deduction'. The t h i r d kind of knowledge, the famous ' s c i e n t i f i a i n t u i t i v a ' , i s described i n the following manner: This kind of knowing advances from an adequate idea of the formal essence of c e r t a i n attributes of God to the adequate knowledge of the essence of things. E.ii.40 (Schol.2) This i s r e a l l y rather mysterious, and i s 'explained' by the notoriously un-h e l p f u l example of d i f f e r e n t ways of f i n d i n g the fourth proportional. Spinoza has already s a i d that one might f i n d the fourth proportional, given three numbers, because one remembers, i n the p a r t i c u l a r case, that the fourth 68. proportional of, for instance, 2, 4 and 6, i s 12, i n which case one's know-ledge is of the f i r s t kind; or one might find i t by applying the relevant rule from 'Euclid', understanding the rule for deducing proportionals, i n which case one's knowledge would be of the second kind. He continues: But with the simplest numbers there is no need of a l l this. I f the numbers 1, 2, 3, for instance be given, every one can see that the fourth proportional is 6 much more clearly than by any demonstration, because from the ratio i n which we see by one intuition that the f i r s t stands to the second we conclude the fourth. E . i i . (Schol.2) Both knowledge of the third and of the second kind are epistemically guaran-teed by Spinoza, since both involve 'adequate ideas', which are meant to be the ideas of what we would c a l l 'necessary truths'. There i s , however, a difference between the two kinds of knowledge, which is reminiscent of a dis-tinction of Descartes. Both philosophers distinguished intuitive from deduc-tive knowledge. The latter involves a chain of reasoning. Thus in a piece of deductive reasoning one passes from the premise or premises to the conclu-sion, as i t were step by step, for instance by applying a rule to the original premise. In intuitive reasoning on the other hand, one sees i t a l l at one go. In Spinoza's example one does not reach the conclusion that the fourth propor-tional of 1, 2, 3, i s 6 by applying any rules. One passes straight from the original premise to the conclusion. There i s i n this l a t t e r case no movement from premises to conclusion, as is required i n a deduction. Descartes, writ-ing of the distinction between intuition and deduction says: Hence we distinguish this mental intuition from deduc-tion by the fact that into the conception of the latter there enters a certain movement or succession, into that of the former there does not. Descartes: RULES POR THE DIRECTION OF THE MIND, RULE 2. Haldane and Ross, Vol.1, p.8. We can thus link Spinoza's example quite well with the Cartesian distinction. 69. The problem now remains of interpreting the characterization of the third kind of knowledge which occurs before the example, and has already been quoted here. There i s an important clue i n E.ii.47. (Schol.), which casts rather a new light on the whole matter, despite i t s obscurity. Hence we see that the i n f i n i t e essence and the eternity of God are known to a l l ; and since a l l things are i n God and are conceived through Him, i t follows that we can deduce from this knowledge many things which we can know adequately, and that we can thus form that third sort of knowledge mentioned i n E. ii.40. (Schol.2), of whose excellence and value the F i f t h Part w i l l be the place to speak. F. ii.47. The interpretation here put upon Spinoza's 'scientia i n t u i t i v a ' must remain somewhat tentative. I t i s a fundamental belief of Spinoza that we cannot have adequate knowledge of ordinary empirical objects. However we can, i t now appears, get knowledge of something particular, i n virtue of our know-ledge of the i n f i n i t e essence of (some of the attributes of) God. This some-thing particular i s the essence of individual things. The knowledge i s the true knowledge of reason, the knowledge of the third kind, 'scientia i n t u i t i v a ' . There are some truths which we know to be true i n t u i t i v e l y , for instance the truth that one plus one equals two. We cannot explain why this i s so i n terms of something simpler, but must remain content with saying something l i k e : 'If you know what i s meant by "one" and "two", then i t ' s just obvious, that i s i t ' s indubitable'. One might be able to do sl i g h t l y better than that, but to do so i s not the present concern. It i s just worth considering the sort of feeling one has about such statements as 'One plus one is two'. I f we combine Spinoza's i l l u s t r a t i o n of 'scientia intuitiva' with i t s definition and what is said about i t i n E.ii.47. (Schol.), i t emerges that Spinoza be-lieved i t to be in principle possible to have knowledge about individual 70. essences which i s qualitatively similar to the sort of knowledge we have of the simplest mathematical truths. Knowledge of both the third and the second kinds is adequate, unlike the knowledge of the f i r s t kind. However Spinoza i s primarily concerned with that of the third kind. This, I believe, is because knowledge of the third kind is involved i n the attainment of that of the second kind. This i s , admittedly, in apparent conflict with the way Spinoza sets up his distinctions between kinds of knowledge, which implies that the third kind is something which only a few people attain, although many attain that of the second kind. In reply to this one could say that really Spinoza has two things going at the same time, and refers to them both as 'scientia i n t u i t i v a ' , for the obvious reason that they involve immediate intuitions. The two things are the straightforward obvious necessary truths such as 'one plus equals two', and the rather mysteri-ous knowledge of the essence of individual things. One could then say that the f i r s t of these is required i n any deduction, that is any deduction has to i n -clude some intuitive jump. For instance any logical argument requires the use of 'intuitive' logical laws. The other kind of 'scientia i n t u i t i v a ' i s some-thing which i s elusive, to be revered and i s not presupposed by knowledge of the second kind. The argument here offered is that Spinoza rather misleadingly calls these two species of 'scientia i n t u i t i v a ' 'knowledge of the third kind'. 13. SELF-PRESERVATION There are many facets to Spinoza's notion of what constitutes activity. Many of them have to do with the 'conatus' doctrine which was introduced into the discussion i n the previous chapter. The ensuing discussion i s basically an extension of that discussion. The 'conatus' doctrine is stated br i e f l y as 71. follows: Each thing, i n so far as i t i s i n i t s e l f , endeavours to persevere i n i t s being. E . i i . 6 . Human beings, as things, endeavour to persevere i n their own being. From E . i i i . 6 . , one can infer that i f something i s not persevering i n i t s own be-ing, whatever that may mean, i t i s , in virtue of that, not 'in i t s e l f . I f something i s not 'in i t s e l f , Spinoza would say, I believe, that i t i s neither self-determined, nor active, nor free. Although the implication arrow goes only from 'being i n i t s e l f to 'endeavouring to persevere i n i t s being', there is no reason to believe that Spinoza would object to i t s going the other way as well - 'If something i s endeavouring to persevere i n i t s be-ing, i t i s , i n virtue of that, 'in i t s e l f . I f this were so we could find out what human freedom consists of by discovering what i t i s for a human be-ing to endeavour to persevere i n i t s being. When we are talking about human beings we could translate 'endeavouring to persevere i n i t s own being' as acting out of the motive of self-preservation'. The question now i s 'What is the motive of self-preservation?'. The f i r s t impression one gets from reading Spinoza on this subject i s that he means something which resembles a common sense notion of self-preser-vation by 'endeavour to perservere i n i t s own being'. He not only says that a person who commits suicide i s , i n virtue of this , obviously not active or free, but governed by external factors; he also writes the following: ... a free man avoids danger by the same virtue as that by which he seeks to overcome i t . ... By danger, I understand anything which may be the cause of sorrow, hatred, discord, or any other e v i l l i k e them. E.iv.49 (Dem. f, Corol.) 72 . This notion of self-preservation doesn't seem different from our ordinary-notion of keeping out of trouble, and doesn't appear to have anything partic-ularly Spinozist about i t . The notion of 'self-preservation' i n this con-text i s remarkably similar to any common or garden concept of 'self-interest'. Spinoza i s , i n effect, saying that a free man i s one who i s self-interested. He also equates virtue and power, and in i t s turn, power and freedom. So a powerful person i s one who i s free, and a free person i s one who is virtuous. I f virtue, power and freedom are the same thing, and i f freedom is acting out of the motive of self-interest, then i t follows that i t is virtuous to act out of self-interest. But isn't this quite contrary to what we understand by virtue? For we frequently distinguish virtuous people from non-v:i rtuous people on the grounds that the former and not the latter are pre-pared to sacrifice their own self-interest for other people. Being self-interested i s not only not the criterion of virtue, i t seems to be fundamentally opposed to i t . Isn't Spinoza, then, hopelessly wrong on this matter? How can we take at a l l seriously any moral theory which advocates universal selfishness? Although Spinoza i s vehemently against much of the psychology behind fundamental Christian ethics, he i s not i n fact, advocating that we should never care about anybody or anything other than ourselves. Much of ETHICS Part Four i s actually devoted to showing how acting i n one's real self-inter-est involves abiding by most of the principles of a morality of mutual caring for people, such as that advocated by Christianity. What he i s attempting to do is to free people from the bondage of not really understanding why they do what they do. He i s particularly concerned with why people do what they do, rather than with the content of their actions, although the two are obviously interrelated. His basic strategy begins by defining 'good' and ' e v i l ' in a 73. technical way for the purposes of ETHICS Part Four. The definitions are quite revealing. By good, I understand that which we certainly know i s useful to us. By e v i l , on the contrary, I understand that which we certainly know hinders us from possessing anything that is good. E.iv. Defs. 1 § 2. Having defined as 'good' that which we know to be useful to us, one might think that he would naturally take i t to be e v i l to make any sacrifices for anyone else. In particular, i t would seem to be the height of e v i l to lay down one's l i f e for anyone or anything. However, this view i s not held even by Spinoza. There is i n Spinoza's work the basis for a distinction between what i n more recent discussions would be called 'crude self-interest' and 'enlight-ened self-interest', although this distinction i s not made ex p l i c i t by him, and is i n fact sometimes belied by the text. I f we are not guided by reason we might well think that our best interest would be served by trying to get one up on our fellow human beings, or at least by rarely considering the needs of others, except where some direct benefit would accrue to one through one's 'benevolence'. For instance we would think that our self-interest would be better served by listening to an enjoyable opera, than by looking after an ai l i n g grandmother. One might think i t would be virtuous to look after the grandmother, but i t would certainly not be in one's self-interest to do so, unless one was anticipating being l e f t a l o t of money by her, or i f , for some reason, one found looking after her more enjoyable than listening to opera. Spinoza might well agree that looking after the grandmother would be virtuous, and we should not forget that he believed acting virtuously and 74. acting out of self-interest to be the same thing. How does he come to such a position on the grandmother case? His f i r s t move is to assert that nothing can be e v i l i n so far as i t is similar to our nature. But nothing i s more similar to each of our natures than another person. As anything that i s not e v i l i s good, from the last two sentences i t follows that for any person another person i s good. Other people are, i n the special Spinozist sense of 'useful', very useful to us. He writes: There is no single thing i n nature which i s more profitable to man than a man who lives according to the guidance of reason. For that i s most profitable to man which most agrees with his own nature ... E.iv.35. (Coroll.l) The Latin word 'convenire' means 'to agree' both in the sense of 'to have things i n common with' and that of 'to be suitable', so one might accuse Spinoza of either deliberately or inadvertently punning on the word 'con-venit' to establish his conclusion, for i t i s almost a tautology that those things which agree with us i n the latt e r sense of 'agree with' are 'profit-able' to us. However, whether or not there i s some punning going on here, i t i s clear that Spinoza would have stuck to E.iv.35. (Coroll.l) even with the former interpretation of 'convenit'. According to this doctrine people are more profitable to a person than any other thing i s profitable, because they have more i n common with each other than they have with other things. However, when people are not govern-ed by reason, what they do does not follow from their essence or nature, and what they have i n common with each other becomes obscured. When people are not guided by reason they are ruled by their passions, and: 75. In so far as men are agitated by affects which are passions can they be contrary to one another. E.iv .34 . It i s quite clear that Spinoza has to struggle to reconcile his theory that power and virtue are the same with something which resembles a humanis-t i c morality. This is because of the rather glaring fact that people do have genuine conflicts of interest, and that one person's power, or well-being at any rate, seems to be attainable sometimes only at the cost of another's. Furthermore this i s not simply because of people's not being governed by reason. Suppose, for example that we are back i n ancient Rome at the time of the gladiators. If two men had been ordered to fight to the death, or else both be k i l l e d by being fed to the lions, and i f the victor of the fight would certainly be freed, then the two combatants would have a genuine conflict of interest, and i t would be unquestionably false to say that they could seek their own self-preservation, that i s act rationally, and not try to k i l l the other person i n combat. This i s so even though the two people would probably have more i n common than most people. But one doesn't have to go to bizarre examples to see the conflict that inevitably arises from one strand of Spinoza's philosophy of freedom. He equates the 'good' with 'that which we certainly know is useful to us', as we have seen. He then writes: Whatever i s effective to preserve the proportion of motion and rest which the parts of the human body bear to each other i s good, and, on the contrary, that i s e v i l which causes the parts of the human body to have a different proportion of motion and rest to each other. and: Whatever conduces to the universal fellowship of men, that i s to say, whatever causes men to live in harmony with one another, i s useful, and, on the contrary, 76. whatever brings discord into the State i s e v i l . E.iv.39, § E.iv.40. From the d e f i n i t i o n s of 'good' and ' e v i l ' and E.iv.39. i t follows that what-ever causes the parts of the human body to have a d i f f e r e n t proportion of motion and rest to each other i s harmful to us, for i f this proportion i s not preserved the body w i l l , on Spinoza's theory of bodies, be destroyed. On ther other hand, 'whatever conduces to the universal fellowship of men' i s useful to us. But i t i s quite clear that i n some circumstances i t might w e l l serve the 'universal fellowship of men' to lay down one's l i f e , that i s to see to i t , or at least not t r y i n g to stop i t from happening, that the parts of one's body do not maintain the same proportions of motion and rest. An example of t h i s would be the case of Socrates, who l e t us suppose, r a t i o n -a l l y gave up his l i f e f o r the benefit of his fellow human beings. Someone who died as a r e s u l t of r e s i s t i n g the Nazi oppression might w e l l have been serving the universal fellowship of mankind. Yet such people would c e r t a i n l y be doing something 'harmful' at the same time - namely bringing about t h e i r own deaths. There are several ways i n which Spinoza might explain away the apparent-l y contradictory consequences of his theory. The f i r s t would be to say that he i s r e a l l y t a l k i n g about tendencies. This would amount to a sort of 'rule Spinozism'. Such a version would say that giving up one's l i f e i s always harmful, w h i l s t serving the universal fellowship of mankind only tends to be useful. Then one could admit that i n c e r t a i n circumstances i t would not be useful to serve the universal fellowship of mankind. On th i s account many of the statements about the u t i l i t y and d i s u t i l i t y of various things or act-ions, are meant only as guidelines f o r action. As i t i s not always possible to know the true consequences of a p a r t i c u l a r course of action, we have these 77. secondary principles to guide us. We could accept the principle 'Do always that which is useful', and when there is a conflict between helping humanity and saving our lives, we just choose to save our l i f e . The trouble with this interpretation is that i t quite against the spirit of Spinoza's writing. Spinoza laid out his propositions as an archetypal Rationalist. He did not believe that his statements about people being useful to one another etc., were of the order of secondary principles; he saw them as being necessary-consequences of necessary and eternal truths. He just would not have allowed for exceptions. We could then help Spinoza out here by saying that he actually slipped up on his statement about that which conduces to the universal fellowship of man. We could perhaps persuade a spokesman for Spinoza to drop the 'univer-sal fellowship' principle, and to substitute something more complex. It is useful on the whole to an individual to act in a way which promotes the universal fellowship of mankind, as doing so helps people, including the agent, to live in accordance with reason, that i s , to be free or active. This is not always the case, however, and when i t isn't the case, e.g. be-cause acting in such a way would cause the agent's death, then i t would not be rational or useful to act thus. If one adopted this strategy one would have to relegate E.iv.39., to a scholium. One might think that this would at least preserve most of Spinoza's doctrine about power and virtue. How-ever, this line is blocked by Spinoza himself. We find him saying: If i t be asked whether, i f a man by breach of faith could escape from the danger of instant death, reason does not counsel him, for the preservation of his baling, to break faith; I reply in the same way, that i f reason gives such counsel she gives i t to a l l men, and reason therefore counsels men to make no agreements for uniting their strength and possessing laws in common except deceitfully, that 78. is to say, to have in reality no common laws, which i s absurd. E.iv.72. (Schol.) This statement seems to be very near something l i k e one of Kantian universalisability. On the face of i t what i s recommended to the person in the dilemma i s to give up his l i f e - to abandon his self-preservation, and moreover, to do i t whilst acting i n accordance with reason, that i s , freely. Spinoza's argument involves the unfair adoption of a more extreme principle than is required to j u s t i f y the agent i n saving his own l i f e . The principle which Spinoza adopts, as being necessary for justifying the escape i s 'Never make any agreements for uniting your strength and for having common laws ex-cept deceitfully.'. In fact no such principle i s required to j u s t i f y the escape; a l l that would be needed would be something l i k e : 'When an agreement has been made i t is a l l right to break i t i f not doing so would cost you your l i f e . ' . The adoption of this principle i s certainly not inconsistent with keeping a l l kinds of agreements. The other point that needs making about Spinoza's Kantian move i s that what he i s saying is that breaking the agreement to save one's l i f e could not be recommended to a person governed by reason, because acting i n this way would commit the person to the acceptance of a principle which would have disastrous consequences. But, i f we return to the "'good' equals 'use-f u l ' (to the agent)" doctrine we can clearly see that what i s here recommend-ed i s i n direct conflict with this earlier doctrine. It could hardly be more useful to the potential escaper to keep the agreement under those circum-stances, unless he would be better off destroyed, a supposition which Spinoza could not allow. The course of action recommended by Spinoza i n E.iv.72. (Schol.) i s certainly commendable, but i t certainly doesn't seem to be at a l l 79. a rational thing to do on Spinoza's central notion of rationality. This i s at any rate the way i t f i r s t appears. However Spinoza was very keen to maintain both of these aspects of his moral philosophy - that i t is always rational to serve one's fellow human beings, on account of this being 'useful', and that i t is always irr a t i o n a l to do something which leads to one's self-destruction, or i n fact, anything which harms one. The only way he could maintain both of these doctrines i n the light of the conflicts which arise between looking after oneself and serving the interests of others would be to deny the psycho-physical parallelism which plays such a prominent part i n the earlier sections of ETHICS. I f he were to do this he could say that when we are talking of self-preservation we are really interested in something psychological rather than physical. To act rationally one has to preserve one's essence, or rather, to be trying to do so. I f one's essence is a psychical entity then the fact that helping one's fellow human beings might result i n physical harm or even physical death for the agent i s s t r i c t l y irrelevant to the rationality of the action. It is clear that Spinoza did move towards abandoning his parallelism i n the last Part of ETHICS, although of course he would never admit i t . Thus we find him writing revealingly: The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but something of i t remains which i s eternal. ... this something which pertains to the essence of the mind w i l l necessarily be eternal. E.v.23. § i t s Dem. Certainly when Socrates did not prevent his death he was quite convinced that physical death would not destroy his essence; i n fact he went rejoicing to his death, for he believed that his s p i r i t would, at death, f i n a l l y be liberated, though i t must be stressed that he did not die in order to reach 80. this state of s p i r i t u a l liberation. However this line of defence i s really not a let-out for Spinoza's moral theory. For one thing, this new view cannot be reconciled with the parallelism, which states e x p l i c i t l y that: If anything increases, diminishes, helps, or limits our body's power of action, the idea of that thing increases, diminishes, helps, or limits our mind's power of thought. E. i i i . 1 1 . There i s also another difficulty. I f the parallelism i s rejected then Spinoza might argue that i t can be psychologically beneficial to someone to lose a limb, or give up his or her l i f e for the fellowship of mankind; but sometimes the c a l l of service to humanity might lead to one's psychic de-struction as well. Suppose one was being tortured, and that by holding out one would not merely not betray the v i t a l secrets, but would also go com-pletely insane so that one could not longer form 'adequate ideas'. Someone who held out i n these circumstances would certainly be harming his 'mental' as well as his physical self. I f this would not be harming his essence then i t i s d i f f i c u l t to see just what would. I f the essence of a person can not be harmed then i t seems to be pointless to spend one's time trying to preserve i t or prevent i t from coming to harm. The rejection of parallelism seems to be a good way of justifying Spinoza's belief that altruism and self-preservation don't conflict, but i t i s ultimately unsatisfactory. Apart from the reasons we have given, concern-ing the continuance of counter-examples even i f the parallelism i s abandoned, Spinoza quite adamantly sticks to his parallelism. It is reaffirmed in one of i t s forms after the controversial E.v.23. He who possesses a body f i t for many things possesses a mind of which the greater part is eternal. E.v.39. 81. Spinoza's theory that one i s a c t i v e , free or virtuous, i f one i s acting from the motive of self-preservation i s not as straightforwardly incompatible with altruism as i t at f i r s t appears, f o r according to the theory, a free person w i l l behave i n an a l t r u i s t i c fashion, where ' a l t r u i s t i c ' i s taken to mean something l i k e 'giving up one's own pleasure f o r the sake of someone else'. He can admit t h i s because there i s a difference between crudely s e l f i s h behaviour, which usually i s actually against the true interests of the agent, and enlightened s e l f i s h behaviour, which involves the recognition that the best chance a person has of f u l f i l l i n g himself i s through 'unselfish' r e l a t i o n -ships with other people, i n p a r t i c u l a r people with whom one has a l o t i n common. The pursuing of such relationships often requires the f o r f e i t i n g of one's apparent i n t e r e s t s . One can then, r a t i o n a l l y decide to r e s t r i c t some of one's motivating desires, for the sake of true r e a l i s a t i o n or f u l f i l l m e n t . Notwith-standing a l l t h is the doctrine cannot be defended to i t s l o g i c a l conclusion. We have already seen that serving the interests of humanity might actually be against one's s e l f - i n t e r e s t , even i f ' s e l f - i n t e r e s t ' i s construed very broad-l y ; i t i s also surely the case that two r a t i o n a l individuals might have a genuine c o n f l i c t of i n t e r e s t . This i s not allowed f o r by Spinoza's theory o f r a t i o n a l i t y and self-preservation. We can now recognize one of the fundamental tensions i n the philosophy of Spinoza. I t seems to be of the same genus as one which confronted Kant i n his struggle f o r a theory of human freedom against a fundamental theory that we could have knowledge only of the phenomenal world which i s thoroughly deterministic i n a sense which rules out the p o s s i b i l i t y of freedom. He had a fundamental respect for the dignity of man, but allowed no room for i t i n his metaphysics, and so ended up with a p a i n f u l attempt to incorporate human freedom which was bound to f a i l . Spinoza likewise, i n fact more e x p l i c i t l y , 82. and more radically, argued against the special dignity of human beings. In his metaphysics, as we have seen, human beings are nothing special in the universe, and we should study them with the precision and detachment with which we study lines, planes and bodies. However i t is obvious that Spinoza was a deeply humanistic person. I t i s perhaps ironical that a philosopher who went so far out of his way to attack anthropocentrism should have written i n such depth about the human mind and i t s liberation. Spinoza, i n ETHICS Part Five, transgresses his own metaphysical principles i n an attempt to j u s t i f y crediting at least some people with the dignity of freedom; for i t is quite clear that the body can i n no way be rendered free. Thus we can understand why, as Parts Four and Five progress, Spinoza talks ever increas-ingly about the human mind. At the end of E.v.20., he writes; It i s time ... that I should pass to the consideration of those matters which appertain to the duration of the mind without the body. There is a further motivation for this concentration on the mental aspect of human beings to the neglect of the physical, which w i l l be discussed later. This further motivation arises out of Spinoza's undoubted musticism. The mystical strain reaches i t s peak, and Spinoza's writing i s i t s most obscure, when he i s talking of the blessedness of the intellectual love of God. An essay of this nature i s probably not the place to write a critique of this aspect of Spinoza's work. Fortunately one can discuss much of his theory of freedom without bringing i n his mystical doctrines, whose value I do not here c a l l into question, but whose susceptibility to discussion I do. 14. FREEDOM THROUGH ADEQUATE IDEAS. I turn now to a more direct discussion of Spinoza's views about freeing 83. the mind of i t s bondage to the emotions. In the previous chapter in the dis-cussion of 'adequacy', i t was asserted that Spinoza believed that we are un-free to the extent that we have inadequate ideas in our minds. Inadequate ideas include a l l our ideas about individual bodies, though not about their essences, a l l our ideas about anything temporal, and in particular, a l l our ideas which we would characterize as emotions. What does a l l this amount to in practice? There is an uncharitable interpretation of E . i i i . l . , which makes Spinoza's theory of freedom through adequate ideas seem thoroughly misguided, and there is another which makes i t interesting though highly problematic and mysterious. E . i i i . l . , as we have seen, states that: Our mind acts at times and at times suffers: i n so far as i t has adequate ideas, i t necessarily acts; and i n so far as i t has inadequate ideas, i t necessarily suffers. E . i i i . l . An adequate idea i s s t r i c t l y speaking defined as one which involves knowledge of an eternal and necessary truth. So, on a l i t e r a l interpretation of the above proposition i t follows that the mind's activity follows from i t s hav-ing ideas of necessary and eternal truths. But what are the paradigm examples of eternal and necessary truths? Likely candidates are the laws of logic and the tautologies which follow from them. This doctrine appears to lead rapidly to the absurdity that one becomes increasingly active as one's head becomes f i l l e d up with tautologies. A person would be quite active i f he or she could constantly be thinking 'A black cat is black', 'A black cat is a cat', 'A white cat i s a cat' and so on ad nauseam. I t i s clear that on any reasonable theory of freedom such a fate as that of endless tautology-repeat-ing could not be the paradigm of freedom, and certainly not of activity. Any theory which affirms that such a person would be active, or one which entails 84. i t , ought to be rejected on that ground alone. One might argue that this interpretation is unduly harsh on Spinoza, as i t is quite clearly not what he had in mind when he propounded his theory of mental activity and passivity. It certainly doesn't do justice to Spinoza's intentions on the subject, but i t does follow from what he actually said. What then were his intentions here? To answer this question i t is necessary to return to Spinoza's determin-i s t i c causal rationalism. He believed that eveything that happens has a cause, and that the causal relation is one of entailment. I t follows from these beliefs that knowledge of r e a l i t y , or 'true knowledge', involves know-ledge of a series of entailments. I f we can get an objective perspective on the world, we shall see everything as being necessarily connected, that the statement describing any state of affairs i s entailed by another statement, and so on, as was shown i n Chapter One of the present essay. Now i n the case of ordinary physical objects i n the world, the series of entailments is i n -f i n i t e , and so we can never have complete knowledge of the series, and so our ideas of ordinary physical things must be inadequate, since one cannot have an adequate idea of something unless one has an adequate idea of i t s cause. Spinoza then certainly does intend to say at any rate that we cannot be act-ive and therefore cannot be free, as long as our mind contains ideas of ordinary physical things, that i s , as long as we are thinking about particular physical objects. This corresponds with what he says about the three kinds of knowledge. Our ordinary empirical knowledge - that of the f i r s t kind - is necessarily i n -adequate. On the other hand, our knowledge of the second and third kinds i s necessarily adequate. 85. The knowledge of the second kind is the knowledge which we get from do-ing syllogisms, and in fact from engaging i n any deductive reasoning. The knowledge that a l l black cats are black i s of this kind since i t can be de-duced from the intuitive fundamental law of logic, which can be expressed as 'A § B entails A1. Clearly going around with such tautologies i n one's head i s not the path to freedom. There i s , however, a further aspect to the knowledge of the second kind, and this would be the sort of knowledge one gets when one solves a chess problem. One would be active, because one would have adequate ideas i n one's mind, i f one were doing a chess problem. Simil-arly i f one were following any mathematical series, such as counting sheep, one would be active. In both of these a c t i v i t i e s , though not i n the constant repetition of t r i v i a l tautologies, one i s , i n a legitimate sense, active. One's mind i s not allowed to wander, and i s kept by one from the external distractions of the world. The third kind of knowledge involves intuitions into r e a l i t y , which are immediate i n the sense that one can 'see' the objects of this knowledge dir -ectly, quite clearly, and without carrying out any deductions. This kind of knowledge involves such things as simple mathematical intuitions, and know-ledge of the fundamental laws of logic which are presupposed i n thinking, such as the law of non-contradiction. Although having such knowledge i n one's mind seems to be a l i t t l e more active than having knowledge of what can be immediately derived from i t , this i s certainly not what one would think a mentally active person would have his mind f u l l of. There i s , however, more to the third kind of knowledge than merely knowledge of these fundamental logical and mathematical truths. Spinoza, as we saw i n the previous chapter, believed that we could attain knowledge of the essences of ordinary empirical objects, and that this knowledge would be knowledge of the third kind. The 86. bulk of ETHICS Part Five is concerned with this particular kind of knowledge and i t s accompanying adequate ideas. What i s meant by the obscure notion of 'knowledge of the individual essences of things' w i l l be discussed shortly. When Spinoza is discussing the nature of human freedom i n ETHICS Part Five, he deliberately does not discuss 'in what manner and in what way the i n t e l l e c t should be rendered perfect', as this is simply a matter for logic. We can then exonerate Spinoza from the charge that he believed that the path to freedom l i e s in doing syllogisms and i n enumerating logical truths, a l -though this i s actually entailed by his theory. This leaves us with such adequate ideas as one might have whilst doing chess problems and the l i k e , and with the adequate ideas which y i e l d knowledge of the essences of individ-ual things. It i s with the latter that Spinoza concerned himself, and i t i s to them that we now turn. Spinoza, as a Seventeenth Century Rationalist believed not only that the i n t e l l e c t or understanding and the senses constitute two faculties, but that the former i s active and the l a t t e r passive. In his opinion the understanding deals solely with eternal and necessary truths. He subscribed, however, to the view that not a l l necessary truths are essentially contentless. This i s captured partly by his distinction already alluded to, between formal essences, which are something like definitions, and actual essences which constitute the conatus of individual things. The knowledge of the third kind involves, amongst other things, intuitive knowledge of the actual essences of individuals. Spinoza i s extremely unclear about exactly what he means by 'essence'. He uses the term without prefixing i t with 'formal' or 'actual', and slips and slides between the two uses. What he seems to be trying to say is that the self-preserving tendency of a l l things is really the essence of God or Nature. 87. This needs a lot of explaining, which w i l l be attempted presently. In this explanation the language w i l l sometimes be rather metaphorical. This is deemed necessary because of the obscurity of the doctrine to be explained. Many people have believed that the universe is inhabited by some spi r i t u a l force - a l i f e - g i v i n g force. Certain Christians would subscribe to this doctrine, and would contend that the l i f e - g i v i n g force which perme-ates the universe is the force of love. Some Eastern religions and philoso-phies, maintain that there is an i n f i n i t e source of energy which actually constitutes the universe. This might be best summarized by the slogan: 'One light, but many lamps'. On this view there i s one supreme essence which pervades the universe. Everything which exists would not exist i f i t was not pervaded by this force. This essence is a creative force. It is l i k e l y that Spinoza was very much influenced i n this matter by the mystical Neo-platonists such as Bruno, although Bruno himself opened the way more for Leibnizian monads than for Spinozist monism. In view of his not having been directly influenced by Buddhist writings, i t is_ interesting to mention in passing the striking similarities between their b e l i e f that a l l dualities represent i l l u s i o n and Spinoza's own monism - that there is really just one i n f i n i t e and eternal essence, and that everything there is follows from this essence, and partakes of i t . That Spinoza seriously believed such a view can be seen in Part Five of ETHICS, and by reading Part One i n the light of Part Five. It f i t s i n well with his view that everything that can be conceived by an i n f i n i t e - i n t e l l e c t follows from the necessity of the divine nature. Remember that Spinoza maintained from the beginning of ETHICS that a cause 88. must have something in common with i t s effect. The paver of God, or God's essence has caused my existence and, i n fact has caused the existence of everything. Therefore a l l things have something in common with God. This thing i n common is their 'conatus' or 'actual essence'. This conatus, as Spinoza writes, 'does not involve f i n i t e but indefinite time'. The essence of God 'involves indefinite time', and so does that which we have i n common with i t . What is meant by 'A l l dualities are fundamentally unreal' i s that although we can see the universe i n a number of ways, that i s divide i t up conceptually i n a number of ways, the correct way of viewing i t i s as one homogeneous, indivisible whole. One could go on for a very long time trying to make clear what 'essences' really are, but to do so would be to wander off the track of this essay, so i t won't be attempted here. However, the br i e f sketch just given provides us with an important clue for the interpretation of Spinoza's statement that the mind i s active i n so far as i t has adequate ideas, and passive i n so far as i t has inadequate ones. Let us consider the following proposition i n the light of the above exposition. The more we understand individual objects, the more we understand God. E.v.24. In ETHICS Part Five, Spinoza says that the ultimate state of liberation for a human being i s one where the person has an 'intellectual love of God'. This love is tantamount to an 'intuitive' understanding of the nature of the uni-verse. The Latin verb 'intellegere' means 'to understand', and so the 'intellectual love of God' i s one which comes through understanding, and should not be confused with something like 'love which only intellectuals have'. 89. If the essences of individual things a l l are a manifestation of the nature or essence of God, then the more one understands this thing in each object the more one w i l l understand God's essence. This is not altogether without p l a u s i b i l i t y . It is not at a l l easy to characterize the third kind of knowledge, and the following should be regarded as an attempt which may appear as abject nonsense to some readers, but be interestingly suggestive to others. This kind of knowledge - of essences - i s not ordinary perceptual know-ledge, for essences are not v i s i b l e , tangible, or odorous, and so on. It i s also not the knowledge one gets from doing syllogisms, chess problems, or mathematics. The knowledge is of what 'makes things tick', can only be attained 'intuitively', and i s really more akin to what we would c a l l 'understanding'. To attain this sort of understanding about things i s pre-cisely what the religions of the East would c a l l 'enlightenment'. If we have such an understanding we are truly free, and have reached a state of peace of mind. This involves simply regarding things i n their 'true' l i g h t , that is 'sub specie aeternitas', and therefore having 'adequate ideas'. This interpretation of Spinoza is supported quite strongly by the text, for instance in the following propositions: The highest effort of the mind and i t s highest virtue is to understand things by the third kind of knowledge. E.v.25. From this third kind of knowledge arises the highest possible peace of mind. E.v.27. It i s not easy to know quite what to say i n c r i t i c i s m of this doctrine 90. about the third kind of knowledge. The main problem seems to be that concern-ing the doctrine's v e r i f i a b i l i t y . According to our ordinary empiricist c r i t e r i a for v e r i f i a b i l i t y , assuming that there are any such, the claim that there are i n a l l things imperceptible, though real 'essences' which manifest the life-force of the universe, i s not subject to verification or f a l s i f i c a -tion, and so is apparently untestable. I f a theory i s untestable i t is usually summarily dismissed as 'unscientific'. The case of Spinoza's theory of essences, and the third kind of knowledge i s , however, a d i f f i c u l t case, since there are people who certainly would claim to have something li k e an 'intuitive understanding' of the true nature of the universe. Moreover, these people very often have a serenity which would undoubted-ly lead one to say that they have achieved 'the highest possible peace of mind'. They can explain why most people haven't reached this state of enlight-enment or highest consciousness, by arguing that to reach these levels requires a very arduous training of the mind, which only a few people are able or w i l l -ing to undertake. Spinoza obviously believed something similar to this. I f the way which, as I have shown, leads hither (to eternal peace of mind), seem very d i f f i c u l t , i t can nevertheless be found. It must indeed be d i f f i c u l t since i t is so seldom discovered; for i f salvation lay ready to hand and could be discovered without great labour, how could i t be possible that i t should be neglected almost by everybody? But a l l noble things are as d i f f i c u l t as they are rare. E.v.42. (Schol.) There are undoubtedly severe epistomological problems with this view of human freedom, and although the theory i s very interesting and suggestive, there w i l l be no arguments produced here which purport to prove that i t i s true; for i f the doctrine is true i t s truth could be understood only by someone who had already had this kind of experience to believe i n i t s value; i t i s 91. probably impossible so to persuade a r a t i o n a l person by r a t i o n a l arguments alone. A f o r t i o r i i t i s an enterprise t o t a l l y unsuited to demonstration 'more geometrico'. We s h a l l now descend from these l o f t y metaphysical heights to the more mundane area of the affect s . 15. THE AFFECTS PART TWO. Before proceeding further, a few remarks about the picture being o f f e r -ed here of the interconnections between the various parts of Spinoza's theory of freedom would be appropriate. Spinoza believed that he had e s s e n t i a l l y one theory which had d i f f e r e n t mutually supporting p i l l a r s . In his opinion these p i l l a r s d i d more than simply add extra support to the anyway reasonably s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t , self-supporting doctrines; he believed that no part of the e d i f i c e could stand up independently of the other parts - the system had to be rejected or accepted as a whole. We have already shown that one aspect of his theory of freedom cannot be defended by r a t i o n a l argument. What w i l l be attempted here i s an examination of the other aspects of the theory on t h e i r own merits. We can do t h i s p a r t l y because these psychological views about human bondage and freedom are r e a l l y views on how to prepare for the ultimate state of 'blessedness'. I f the arguments about freedom are seen as forming a pyramid, what has been done so f a r i s to remove the top of the pyramid. Spinoza would not have had i t that the top could have been removed without shaking the foundations, for he believed that the 'blessedness' theory was entailed by the psychological theory. I f one accepted this one could not re-j e c t the 'blessedness' theory, or withold judgment on i t without doing so to the psychological theory. The entailment claim i s here rejected, and so we proceed to a discussion of the psychological theory on i t s own merits. 92. Spinoza, we r e c a l l , believed that we are active inasmuch as we have adequate ideas, and passive inasmuch as we have inadequate ones. From th i s alone, one might think that i t wouldn't make any difference to our a c t i v i t y , and therefore to our 'power' or 'virt u e ' , whether the inadequate ideas are inadequate f o r one reason or for quite d i f f e r e n t ones. There i s n ' t appar-ently much room for concern f o r d i s t i n c t i o n s w i t h i n the realm of inadequate ideas. In actual f a c t there are c r u c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n s to be made wi t h i n this realm. Spinoza does make some of these d i s t i n c t i o n s , the f i r s t of which i s made w i t h i n the area of passions. He says that we su f f e r passions to the extent that the ideas i n our mind which are the mental aspect of our a f f e c t s , are not adequate. However passions are many-edged. There are several Spinozist reasons why passions such as hatred cannot be good. Spinoza offers the following reason: The man whom we hate we endeavour to destroy ... that i s to say ... we endeavour to do something which i s e v i l . E.iv.45. (Dem.) The reason given for the e v i l of destroying another human being i s that noth-ing i s more useful to one person than another person. We can interpret the demonstration as saying that hating someone has bad effects inasmuch as i t leads one to desire, or rather involves d e s i r i n g , c e r t a i n things to b e f a l l the person, the occurrence of which would be harmful to the hater. The second reason f o r saying that hatred i s e v i l i s that i t necessarily involves sorrow. Sorrow i s e v i l because i t constitutes apart from anything e l s e , a diminution i n the power of action of the mind and body. This, at any rate i s a Spinozist view of the emotion. I t i s , as i t stands, l i t e r a l l y f a l s e ; f o r i f we count hatred as a species of sorrow, i t i s not the case that 93. 'sorrow' inevitably diminishes i t s possessor's power of action. Sometimes, as we stated e a r l i e r , people are motivated to re l i n q u i s h t h e i r i n e r t i a by the hatred of someone or something. However Spinoza does have an i n t e r e s t i n g and important insight here, even though i t i s not e x p l i c i t l y made on t h i s subject. I t i s quite true that there are emotions which do seem to constitute an i n h i b i t i o n on one's a c t i v i t i e s . There are two basic forms of these. The f i r s t i s where one i s , say f e e l i n g resentful towards somebody, and consequent-l y j u s t cannot concentrate on what one i s doing, because the object of one's passion i s ever-present to one i n an offensive and intruding manner. Such a 'sufferer' may f i n d himself constantly dwelling on the i n j u r i e s which have been i n f l i c t e d on him, and thus not be able to concentrate f u l l y on any one thing. The second form of ' i n h i b i t i n g ' emotion i s the one where one ju s t f e e l s , so to speak, deadened. This usually involves, at some l e v e l , s e l f -hatred, and i s often caused by the suppression of the expression of h o s t i l e feelings to somebody who has caused one pain. These emotions, i f one wants to c a l l them that, tend towards depression, and could w e l l be named 'depressive emotions'. The emotions which are included i n t h i s category are j u s t those which lead to or encompass the state of depression, which involves f e e l i n g so awful that one cannot summon up the energy to do anything, even those things which the depressed person most wants to do. For example, someone who r e a l l y wants to write a book may, i f he i s i n the grip of a 'depressive' emotion, be unable to face working on the project. The current conjecture i s that there i s a group of emotions which ac t u a l l y do i n h i b i t one's a c t i v i t y , e i t h e r by scattering one's concentration or by deadening one's v i t a l i t y . Of course the former might w e l l lead to the l a t t e r , and the l a t t e r would almost c e r t a i n l y involve one's a b i l i t y to concentrate being broken. These emotions, which I s h a l l hereafter c a l l 'depressive', are harmful to t h e i r bearers because they l i m i t t h e i r a c t i v i t y i n the more f a m i l i a r sense of ' a c t i v i t y ' as w e l l as i n 94. Spinoza's rather esoteric sense. The third reason for regarding the emotions of sorrow as being, at least not untarnished by e v i l , i s that they are a l l necessarily passions. A l l emotions of sorrow are passions, because they constitute restrictions of act-i v i t y for their bearers, and therefore mark the overpowering of the bearer's conatus by external factors, which i s an undesirable state for someone to be in . This i s closely linked to the fourth reason for saying that the emotions of sorrow are e v i l , and that i s that they involve inadequate ideas of a par-ticular kind. Inadequate ideas include not merely those ideas which we would say were ideas of contingent truths, but also of falsehoods. The passions involve inadequate ideas of the 'falsehood' type. For instance, i f one hates someone, one w i l l , according to Spinoza's theory, feel sorrow with the accom-panying idea of the object of hatred as the true cause of the sorrow. Suppose someone stole one's favourite record - just before some friends were coming over for the evening to li s t e n to i t . Let us also suppose that the culprit i s found, and that he just doesn't care at a l l about causing trouble to people, and in particular to oneself. It is quite l i k e l y that one would feel hatred towards such a person. According to Spinoza this would involve the primary sorrow of having one's evening ruined, with the accompanying idea of an 'external cause' - namely the thief. This belief about the cause of the sorrow must be mistaken, given Spinoza's view, much discussed above, of a causally r a t i o n a l i s t i c determinist universe. There is an i n f i n i t e l y long series of causes for the occurrence of anything i n the world of f i n i t e modes. When we regard someone as the cause of our sorrow we are not simply viewing the person as something which i s , along with i n f i n i t e l y many other things, 95. causally relevant to the occurrence of the state; rather, what we are doing is regarding the object of hatred as a self-caused cause of our sorrow. This is to have a false, inadequate idea, and i s therefore ' e v i l ' . As well as passions of sorrow, there are passions which arise i n us out of desire and those which arise out of joy. The following discussion w i l l be restricted essentially to the passions of joy. The passions of joy share some relevant features with those of sorrow, and dif f e r i n important ways too. The passions of joy are different from at least some of those of sorrow in that they do not involve destructiveness. When one has a joyous passion, such as unselfish love, one tends, i n virtue of the feeling, to be well-dis-posed towards one's fellow human-beings. As the well-being of one's fellow human beings i s good, so i s that which promotes i t , for instance a passion of joy, for this promotes our true self-interest. Secondly, the passions of joy do not, unlike some of their counterparts on the sorrow side, lead to the inhibition of one's power of acting, but rather have the reverse tendency. Spinoza has the following to say on this matter: Joy i s not directly e v i l , but good; sorrow, on the other hand, i s directly e v i l . Joy ... i s an affect by which the body's power of action i s increased or assisted. Sorrow, on the other hand, i s an affect by which the body's power of action is lessened, and, therefore joy is directly good ... E.iv.41 $ Dem. It might be worth noting here that Spinoza specifically talks in terms of the body's power of action. I take him, in doing so, to be talking about something 96. rather like what we would describe as 'ability to do a wide range of things'. We would then be able to say that the affects of joy are directly good be-cause their possession enables their possessor to do a wide range of things, that i s , to be more active. On this matter, Spinoza i s , as in the case of the passions of sorrow, literally wrong. It is not true that a l l emotions of joy do increase our body's power of action in any sense that is not purely tautological. For instance the feeling of joy which one might get from lazing in a deck chair on a warm summer's afternoon, is certainly not a feeling which either con-stitutes or directly leads to an increase in the body's power of action. On the contrary, i f one feels really pleasant in such a situation, one's power of action is certainly diminished, for one would almost certainly want to do as near to nothing as possible. Nevertheless, as before with the sorrows, Spinoza does have a point. When one is feeling cheerful or joyous, one is far more able to do what one wants to do than i f one is feeling depressed or sorrowful. It is difficult to find a word which encapsulates this kind of feeling. The closest approxim-ation is probably 'cheerfulness'. 'Cheerfulness' is not completely accurate. What is being sought is the opposite of 'depression'. The distinction in question is fairly well described as that between feeling optimistic, and feeling pessimistic. The affects of joy have a logical connexion with feel-ing, broadly speaking, optimistic. When one feels optimistic about one's existence, i t is much easier for one to get down to doing things, thus in-creasing 'the body's power of action'. The nearest Spinoza actually comes to spelling this out is in his distinction between 'cheerfulness' and 'melancholy'. 97. Cheerfulness ... is joy, which, i n so far as i t is related to the body, consists i n thi s , that a l l the parts of the body are equally affected, that is to say ... the body's power of action i s increased or assisted, so that a l l the parts acquire the same proportion of motion and rest to each other. Cheerfulness, therefore ... is always good, and can never be excessive. But melancholy ... i s sorrow, which i n so far as i t is related to the body, con-sists i n this, that the body's power of action i s absolutely lessened or restrained, and melancholy, therefore ... i s always e v i l . E.iv.42. (Dem.) If we don't take too l i t e r a l l y the talk about imbalances i n the proportions of motion and rest i n the body, we are l e f t with the basic 'feeling good', and 'feeling bad', which we were looking for. Although Spinoza's talking about proportions of motion and rest i n the body leaves much to be desired as an account of how different emotions affect us, he does have a point when he talks of the excesses of joy. I f , for instance, one absolutely adored someone, the love one had for the person might be excessive, for i t would, as i t were, throw one completely out of equilibrium, and cause one to have a fixation on the person loved which would inhibit one's overall power of act-ion. 'Cheerfulness' and 'melancholy' are overall emotional states of a per-son, and thus have a more direct relation to the actual power of action of a person, than do emotions such as anger. The passions of joy do share i n common with those of sorrow their not being cause solely by the essence of the bearer of the passion. Also they do not involve adequate ideas. I f one loves someone i n an ordinary way, one i s , on Spinoza's view, feeling joy with the accompanying idea of the person loved as the cause of the joy. This, as we saw i n the case of the passions of sorrow, involves having a distorted or incomplete way of seeing things. 98. Anyway, we can say this, that even though a l l the passions are manifes-tations of a person's unfreedom, which is a bad state, some of them are not as harmful as others, and are in fact, in the Spinozist sense, 'useful' to us. He gives several reasons as to why the passions of sorrow are 'harm-ful' to us, and several why those of joy are 'useful'. However, i t is not the case that a l l the passions of sorrow are harmful in the same ways, or at least in a l l the same ways. For instance the passion of hatred is harm-ful because i t leads to destructive tendencies which are against the true self-interest of the person who hates. Sadness is harmful because i t makes i t difficult for one to do what one might otherwise be able to do. But hatred often raises one's power of activity, and sadness does not have an inbuilt element of destructiveness. One could produce a similar account of the passions of joy. The point which is being made here is that Spinoza's account of the passions of joy and sorrow, although containing valuable insights, is an oversimplification. It is not true that a l l the passions of joy are 'good' in his sense of the word, just as i t isn't true that a l l those of sorrow are 'evil', and this is something more than simply a matter of the possible ex-cesses of joy, which Spinoza talks of. Pleasurable excitement may be excessive and an evil, and pain be good in so far as pleasurable excitement or joy is evil. E.iv.43. Spinoza does acknowledge that some passions are more harmful than others. However, a l l the passions are ultimately undesirable, for i t is a necessary truth that having a passion involves having inadequate ideas in one's mind, and that having such ideas constitutes being unfree mentally, and that be-ing mentally unfree is harmful. It follows from this that i t is ultimately useful or virtuous for us to give up our passions, or at least to take steps 9 9 . which enable us to cease bei n g s u b j e c t to them. Does t h i s mean th a t i t i s u l t i m a t e l y u s e f u l to do without emotions a l t o g e t h e r ? I t i s d i f f i c u l t to say e x a c t l y what Spinoza thought on t h i s matter, because on i t he i s not only obscure, but a l s o says things which imply c o n t r a r y p o s i t i o n s . In the next chapter there w i l l be a d i s c u s s i o n o f Spinoza's views on the d i s p e n s a b i l i t y o f emotions, and of the n e c e s s i t y o f d i s p e n s i n g w i t h them, f o r the f r e e l i f e o f reason. In a m o d i f i e d and t r u n c a t e d form the main S p i n o z i s t p o s i t i o n w i l l be defended from what c o u l d be a s e r i o u s challenge from the Twentieth Century. loo CHAPTER FOUR REASON, EMOTIONS AND HUMANITY 16. TO WHAT EXTENT SHOULD WE ABANDON OUR EMOTIONS? The nearest thing to an emotion which Spinoza talks about is 'affect'. Part Four of ETHICS is called 'Of Human Bondage or of the strength of the Affects'. This implies that our bondage consists in having affects, and that liberation would inevitably involve no longer being subject to them. Furthermore, the l i f e that Spinoza advocates i s a l i f e of reason. He con-stantly talks about what someone who lived i n accordance with reason would do. He equates acting i n accordance with reason with acting virtuously, or being free. People often oppose reason to, amongst other things, emotions. If one i s acting 'emotionally', one i s not acting 'reasonably'. The radical interpretation of Spinoza's views about the dispensability of emotions would be the one which has him advocating a complete abandonment of a l l emotions. Despite the attractions of this way of interpreting Spinoza, there are better reasons for rejecting the interpretation as not doing justice to his main theory. One of the reasons for believing that the emotions ought to be given up is that we seem to be passive whenever we have an emotion. However, i f Spinoza did mean by 'affect' what we mean by emotion, he did not believe this, for he writes: Besides the joys and desires which are passions, there are other affects of joy and desire which are related to us in so far as we act. E. i i i . 5 8 . 101. The argument for the possibility of 'active' joys i s that the mind rejoices when i t conceives i t s power of acting, and that when i t has adequate ideas i t conceives i t s e l f and i t s power of acting, and so i t rejoices when i t i s active. Moreover, the having of adequate ideas i s caused by one's own essence alone, and so one i s , when one has adequate ideas, the cause of the ensuing rejoicing, since i t follows from something of which one i s the cause oneself. This argument is not used by Spinoza i n his demonstration of the proposition, but i t easily could have been. In the f i n a l paragraph of ETHICS Part Four there is more evidence for rejecting the radical view. Talking about 'the brave man', whom one can take as being someone who is free or governed by reason, Spinoza writes: ... his chief effort is to conceive things as they are in themselves, and to remove the hindrances to true knowledge such as hatred, anger, envy, derision and pride, and other of this kind, which we have before noticed; and so he endeavours, as we have said, as much as possible to do well and rejoice. E.iv.73. (Schol.) This i s particularly interesting because the examples which are given, of the hindrances to knowledge, are a l l emotions which lead to what we would c a l l wrongdoing; at least they are a l l emotions or attitudes which most people dis-courage. Such affects as 'pity', 'hope', 'confidence' and 'gladness' are not included; and this i s significant, for according to Spinoza's c r i t e r i a , those affects are obstacles to true knowledge, and involve passivity i n the same way as do the other less reputable affects. Spinoza's r i g i d causal rationalism did not allow him to have a theory of how we might progress from our state of confused, passive, unfreedom into the state of freedom or blessedness, for he couldn't have an adequate theory of 102. change. However, a close reading of Spinoza w i l l reveal that he did believe there was a path from bondage to freedom. There are some emotions which are especially harmful, as they not only involve the bearer of the emotion being i n bondage, but they also promote the continuing bondage of that person and others. Such emotions are pride, anger, derision, and others of the same i l k , as mentioned i n E.iv.73. (Schol.). Spinoza urges anybody who i s seeking freedom to give up, as a matter of immed-iate p r i o r i t y , such negative and destructive emotions. Although Spinoza i s against such feelings as p i t y , remorse, and other 'softnesses', because they do not stem from reason, but run.counter to i t , he does grant that they have their purposes. ... li k e p i t y , so shame, although i t i s not a virtue, is nevertheless good, i n so far as i t shows that a desire of l i v i n g uprightly i s present i n the man who i s possessed with shame ... E.iv.58. (Schol.) ... he who i s moved neither by reason nor pity to be of any service to others i s properly called inhuman. E.iv.50. These 'soft' emotions, then are intermediately 'useful', for i n our 'unliber-ated' state, i f we did not have them we would be 'inhuman', and would be i n an extremely 'primitive' state of development. 'Pity' is also not too good, because i t is a 'sorrow'; this distinguishes i t from the passions of joy, passions though even these latter be. Passions of joy are regarded as reasonably a l l right in as much as they involve a tendency to increased activity or virtue on the part of the bearer. However, even these ultimately should go, for: 103. A l l of these (desires from affects of joy and sorrow) ... in so far as they are begotten in us of affects which are passions, are blind ... nor would they be of any use i f men could be easily persuaded to li v e according to the dictates of reason alone ... E.iv.58. (Schol.) The trouble with a l l the passions, whether they are 'positive' or 'negative' is that we have them whether or not we want to, and also whether or not i t i s i n our interest to have the particular passion at a particular time. In respect to our passions, when we are i n a state of unfreedom, we have no more control than leaves i n the wind have over their location - both are deter-mined by external factors. I f we are feeling particularly good on account of something pleasant that has happened to us, i t i s quite on the cards that this w i l l turn to feeling rotten i f the circumstances change. What Spinoza means by 'freedom' in i t s human context entails 'feeling good i n any circumstance'. This i n -volves looking at the world, including oneself and one's position i n the world 'under the aspect of eternity'. This i s certainly what Spinoza thought freedom consisted of, but i t i s not clear whether or not he thought i t attainable. Early i n ETHICS Part Four Spinoza asserts what implies that freedom i s unattainable for human beings. We suffer i n so far as we are a part of nature, which part cannot be conceived by i t s e l f nor with-out the other parts. E.iv.2. It is impossible that a man should not be a part of nature ... E.iv.4. However, in Part Five he certainly suggests that i t is possible, though 104. admittedly d i f f i c u l t , to reach the state of freedom, that is the l i f e of reason. In summary, then, the doctrine which w i l l be discussed here i s the following. The state of freedom is one which i t would be ultimately desir-able to attain, although i t i s extremely unlikely that i t can be achieved by any given human being. In order to achieve complete freedom, one would have to be completely unmoved by what was going on around one, that i s , one would never feel things about what was happening, except what is truly appropriate. The same feeling is always appropriate to a free person, because, in r e a l i t y nothing actually changes. This feeling i s a feeling of b l i s s , joy, or a special kind of love or reverence. There i s a graduated series of barriers to the attainment of this state. These barriers are the things which cause us to see the world in other than i t s true light. The source of the failure to see things accurately is our having inadequate ideas, a sub-spec-ies of which are the ideas contained i n passions. In order, then, to attain freedom, we must set about eliminating these passions. Within the realm of passions there are some which must be eliminated i f the pursuer of freedom i s to make any headway at a l l ; these emotions are the ones which involve hatred, envy, and the li k e - the emotions which have an inbuilt tendency to destruc-tion and those which tend towards 'depression' as i t was explicated earlier. These emotions get i n the way of any further development, and that i s why they must be eliminated early. The emotions which tend towards cheerfulness are much better. The main problems with at least most of them are that one has no control over whether or not one has them, at least when one i s an ordinary 'unfree' human being. The state of freedom involves being free of them too. It is ambiguous just what is involved in being free of these 'positive' attitudes and feelings. The ambiguity can be expressed as follows. 105. I f one is free of the affect of 'gladness' i s i t the case that one never feels 'glad', or that one can control whether or not one feels 'glad'? It is assumed that Spinoza i s here really concerned with having control over one's affects - that is the control of being able to decide whether or not one i s going to have a particular feeling. For after a l l he does maintain that there are affects which are actions. After a person has f i n a l l y conquered the passions, he or she w i l l also have an 'objective' view of the universe, and w i l l possess 'the intellectual love of God'. 17. REACTIVITY. This section w i l l deal with an objection to the Spinozist programme for freedom which comes from Professor P.F. Strawson in his B r i t i s h Academy lecture "Freedom and Resentment". This lecture i s a contribution to the debate between the hard and soft determinists. Hart determinists believe that an acceptance of the truth of determinism would force us to give up our belief that i t is sometimes j u s t i f i e d to hold a person morally responsible for an action. The soft determinists believe that j u s t i f i e d ascriptions of moral responsibility are quite compatible with an acceptance of the truth of determinism. Strawson believes that the acceptance of hard determinism as above asc-ribed would force us to adopt 'the obscure and panicky metaphysics of l i b e r -tarianism', for i t is in some sense inconceivable that we should abandon our belief that sometimes people are morally responsible for their actions. So the issue becomes one between soft determinism with the poss i b i l i t y of accept-ing the truth of determinism, and libertarianism, which appears to be counter-intuitive or at any rate unscientific. What Strawson does is to examine the 106. source of our ascriptions of moral responsibility, and in so doing to attempt to show that our notion of moral responsibility stems from roots quite other than a belief that some people are sometimes free i n a sense of 'free' which i s incompatible with 'determined'. This i s i n direct conflict with Spinoza's view on this matter. ... and because (man) supposes himself to be free, notions like those of praise and blame, sin and merit have arisen. E . i . Appendix. It is quite common for a correct philosophical position to be rejected be-cause the arguments which are adduced in i t s favour are poor. This i s what, according to Strawson, has happened to the doctrine .of soft determinism. One such argument i s that put forward by, amongst others, Moritz Schlick, who writes about the related notion of punishment: Punishment i s concerned only with the institution of causes, of motives of conduct, and this alone is i t s meaning. Punishment is an educative measure, and as such i s a means to the formation of motives, which are i n part to prevent the wrongdoer from repeating the act (reformation) and i n part to prevent others from committing a similar act (intimidation). Analogously, i n the case of reward we are concerned with an incentive. M. Schlick. PROBLEMS OF ETHICS, p.152. What is objectionable to this sort of j u s t i f i c a t i o n for punishment or reward is that i t ignores one very important component of our punishing or rewarding someone, and that is the element of resentment or hurt i n the former, and that of gratitude i n the latter. I f i t did not matter whether or not these elements were present, there would be no distinction between 'corrective therapy' and punishment. Strawson sheds light on this problem i n an interesting way through a distinction he makes, which is not always clear, between 'reactive attitudes' 107. and 'the objective attitude'. He writes of the latter: To adopt the objective attitude to another human being is to see him, perhaps, as an object of social policy; as a subject for what, i n a wide range of sense, might be called treatment; as something certainly to be taken account of, perhaps precautionary account, of; to be managed or handled or cured or trained; ... P.79. This i s to be contrasted with reactive attitudes. ... i t cannot include the range of reactive feelings and attitudes which belong to involvement or particip-ation with others i n inter-ersonal human relationships; i t cannot include resentment, gratitude, forgiveness, anger, or the sort of love which two adults can some-times be said to feel reciprocally, for each other. P.79.1 Strawson argues that i t i s these reactive attitudes which provide the basis for our notions of moral responsibility and so on. He says that the personal reactive attitudes have a vicarious analogue; for instance the reactive attitude of resentment has i t s vicarious analogue i n 'moral indignation', or 'resentment on behalf of another'. This i s slightly misleading, since one of the features of the personal reactive attitudes was simply the fact that they were reactions to the good or i l l - w i l l of somebody to oneself. It i s an important feature of these attitudes that one sees the object of the attitude as having done something for or against one personally. I t i s possible to feel this so-called 'resentment on behalf of another' without i t mattering who the victim of the moral outrage might be. Anyway, this i s a parenthetical remark, as I shall not question Strawson's claim that these two kinds of reactive attitude and a third kind, which i s the analogue of the other two which is held towards oneself, and includes remorse, are a l l 'humanly' connected. P.F. Strawson (ed.) Studies In The Philosophy of Thought and Action. 108. I t i s maintained in "Freedom and Resentment" that anyone who questions, after reading the early parts of the paper, the rationality of maintaining the reactive attitudes in the face of a belief i n the truth of determinism 'has wholly failed to grasp' what Strawson has said on the subject. The argument Strawson has for this i s twofold. The f i r s t argument i s that when we decide to suspend our reactive attitudes towards somebody this is not because we see their behaviour as caused i n a way i n which other people's is not caused, so what attitudes we take up are taken up independently of beliefs about the truth of determinism. The second argument is that i t i s impossible for us to give up on a relatively permanent basis our reactive attitudes. If this were so, and as 'ought' implies 'can', i t would be i n -appropriate to question the rationality of continuing these practices, since to do so would be to imply that we, perhaps ought to do what, ex hypothesi, we can't. It i s precisely these two statements of Strawson's position which are i n direct conflict with Spinoza's programme for human liberty. Spinoza believed that i f we could really see people's behaviour as being causally determined, we would no longer have these feelings of resentment, gratitude, Strawson's special kind of love between adults, hatred, anger, jealousy, envy, etc. Secondly Spinoza, as we have seen, believed that i t i s possible for people to give up their passions, which are very close to Strawson's 'reactive attitudes'. A l l the reactive attitudes would be called 'passions' by Spinoza, though some of the 'passions' would not be called 'reactive attitudes or feelings' by Strawson. Let us now investigate Strawson's claim that the rationality of our con-tinuing to have reactive attitudes cannot ju s t i f i a b l y be questioned because 109. having them i s an inevitable, and desirable part of the human condition. Strawson equates 'ordinary inter-personal relationship' with 'relationship where the people involved are prone to having reactive attitudes towards one another*. Words lik e 'ordinary' are dangerous i n contexts such as these, as they are ambiguous. Does 'ordinary' mean ' s t a t i s t i c a l l y l i k e l y ' , or 'normal-in-the-sense-of-functioning-as-it-should'? I f the l a t t e r , i t is pretty-well tautologous that we ought not to give up our reactive attitudes, as this would involve our never having the kind of relationships which we should have, and i t is very strange indeed to t e l l someone that he ought to adopt a style of l i f e which would preclude him having the kind of relation-ships he ought to have. It i s undoubtedly true that relationships which involve the range of reactive attitudes are s t a t i s t i c a l l y normal, but i t i s not at a l l as obvious that they are a manifestation of well-functioning human beings. I f they are this l a t t e r , an argument i s certainly required to show i t . I t is notoriously d i f f i c u l t to produce an argument that i s anything l i k e plausible about such a fundamental aspect of 'human nature'. Strawson doesn't really provide a satisfactory one. What he does i s to try to show how a world where we did not feel reactive attitudes would be somewhat inhuman, and thus undesirable. This w i l l be discussed shortly. In the meantime l e t us pass to Strawson's more radical claim - that we could not give up having reactive attitudes. Strawson leans rather heavily on the 'normality' of relationships, with reactive attitudes being the order of the day, or at least of most days. He writes: But i t cannot be consequence of any thesis which i s not self-contradictory, that abnormality i s the universal condition. 2 Ibid. p.81. 110. He then asks whether the acceptance of determinism could lead us to look at one another i n tliis way: 'Could the acceptance of the truth of determinism lead to the "decay or repudiation of participant reactive attitudes"?' From the way this question has been set up by Strawson the odds are stacked against an affirmative answer being given, and i t i s not surprising that he writes: I t does not seem to be self-contradictory to suppose that this (the repudiation of participant reactive attitudes) might happen. So I suppose we must say that i t is not absolutely inconceivable that i t should happen. But I am strongly inclined to think that i t i s , for us as we are, practically inconceivable that i t should happen.3 This i s Strawson at his most elusive. He has two things going on at once here. The f i r s t is that he has some argument which has purported to show that determinism i s irrelevant to our adoption of objective or reactive attitudes to one another. I t i s not clear whether he means above that what is not quite self-contradictory, but 'practically inconceivable' is that we should give up reactive attitudes simply because we had a theoretical con-viction that determinism was true, or that we should relinquish them for good under any circumstances. I f he means the former one might say that although the belief i n determinism would not on i t s own alter our reactive attitudes, i t would help us to become free of some of them. I t i s certainly true that i f we consciously regard someone's adverse behaviour as being the upshot of a series of causes which were not subject to his control, i t i s much easier for us not to feel anger towards him. I f we can view our sorrows as having an i n f i n i t e number of causes we are l i k e l y to be less fixated on a single 'cause'. Believing in determinism is a way of ceasing to regard one person or thing as the cause of one's pain or pleasure. This certainly helps ^ Ibid. p.82. 111. to reduce one's proneness to at least certain reactive attitudes. This i s a fact about human psychology. I f Strawson is making the more radical of the two claims - that i t is 'practically inconceivable' that we should give up our reactive attitudes for any reason, then this requires much more ju s t i f i c a t i o n than i s given. It seems to be the case that Strawson is making the bolder claim. For later i n the lecture he says of the commitment to 'inter-personal attitudes', which I take to be 'reactive attitudes': This commitment i s part of the general framework of human l i f e , not something that can come up for re-view within this general framework.4 Strawson i s well-known for his use of the transcendental form of argument with respect to our knowledge of what the world i s l i k e . Instead of trying to prove directly that the sceptic i s contradicting himself, for i t isn't obvious that he must be, what Strawson does i s to show that what the sceptic must say describes a situation which i s unintelligible. We can be reasonably sure that we shan't give up our belief that we are i n a world of objective particulars, for we cannot really conceive of a world where we could judge that there weren't any. In connection with this type of dispute one would have expected a remark from Strawson similar to that made in the above quotation. He certainly is basing his claim that we could not give up our reactive attitudes on a moral analogue of the epistemological transcendental argument. This ex-plains his curious use of 'practically inconceivable', which I, rather specula-t i v e l y , take to be in contrast with the Kantian 'theoretically' inconceivable. In his book INDIVIDUALS Strawson characterizes what he is going to be doing 4 Ibid. p.84. i.U. in the book in the following way: ... there is a massive central core of human think-ing which has no history - or none recorded i n histories of thought; there are categories and con-cepts which, in their most fundamental character, change not at a l l ; and are yet the indispensable core of the conceptual equipment of the most sophist-icated human beings. It i s with these, their inter-connexions, and the structure that they form, that a^ descriptive metaphysics w i l l be primarily concerned. Strawson implies that he believes that our having reactive attitudes i s a moral analogue of our having concepts of objective particulars i n our under-standing of reality. This i s an extremely dubious claim to make, particularly in view of i t being possible to describe without any inconsistency what i t would be l i k e to know that one was l i v i n g i n a world where there was an absence of reactive attitudes amongst the people, including oneself. One can reduce a sceptic who is prepared to lis t e n to one's arguments to give up his position or to remain silent about i t , but there i s no such channel available to one to dispose of someone who disagrees with one's views about what a t t i t -udes people can or cannot adopt to one another. There i s l i t t l e pressure on the Spinozist to accept Strawson's 'descriptive metaphysical' claim that: The existence of the general framework of attitudes i t s e l f i s something we are given with the fact of human society. As a whole i t neither calls for, nor permits an essential 'rational' j u s t i f i c a t i o n . I f the Spinozist is_ going to deny that the matter of what attitudes one can have can be settled a p r i o r i , which i s i n effect the assertion made here, then he must accept that this undercuts his own enterprise. Both Strawson and Spinoza were wrong i n attempting, to varying degrees, a p r i o r i psychology. D P.F. Strawson, INDIVIDUALS, p.10. 6 P.F. Strawson, STUDIES IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT AND ACTION, p.94. 113. Spinoza i s arguing that i t is necessarily desirable to give up one's reactive attitudes, and therefore that i t is conceivable that one should do so; Strawson i s saying that i t i s inconceivable that one should do so, or at least 'practically inconceivable', and that i f one could do so, i t would be an undesirable thing to do anyway. How i s such a dispute to be settled? Spinoza and Strawson both retreat towards the p r i o r i , but this i s misguided, as what people want, or the sort of l i f e that i s good for them, i s something which i t i s possible to ascertain only by self-observation and the sensitive observation of others. It i s an empirical issue. What i s available to Spinozists and to Strawson i s to shed more light on what the alternative views entail. In doing this one can try to persuade the listener that one or the other view i s more attractive. What i t i s possible for human beings to feel or not feel towards one another i s i n this instance a matter of empirical psychology. What the philosopher can do is to show what the alter-native: views really are, and to provide reasons for believing that one of the styles of l i f e i s preferable to the other, whilst conceding that these reasons w i l l not have the compelling nature of logical reasons for believing something. I f we can focus attention away from the arguments for the necessity of one view or the other we can then see where the real interest of the debate l i e s . The basic dichotomy seems to be this. Spinoza believed that emotions are a stumbling block to people i n their quest, for true happiness, which i s what people really want. He saw a l i f e of reason as the ultimate goal which people ought to pursue. Strawson, on the contrary, believes that the reactive attitudes are a natural expression of our humanity, and that even i f we could give them up, this would not be desirable, as i t would mean that a l l personal relationships would break down, these being an extremely important part of our lives without which l i f e would really be not worth l i v i n g . 114. Spinoza, we r e c a l l , believed that there are distinctions to be made within the realm of the passions. The most important of these is that be-tween the passions of joy and those of sorrow. The latter are in themselves harmful, the former, useful. This i s basically because the former heighten our level of activity and also lead us to do things which w i l l have consequenc-es conducive to heightened activity. Other things being equal, even i f one is not a Spinozist, i t is clear that the feelings of joy are better than those of sorrow. When one is feeling 'negative' emotion, i t hurts, and, i f one is re-flec t i v e , one would almost certainly wish to be free of the emotion. Spinoza had special Spinozist reasons for recommending the abandonment of the feelings or rather passions of joy - to do with his rather esoteric notion of activity. He also had more down to earth arguments for the desirability of becoming free of the 'negative' emotions. The position to be taken up here is one which defends the desirability of continued proneness to positive reactive attitudes, whilst rejecting that of susceptibility to the negative ones. It i s to be contended that this position is able to cope with the main point made by Strawson i n defence of both kinds of reactive attitude. I t i s essentially a modified Spinozist position. Strawson's main argument i n defence of the desirability of being subject to reactive attitudes i s that they are somehow required for genuine human relationships. In a world where, for example, nothing one could do could ever cause anyone to feel resentful one would be starved, i t is alleged, of real human contact. As human contact i s what makes l i f e worthwhile, a world which did not allow for this would be horrible, and without any worth. I f one could not have genuine human contact one would be leading an empty l i f e . 115. In fact a l l that is needed is the weaker claim, that a l i f e with human con-tact i s l i k e l y to be more worthwhile than a l i f e without i t , or rather at least sufficiently more worthwhile to outweigh the pain that i s caused by human contact. The argument i s not stated i n this form by Strawson, but i t i s clear that this i s the argument which underlies the Strawsonian position on reactive attitudes. The mistake occurs when one passes from 'Reactive attitudes are required for genuine human contact, which i s obviously desirable' to 'The com-plete range of reactive attitudes i s required for genuine human contact ...'. When he i s setting up the problem about the relation between the acceptance of determinism and reactive attitudes, Strawson writes: What effect would, or should, the acceptance of the truth of a general thesis of determinism have upon these reactive attitudes? More specifi c a l l y , would, or should, the acceptance of the truth of the thesis lead to the decay or the repudiation of a l l such attitudes? Would, or should, i t mean the end of gratitude, resentment, and forgiveness; of a l l recip-rocated adult loves; of a l l the essentially personal antagonisms? The argument Strawson uses i s that we hold each other morally responsible for our actions because we fe e l , in certain circumstances offended by, or grateful for, the actions of people towards us. He argues that moral accountability comes directly from feelings of resentment towards anyone who displays i l l -w i l l towards the person who, as a result of this display,feels resentful. Strawson implies that i f the truth of determinism i s going to have an inhibit-ing effect on our reactive attitudes towards each other, i t must do so to a l l of them or to none at a l l . This i s a mistake. Ibid. p.80. 116. It i s not controversial to say that the negative reactive attitudes such as resentment are i n themselves unpleasant. When one feels resentful i t is uncomfortable and nearly always inhibiting. One way of getting over one's feelings of resentment towards someone is_by seeing the person's be-haviour as being the outcome of a long series of causes. The main reason for hanging on to resentment stems from people's fears about what i t would be l i k e i f one's nearest and dearest would never feel resentment towards one-self. One has the impression that i f , no matter what one did or said to someone, the person would never feel resentment, then the person would not really care about one. The basic attraction of maintaining the 'institution' of feelings of resentment and jealousy and a host of other unpleasant feel-ings i s that we see them as being the inevitable accompaniments of genuine positive feelings for someone. There i s a tendency to believe, for example, that i f a husband cannot be made jealous by his wife's sleeping with another man, then he cannot really love her. What i s really important to human re-lationships i s the a b i l i t y of the parties to feel for each other's position. What we seek i s to be loved and understood i n a way other than a purely intellectual one. We have a very profound tendency to believe that i t is impossible to have these positive aspects of a human relationship without the accompanying negative ones. Let us examine this belief b r i e f l y . The two paradigm cases of reactive attitudes which w i l l be discussed now are resentment and gratitude. The claim t a c i t l y made by Strawson i s that i t i s impossible that we could be prone to feelings of gratitude without being prone to those of resentment. It is admittedly impossible to prove that this i s incorrect; by the same token i t i s impossible to prove that i t i s correct. A l l that can be done i s to try to explain why we feel these things when we do, and thereby to spell out what either answer to the problem of their 117. independence entails. Feelings of resentment usually occur when one's self-esteem i s offended by someone. It i s when one has expectations of someone which are not realized, that one feels resentful. When does one feel gratit-ude? I t is usually when someone has done more for one than one expected. To feel resentful, i t is necessary that one see one's feelings of 'self-special-ness' injured; however, i n the case of gratitude, i t i s not necessary that one should have these feelings at a l l . The essential asymmetry between resentment and gratitude is that the former, though not the latter presupposes expecta-tions of the other person. Although i t i s quite true that gratitude i s approp-riate where expectations are exceeded, and resentment where they are fallen short of, there i s the following difference between them, which I shall repeat for emphasis - namely that one can feel gratitude towards somebody even though one had no expectations about that person, whereas without expectations one could not feel resentful. Let us suppose that we manage to keep our expectations about people down to a ndnimum. This would involve not expecting, or taking i t for granted, though the two are not quite the same thing, that even those we love w i l l show especial concern about our well-being. I f we could do t h i s , then i t would be possible for us to be prone to feelings of gratitude, whilst not being similarly prone to resentment. Could we ever achieve this state? One reason for answering this question i n the negative stems from the belief, held by Spinoza as well as Strawson, that the passions either stand or f a l l together. Spinoza certainly believed that i t is possible, though very d i f f i c u l t , for a person to attain a state where he had no expectations about the good or i l l w i l l of others towards himself, and i t does seem to be right that we could, at least minimize our expectations i n this respect. 118. However, Spinoza believed that the state one has to reach i f one i s to be free i s one where one is independent of the i l l and good w i l l of others to-wards oneself. In this state one would not be subject to negative feelings which are unpleasant, certainly destructive and often inhibiting, but one would also not feel the positive human emotions. This i s seen by Spinoza as an automatic accompaniment of seeing things 'under the aspect of eternity'. The apparent i n e v i t a b i l i t y of giving up one's positive emotions i n the face of seeing things 'sub specie aeternitas' turns many people away from accepting Spinozism, for we are very reluctant to countenance a theory which advocates the abandonment of human sympathy, or human love, which most people do feel to be an essential part of the human situation. The following plausible argument for this radical Spinozism might lead a reader to reject the whole enterprise and revert to a Strawsonian accept-ance of a l l reactive attitudes. I f one should (rationally) give up feeling resentful towards others when they injure one, because being resentful im-plies that one thinks they were causally special i n one's being injured, when nothing ever i s , i n the i n f i n i t e causal chain which precedes any event, then i t would be equally irrational for one to feel grateful when someone does something for one. Spinoza could have gladly accepted this argument, as he advocated the abandonment of a l l reactive attitudes, but most people feel that any belief which makes i t irrational to continue feeling positive reactive attitudes must be wrong. So perhaps we should just reject the ante-cedent of the argument, as Strawson would do. In any event, the argument requires some examination. Strawson would reject the antecedent of the above on the grounds that 119. feeling resentful is quite appropriate in situations where someone has demon-strated his i l l w i l l towards oneself, provided the person is not, say, a small child or a mentally i l l individual, and that the truth or f a l s i t y of determinism i s irrelevant to this. Spinoza believed that the truth of deter-minism logically commits one to accepting that having passions i s irr a t i o n a l . Strawson believes that the truth of determinism i s irrelevant to the approp-riacy of having reactive attitudes; he does not allow for questions to arise concerning the actual rationality of having such attitudes. They seem to be both wrong i n their views of the connection between the truth of determinism and our having reactive attitudes, which, we r e c a l l , are a sub-species of passion. I f one does believe i n the truth of determinism, then i t i s that much easier for one to avoid feeling the negative reactive attitudes. However, a belief i n determinism i n no way warrants that one w i l l be less prone to any feelings. What i s required, i f one i s to become free of certain negative reactive attitudes to people who have injured one is that one understand the causes of one's injury. I f one i s able to discover the causes of the offend-ing person's behaviour, then i t i s very l i k e l y that one's negative reactive attitudes towards the person would be either eliminated, or at least reduced in their intensity. I t i s certainly rational to seek to understand the causes of people's behaviour when they do things to hurt one. There are two reasons for this. The f i r s t i s that doing so i s therapeutically beneficial, as i t helps one to escape the inhibiting and destructive influence of these feelings -i t . helps one to get on with what one wants to do. Secondly, there i s a sense in which i t i s always rational to seek out the reasons and causes of events. In this sense of 'rational' i t i s almost tautologous that i t i s rational to increase one's understanding of what goes on. 120. As far as the positive reactive attitudes are concerned, there is certainly not the same 'therapeutic' pressure for seeking out the causes, of really understanding, why someone has done something kind for us. This is basically because the positive reactive attitudes are, as a rule, pleasant and uninhibiting. Of course, in the other sense of 'rational', i t is obvious that i t would be irrational for us not to seek out the causes of people's amicable behaviour towards us, no less than i t is rational to seek to under-stand hostile behaviour. These remarks can be connected up with Strawson's 'objective attitude'. When one is seeking to understand the causes of someone's adverse behaviour, one is not, typically, reacting to the behaviour.Although believing in the truth of determinism does not mean that one will never react to one's being injured by someone, i t does make i t easier not to do so, as i t is a pre-requisite for seeking to understand the causes of the behaviour in question. But What is really important here is that one appreciate what the causes are, rather than simply to acknowledge that there are causes. It isn't the truth of determinism alone which makes having negative reactive attitudes irrational, although believing in determinism could certainly make i t easier for one to overcome one's bondage to negative reactive attitudes. As believing in determinism is not by itself sufficient to help limit one's negative reactive attitudes, so i t isn't vis-a-vis the positive ones. What is suggested here is trying to see the hostile things people do to one in their broadest perspective. It is desirable to do this, because doing so enables one to shake off the undesirable burden of certain negative reactive 121. attitudes. Insofar as one i s able to control how broad a perspective one sees things i n , there is not the same incentive to see the pleasant things people do for one i n this perspective, although this is certainly what a Spinozistically free person would undoubtedly do. As there are very few people who are, could be, or would want to be, completely free i n this sense, an intermediate proposal, between Strawsonian abandonment to the complete range of reactive attitudes and Spinozist com-g plete abandonment of them, has been tentatively suggested. In propounding this hypothesis about the rationality of rejecting or accepting the desirability of having certain reactive attitudes, one must not forget the Strawsonian point that deciding to abandon or have reactive attitudes i s not just a straightforward decision about what one i s going to do, where one has two choices, for the reactive attitudes are reactions. One can, however, through time, work to change the way one i s going to react to situations of a l l sorts, including to the good or i l l - w i l l of one's fellow human-beings. To undertake this i s , nevertheless, a very radical a c t i v i t y , which can be achieved, i f at a l l , only with d i f f i c u l t y . , A problem with pursuing this approach to one's l i f e i s that i t is very easy to confuse not having the negative reactive attitudes with suppressing them. One of the reasons for feeling rather sceptical about people who talk of not feeling resentful when someone close lets them down i s that we automatically suspect that the person who is claiming not to feel resentment is really biting his or her l i p and i s simply suppressing negative feelings. The above argument raises a number of deep issues which time and space do not permit the author to discuss f u l l y i n this essay. 122. A l l that can be said here i s thai" the two are different, and should not be confused, for the suppression of one's feelings i s certainly one of the main causes of people's feeling depressed. Spinoza advocated the total abandonment of passions as a prerequisite for human freedom. Strawson has argued that we are inevitably subject to some passions, namely the reactive attitudes. In this chapter we have i n -vestigated the r i v a l claims and have produced a proposal for people for whom complete 'freedom' is out of range. The substance of the compromise i s to acknowledge the Strawsonian point that our feelings are of great import-ance to us, and that giving them up is not a matter to be taken l i g h t l y . On the other hand, the suggestion that we cannot give up at least some of them, and moreover that i t would not be reasonable to do so, is rejected. I f one accepts the Spinozist point that some of our emotions are harmful because they hurt us and others, then there i s a good prima facie case for trying to avoid our subjection to them." It has also been argued, though somewhat tentatively, that i t i s possible but very d i f f i c u l t , to achieve t h i s , with-out at the same time renouncing the positive reactive attitudes, which are i n themselves 'useful' to us and others. There has deliberately been no dis-cussion of the further step advocated by Spinoza, of giving up even one's positive passions. This can be avoided, without jeopardy to the rest of the discussion, because i t i s , as i t were, the f i n a l jewel on the crown of Spinoza's philosophy, and involves the radically altered state of conscious-ness which is called 'the intellectual love of God', which i s not a subject for c r i t i c a l discussion i n an essay such as t h i s , mainly because of the d i f f i c u l t y of understanding what such a state would be l i k e . 123. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Curley, Edwin, M. Spinoza's Metaphysics: An Essay in Interpretation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969. Feuer, Lewis, S. Hampshire, Stuart. Hampshire, Stuart Joachim, Harold H. Kashap, S. Paul. Spinoza and the Rise of Liberalism, Boston: Beacon Press. Spinoza. Spinoza and the Idea of Freedom, B r i t i s h Academy Pro-ceedings, 1960. A Study of the Ethics of Spinoza, Oxford: Clarendon Press. (Editor) Studies i n Spinoza, C r i t i c a l and Interpretative  Essays, Berkeley: University of California Press. Parkinson, George H.R. Spinoza's Theory of Knowledge, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Pollock, Sir Frederick. Spinoza: His Life and Philosophy, London: Kegan Paul and Co. Roth, Leon. Roth, Leon. Strawson, Peter F. Wolfson, Harry, A. Spinoza, London: Ernest Benn Limited. Spinoza, Descartes and Maimonides, New York: Russell and Russell. Freedom and Resentment, Briti s h Academy Proceedings, 1962. The Philosophy of Spinoza, Unfolding the Latent Process  of His Reasoning, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. WORKS OF SPINOZA Gebhardt, Carl. .(Editor) Spinoza Opera, Heidelberg. S t i r l i n g , Amelia, H., § White, W. Hale. (Editors and translators) Spinoza Selections, Charles Scribner's and Sons. Wolf, A. (Editor and translator) The Correspondence of Spinoza London: F. Cass. 


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