Expressionism In Baruch Spinoza

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This paper argues that the notion of Substance propounded by Baruch Spinoza can be studied and put forward to a panentheistic, expressive structure of Trinities, in which each triad of concepts is unified into a single idiosyncratic divine nature of God. By dissecting the expressionism in Spinoza’s writings, which is at variance with the philosophy of his predecessors (Descartes, Aquinas and Scotus), one can map out his thinking in analytic and synthetic logic to understand his revolutionary rationalist ontology in Ethics that impacted Europe in the seventeenth century. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. A solemn prayer always begins and ends with this invariably enthralling phrase which, incontrovertibly, reverberates…show more content…
To put it simply, a proprium is the name of an attribute, the modality of an essence; it expresses nothing and does not constitute the nature of Substance. Descartes states that the nature of God consists in infinite perfection, this propium embraces God as summum bonum, as compassionate, just and charitable. For Spinoza, this is like the speculative Scriptural teaching of Aquinas, for which God’s characteristics are borrowed from creatures in order to attribute them to God to portray his eminence. This subtle anthropomorphism is just as dangerous as the naïveté of superstition. Influenced by Scotus’ formal distinctions of God in which different quiddities belong to the same subject, Spinoza transforms the propria from Descartes and Scotus to the concept of attributes. Attributes have irreducible formal reasons and expresses an infinite essence. They can be distinguished formally and they together constitute Substance in a purely qualitative sense. The Trinity of attribute-essence-substance, which is formally distinct, ontologically identical, in a nutshell, reflects that Spinoza does not reject the general definition of substance; on the contrary, he insists upon its rigid application: substance expresses itself, attributes are its expressions and through…show more content…
Running counter to Descartes’ theory, Spinoza now has to transform the proprium of infinite perfection to the real definition of absolute infinity to attest to God’s necessary existence, that is, God contains no contradiction as such. In Meditations, Descartes proves God’s existence a posteriori, the first and second formulations run: The idea I have of a more perfect being than my own must necessarily be instilled in me by a being who is indeed more perfect. Cognito ergo sum. God’s existence is patently evident from the simple fact that I exist and have the idea of a supremely perfect being. Descartes’ determination of God’s infinite perfection is of certain validity as existence, being a perfection, should belong to his nature. But as lambasted by Leibniz, psychological clarity and distinctness cannot prove that there is no contradiction in ens perfectissimum, the conjectural essence of God reduces the definition of perfection to purely nominal, or what Spinoza puts it: an inadequate idea. Spinoza goes on with an a priori proof, it runs: There is only one Substance, it is unlimited and all forms of being in it must be infinitely perfect and there is no inequality in the attributes, no form is superior to any other. If the absolutely infinite being does not exist, the reason of its nonexistence must be internal. But all form of attributes are
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