• Eugen
    475
    Spinoza said every object is, to some degree, animated. Isn't this panpsychism?

    Some sources indicating Spinoza was a panpsychist:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panpsychism

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panpsychism/
  • Gnomon
    1.4k
    Spinoza said every object is, to some degree, animated. Isn't this panpsychism?Eugen
    Spinoza's worldview is often equated to PanPsychism, but I think PanTheism or PanDeism or even PanEnDeism (PED) are more accurate labels. PanPsychism tends to view the "universal substance" as a multipurpose form of mechanical Energy (Chi), and is equivalent to the early human beliefs of Animism. Yet, although Baruch was an outcast Jew, he described that essence of all things as "God". However, he was not referring to the traditional tribal god-models of Judaism or Christianity, but to the abstract philosophical notion that has come to be labelled as the "god of philosophers". My own concept of a PED universal substance is "BEING". Obviously, the "power to exist" is essential to all things in reality. But it doesn't just "animate" dead matter, it also produces all other properties, including Mind, that characterize living beings. :cool:


    Animism :
    1. the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena.
    2. the belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe.


    PanEnDeism :
    Panentheism, from the Greek πᾶν pân, "all", ἐν en, "in" and Θεός Theós, "God" is the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond space and time.
    ___Wiki
    Note : The substitution of "Deism" instead of "Theism", merely removes the various positive & negative anthro-morphic (i.e. physical & emotional) attributes, such as "wrathful, Joy, sadness, anger, hatred, despair" from traditional & scriptural descriptions of deity.

    BEING : In my own theorizing there is one universal principle that subsumes all others, including Consciousness : essential Existence. Among those philosophical musings, I refer to the "unit of existence" with the absolute singular term "BEING" as contrasted with the plurality of contingent "beings" and things and properties. By BEING I mean the ultimate “ground of being”, which is simply the power to exist, and the power to create beings.
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page10.html
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    Spinoza said every object is, to some degree, animated.Eugen
    Citation please. Thanks.

    Spinoza's worldview is often equated to PanPsychism, but I think PanTheism or PanDeism or even PanEnDeism (PED) are more accurate labels.Gnomon
    Sub specie aeternitatis Spinoza's "worldview" is most consistent with acosmism (vide Maimon, Hegel ... Deleuze); otherwise, sub specie durationis, his "worldview" seems to me quite consistent with (as mentioned) pandeism.
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    No it doesn't. Cite Spinoza. You made a statement that attributes a claim to Spinoza himself and not to a 'Spinoza scholar'. Cite, for instance, a page or proposition, etc in the Ethics or Spinoza's other writings where he claims, as you state, "every object, to some degree, is animated."
  • Eugen
    475
    Give me more time to find it, please. Are you suggesting all those people were lying?
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    I'm suggesting only that I (and others) disagree with what you believe your 'sources' are claiming about, or how they're interpreting, Spinoza. No "lying" just a lot of confusion and facile academic fashion that goes back to effective campaigns mostly by well-placed German & English Idealists in the18th century to marginalize Spinozism.
  • Eugen
    475
    Spinoza states:
    The things we have shown so far are completely general and do not pertain more
    to man than to other Individuals, all of which, though in different degrees, are
    nevertheless animate.

    The scholium to p13, which plays a pivotal role in both the textual as well as the
    systematical approach, reads (in part):
    no one will be able to understand [the union of mind and body] adequately, or distinctly, unless he
    first knows adequately the nature of our body. For the things we have shown so far are completely
    general and do not pertain more to man than to other Individuals, all of which, though in different
    degrees, are nevertheless animate.
  • Eugen
    475
    Spinoza's worldview is often equated to PanPsychism, but I think PanTheism or PanDeism or even PanEnDeism (PED) are more accurate labels. PanPsychism tends to view the "universal substance" as a multipurpose form of mechanical Energy (Chi), and is equivalent to the early human beliefs of Animism. Yet, although Baruch was an outcast Jew, he described that essence of all things as "God". However, he was not referring to the traditional tribal god-models of Judaism or Christianity, but to the abstract philosophical notion that has come to be labelled as the "god of philosophers". My own concept of a PED universal substance is "BEING". Obviously, the "power to exist" is essential to all things in reality. But it doesn't just "animate" dead matter, it also produces all other properties, including Mind, that characterize living beings. :cool:Gnomon

    I think it is pantheism, because it denies something ''extra''. But this pantheism can go with everything. You cand be an idealist, panpsychist or even a materialist atheist or Christian and still be a pantheist. I'm more into the mind view of Spinoza. So what's the difference between ''animated'' and having mind?
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k


    (For future reference, when citing from the Ethics include the section as well as the definition, axiom, proposition, scholium, etc e.g. IIp13schol. for second section, proposition 13, scholium. That would be helpful.)

    Yes, I see the sentence. Curiously, though, you pluck that out of the context from the entire Scholium. Apparently, to hang on that word "animated" so you haven't read what comes before or after Well, as I wrote here:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/511027

    The "fundamental difference", Spinoza might say, is their different essences which, in contemporary computational or systems theoretic terms, correspond to (I term it) 'different degrees of functional complexity'.180 Proof
    which is what, in his own terms, Spinoza himself says:
    Wherefore, in order to determine, wherein the human mind differs from other things, and wherein it surpasses them, it is necessary for us to know the nature of its object, that is, of the human body. What this nature is, I am not able here to explain, nor is it necessary for the proof of what I advance, that I should do so. I will only say generally, that in proportion as any given body is more fitted than others for doing many actions or receiving many impressions at once, so also is the mind, of which it is the object, more fitted than others for forming many simultaneous perceptions; and the more the actions of one body depend on itself alone, and the fewer other bodies concur with it in action, the more fitted is the mind of which it is the object for distinct comprehension. We may thus recognize the superiority of one mind over others, and may further see the cause, why we have only a very confused knowledge of our body, and also many kindred questions, which I will, in the following propositions, deduce from what has been advanced. — IIp13schol.
    In other words, all modes are attributed mind but only modes at least as complex as "the human body" exhibit comparable complexity of mind (since mind is the idea of the body) — "consciousness", or self-aware intelligence. All Spinoza means by "to degrees, nevertheless animate" is that every mode exhibits the attribute of mind (as well as extension), as determined in section I On God and in the preceding propositions of section II Of The Mind; to wit:
    For of everything there is necessarily an idea [ESSENCE] in God [SUBSTANCE], of which God [SUBSTANCE] is the cause [ESSENCE TO EXIST], in the same way as there is an idea [ESSENCE] of the human body [EXTENSION]; thus whatever we have asserted of the idea [ESSENCE] of the human body [EXTENSION] must necessarily also be asserted of the idea [ESSENCE] of everything else [ALL MODES]. — IIp13schol. (con't)
    The brackets to the right translate the words to the left back into the terms used in section I concerning God/Substance, etc. Your confusion, Eugen, comes from taking "animated" out of context and misreading it as "consciousness" or "sentience" instead of reading "animated" contextually as exhibiting the Attribute of Mind. So I'll paraphrase: EVERY MODE, TO DIFFERENT DEGREES, EXHIBITS THE ATTRIBUTE OF MIND. Cartoons are animated – evidently dynamic – but not, on that account, "alive" "conscious" or "sentient" BECAUSE they lack sufficiently complex bodies; or, in Spinoza's terms, it is not the essence of an animated cartoon to be "conscious".

    Isn't this panpsychism?Eugen
    No.
  • Valentinus
    1.2k

    Yes. Otherwise the conversation is impossible.
    Someone has read the works is talking to someone who has not.
    It is like an amputated arm reaching out to grab an imaginary object.
  • Gnomon
    1.4k
    Sub specie aeternitatis Spinoza's "worldview" is most consistent with acosmism (vide Maimon, Hegel ... Deleuze); otherwise, sub specie durationis, his "worldview" seems to me quite consistent with (as mentioned) pandeism.180 Proof
    I had never heard of Acosmism before. It seems that almost every philosopher, who tries to pigeonhole Spinoza's novel belief system, comes up with a new label that is close to the interpreter's own view. That's because his god-concept contained elements that were both traditional (Stoicism, Judaism, etc) and highly original (Enlightenment Science ; God and/or Nature). Consequently, his complex god-model loosely fits several philosophical god-models, such as PanTheism, PanPsychism, and PanDeism. But, as far as I know, he never specifically presented a Hindu version of our Cosmos (Nature) as Maya (illusion). Apparently, it was Hegel, who interpreted Spinoza's view in those terms.

    The main reason why I chose to label his philosophy with PanEnDeism, is because he describes God as "infinite". At the time he wrote, most scientists & philosophers assumed that our universe was both Infinite and Eternal. And they had no clear concept of a Big-Bang-beginning or Evolution. But, 20th century science discovered plausible evidence to indicate that our world, along with its characteristic Space-Time dimensions, had a (birth-like) beginning, and will eventually go out of existence (heat death) : hence neither Infinite nor Eternal. Therefore, our Cosmos exists contingently & finitely within the infinite BEING of God. So, the label that best fits the notion of an Infinite & non-intervening Creator, within which our natural world exists, is PanEnDeism : all-in-god. :cool:

    Acosmism : "Acosmism, in contrast to pantheism, denies the reality of the universe, seeing it as ultimately illusory"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acosmism
    "Furthermore, because Spinoza’s cosmos is part of God, it is not what it seems to be. He is acosmistic insofar as “noncosmic” seems to deny the cosmos—a position, however, very alien to Spinoza’s thought."
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/acosmism

    Spinoza's God :
    “By God I understand a being absolutely infinite,
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spinoza/

    Substance of God :
    “Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can be or be conceived without God”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_Baruch_Spinoza

    "One verse from the famous opening invocation to Zeus became even more famous because it was quoted in the New Testament (Acts 17:28): “For 'in him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring." ___Aratus; Greek poet
    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Aratus-Greek-poet
  • Gnomon
    1.4k
    I think it is pantheism,Eugen
    See my reply to above.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.5k
    BEING : In my own theorizing there is one universal principle that subsumes all others, including Consciousness : essential Existence. Among those philosophical musings, I refer to the "unit of existence" with the absolute singular term "BEING" as contrasted with the plurality of contingent "beings" and things and properties. By BEING I mean the ultimate “ground of being”, which is simply the power to exist, and the power to create beings.
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page10.html
    Gnomon

    What do you think of Being as opposed to Schopenhauer's Will and of Whithead's process philosophy's "occasions of experience" and such?
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    Since for Spinoza substance is infinite, or has no exterior, and eternal, or is not the effect of an external cause, and nothing ontologically transcends it, therefore substance is not "within" another substance. For this, and other reasons in Spinoza's oeuvre, "Panentheism" does not obtain. (Re: Ip5-p8, p13-p15)

    I had never heard of Acosmism before.
    As for the earliest interpreters who deemed Spinoza an acosmist: Maimon was (mostly) a Kantian for whom the divine, or a deity, is regulative idea for practical reason; and Hegel was a pan-en-theist in deliberate contrast to Jacobi's influential, and inflammatory, (controversy-provoking) misinterpretation of Spinoza's (alleged) "pantheism". So no, Gnomon, they didn't just interpret Spinoza to pimp their own views – it was still dangerous (ruinous) in late 18th & early 19th centuries Germany to hold such a heretical position as acosmism (or pantheism), which is why Spinoza's was all but erased by the philosophical-theological establishments in Europe till the early 20th century.

    My interpretation varies from Maimon's & Hegel's, as I've pointed out previously, which proffers that Spinoza's position is most consistent with acosmism, in his terms, sub specie aeternitatus but (also) most consistent with pandeism, again in his terms, sub specie durationis. If I had to prioritize one over the other as a hermeneutic (yet arbitrary) preference, it would be the latter. And besides, I'm not pimping either interpretation given my position of antitheist-atheism. People ought to bother reading a subject deeply before spraying it with glitter & piss or dumbing it down with all the wrong questions (re: Eugen).
  • Wayfarer
    11.8k
    Acosmism has been seen in the work of a number of Western philosophers, including Parmenides, Plato, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and British and American idealists, such as F.H. Bradley.[16][17] Solomon Maimon first uses the term to identify Spinoza's beliefs as denying not the existence of God but the existence of a universe independent of God.[18] Hegel follows in this discussion, using it to describe a form of pantheism.[19][20][21] Hegel explains that for Spinoza it is the infinite substance being which is real, while the finite world does not exist. — Wikipedia

    My edit, based on the fact of the mistranslation of Aristotelian 'ouisia' as 'substance' (and a source of egregious errors in modern philosophy.)
  • Wayfarer
    11.8k
    it was still dangerous (ruinous) in late 18th & early 19th centuries Germany to hold such a heretical position as acosmism180 Proof

    The reason being, I daresay, that it was a threat to ecclesiastical hierarchy and tradition, would it not be? Which is why Spinoza also was expelled from the Jewish community, in that he deprecated the value of Biblical revelation in favour of rational enquiry.

    I think one of the major differences between European and Eastern religion shows up here, because all these kinds of 'heresies' were accomodated in Eastern religions, whereas in Western religions they were seen as a mortal threat to the body corporate and anathemetised. But Buddhism and Hinduism (and even Sufism) had their wandering sages who held views quite comparable to Spinoza (as the Wiki article on acosmism notes) - but instead of them being anathemetized, they were given the space to express their POV. This, one suspects, is one of the major differences between Dharma and Religion.
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    Mostly, I agree; though his cherem from the Amsterdam Jewish community, I speculate, had more to do with protecting the conversos community from their otherwise tolerant, even liberal, Christian neighbors who might start persecuting them for blasphemy, etc. The Dutch Jews were largely refugees only a few generations removed from the savage pogroms & forced conversions of the Holy Inquisition in Spain & Portugal and while considerably more tolerant of heterodoxy than other Abrahamists, during an era of recent religious & civil wars the Rabbis weren't willing to risk 23 year old Baruch's unimpeachable radical critiques of "revealed truth" getting out. The young man was impetuously secularist and the times definitely were not – even in the most politically & religiously tolerant region of mid-17th century Europe.

    Even though Judaism is more a religion of orthopraxy and less of orthodoxy than other Western confessional traditions, Spinoza wouldn't shut up and this troubled, or even scared, the wrong Rabbis and so that they did something quite rare, I understand, for the Sephardim: they excommunicated him. Some Spinoza scholars like Steven Nadler and, IIRC, Jonathan Israel suspect that Spinoza might have goaded the synagogue elders into declaring the cherem ... with no reasons ever given or publicized. Benny the Heretic wore a signet ring caute ("caution") the last decade or so of his brief life.
  • Wayfarer
    11.8k
    Your insights are appreciated. You’re one of the few sources that has made Spinoza come alive for me, when I studied the Ethics as an undergrad it seemed impenetrable.
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    :up: Glad to have been of service. It took me almost a decade, after dozens of starts, to read through the first section to the end. Thirty-one pages. And then a breeze from then on. Why bother? A genuine mystery, but one to which I've been endlessly grateful and rewarded for my studied persistence. Maybe I was too young (an undergrad too) when I'd started reading Spinoza on my own. Later on Stuart Hampshire, Edwin Curley & Gilles Deleuze midwifed some further understanding ...
  • Tom Storm
    714
    It took me almost a decade, after dozens of starts, to read through the first section to the end. Thirty-one pages.180 Proof

    Glad to hear this. I tried several times and gave up. My mum (from Amsterdam) was an admirer of Spinoza and I felt like I should give him a go. But she died and so did my interest. I am very poorly equiped for complex philosophical prose - partly temperament/partly an unassailable belief that none of it matters anyway. I enjoy George Elliot much more than any philosopher I've attempted. Although oddly I have a fondness for Richard Rorty...
  • schopenhauer1
    5.5k

    :up: very good job pointing out the nuances of the historical context of Spinoza as to what the Sephardic community were facing. He was probably deemed a nuisance internally to some rabbis, but the the very public excommunication was more likely a performance to please Christian Dutch onlookers, lest the whole community be deemed as harboring blasphemy..With the not so distant specter of Inquisition, they didn't want to "rock the boat" in their relatively tolerant new home.
  • Gnomon
    1.4k
    What do you think of Being as opposed to Schopenhauer's Will and of Whithead's process philosophy's "occasions of experience" and such?schopenhauer1
    I have no formal philosophical training, and I've never read any of Schopenhauer's works. But my guess is that his notion of "Cosmic Will" is more like my concept of creative "Intention", than of static "BEING" (the eternal Potential to Exist). Although, since our evolving world is a product of that generic power-to-be, BEING must also include the creative power-to-become. Which could be interpreted as Will-Power.

    In my personal thesis of Enformationism, the "energy" or "impetus", that propels our world to evolve from a Big Bang embryo to a maturing universe with conscious wilful organisms, is the Intention ("Will of God") of the hypothetical Creator/Designer/Programmer. For example, a computer programmer has a design intent (goal or quest) that is implemented in the program, and which "propels" the system toward that ultimate end-state : the output. Unfortunately, I can only speculate as to what that "Omega Point" might be.

    I've scanned Whitehead's Process and Reality. And, although it seems to be very similar to my own view of Reality as a process of becoming what the Creator intended, I'm not sure I understand all of his technical terminology. So, it would be best for me not to pontificate on the meaning of "occasions of experience". :cool:

    "Whitehead uses the term 'actual occasion' to refer only to purely temporal actual entities, those other than God".
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Process_and_Reality
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    You're probably aware that George Eliot's translation into English of the Ethics – she had completed it before she'd fiction and which had remained unpublished for over 150 years – is masterful.
  • Gnomon
    1.4k
    Since for Spinoza substance is infinite, or has no exterior, and eternal, or is not the effect of an external cause, and nothing ontologically transcends it, therefore substance is not "within" another substance. For this, and other reasons in Spinoza's oeuvre, "Panentheism" does not obtain. (Re: Ip5-p8, p13-p15)180 Proof
    I agree, that if the "substance" of our world was infinite & eternal, it would be God per se, as in Pantheism. However, since we have discovered, long since Spinoza's theory, that the physical universe is not eternal, as he supposed, and that its material "substance" is temporary (subject to Entropy), I conclude that our finite world is merely a small part of the Enfernal (eternal + infinite) realm of the hypothetical Creator. Since there was a creation event (Big Bang), we must conclude that the Mother "substance" (eternal essence; necessity) existed prior to the birth of our child "substance" (finite material ; contingent) .

    Therefore, I conclude that our space-time Reality could be merely one of many offspring of the Enfernal Ideality. Hence, PanEnDeism, a part within the whole. A scientific-materialistic alternative to this eternal vs temporal existence is the Multiverse Theory, in which our world is merely one of an infinite regression of bubble-like Mini-verses. But I don't waste time speculating on such "out of this world" possibilities. That's because we are quibbling about unproveable conjectures, not known facts. So, your guess is as good as mine. :cool:

    Ideality :
    In Plato’s theory of Forms, he argues that non-physical forms (or ideas) represent the most accurate or perfect reality. Those Forms are not physical things, but merely definitions or recipes of possible things. What we call Reality consists of a few actualized potentials drawn from a realm of infinite possibilities.
    1. Materialists deny the existence of such immaterial ideals, but recent developments in Quantum theory have forced them to accept the concept of “virtual” particles in a mathematical “field”, that are not real, but only potential, until their unreal state is collapsed into reality by a measurement or observation. To measure is to extract meaning into a mind. [Measure, from L. Mensura, to know; from mens-, mind]
    2. Some modern idealists find that scenario to be intriguingly similar to Plato’s notion that ideal Forms can be realized, i.e. meaning extracted, by knowing minds. For the purposes of this blog, “Ideality” refers to an infinite pool of potential (equivalent to a quantum field), of which physical Reality is a small part. A formal name for that fertile field is G*D.

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page11.html

    A Multiverse of bubble-verses
    multiverse-1.jpg
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    You're speculating through the prism of your own quixotic metaphysics on Spinozism whereas I'm interpreting based on Spinoza's texts, so no, my friend, your guess is not as good as mine. :sweat: I confess many other learned thinkers like you have misclassified him as a "panentheist" – Spinoza has been called a "pantheist", "atheist", "materialist", "idealist", "panpsychist" and what have you – as a result of superficial misreadings (i.e. projections). I stand by my own close textual analysis and previous post though.
  • Gnomon
    1.4k
    What do you think of Being as opposed to Schopenhauer's Will and of Whithead's process philosophy's "occasions of experience" and such?schopenhauer1
    As I said in my previous reply, I'm not really familiar with Schopenhauer's philosophy. But I just read an article that mentioned his concept of The Will. FWIW, here's what Peter Kassan, Artificial Intelligence journalist, says about Schop's Will, in the context of Free Will :
    "Perhaps more than any other classical philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer fetishized the will above all else, elevating it to a universal principle pervading the universe, thereby reducing it to to the equally empty idea of energy (not in the scientific sense, but the mystical)."

    I assume he might also denigrate my own notion of Enformy. But, Although it is in a sense "the Will of God", it's not intended to mean a magical or mystical force, but merely a positive version of the scientific term "Entropy". Something like this may have been Schopenhauer's intent, although he may not have been aware of the 20th century concept of Entropy. Enformy is not an obsession for me, but I think it is a more meaningful term than the current alternative : "Negentropy". :nerd:


    Enformy-- the power to enform :
    In the Enformationism theory, Enformy is a hypothetical, holistic, metaphysical, natural trend or force, that counteracts Entropy & Randomness to produce complexity & progress. [ see post 63 for graph ]
    1. I'm not aware of any "supernatural force" in the world. But my Enformationism theory postulates that there is a meta-physical force behind Time's Arrow and the positive progress of evolution. Just as Entropy is sometimes referred to as a "force" causing energy to dissipate (negative effect), Enformy is the antithesis, which causes energy to agglomerate (additive effect).
    2. Of course, neither of those phenomena is a physical Force, or a direct Cause, in the usual sense. But the term "force" is applied to such holistic causes as a metaphor drawn from our experience with physics.
    3. "Entropy" and "Enformy" are scientific/technical terms that are equivalent to the religious/moralistic terms "Evil" and "Good". So, while those forces are completely natural, the ultimate source of the power behind them may be super-natural (or meta-natural), in the sense that the "First Cause" (of all natural effects) logically existed before the Big Bang.

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page8.html

    Don Watson's Enformy : http://www.vxm.com/2.CompTheory.html
    Note : he does sometimes stray into Mystical territory, but otherwise, his notion of "Enformy" is similar to mine.

    PS__ Energy is indeed "empty" in the sense that scientists know what-it-does, but not what-it-is essentially. So, in my thesis, I try to fill-in the blanks with a comprehensive theory of what-everything-is, ultimately --- without adding to the mystery with spooky allusions.
  • Gnomon
    1.4k
    I stand by my own close textual analysis and previous post though.180 Proof
    OK. I bow to your authority on Spinoza's written beliefs. But, for the purpose of my own "quixotic metaphysics", I'll still consider him to be an honorary PanEnDeist (it's a small club), Yet, I doubt that he was familiar with that term, which seems to be of recent origin. The ancient notion of PanDeism --- now extended beyond the scope of our local, contingent world --- may be a development out of modern Big Bang physics, as applied to metaphysics. It portrays the logically necessary First Cause of our universe, as "Deist" (creating but non-intervening) + "Pan" -- substance of all the actual (knowable) world + "En" --- not limited to this finite world, but encompassing all possible worlds (if any). So, Spinoza would have to join the club retroactively, ex post facto. :joke:

    Pandendeism is a fairly recently coined term to describe a sort of ``open'' pandeism
    https://webhome.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Philosophy/god_theorem/god_theorem/node28.html
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