Arguments Against Spinoza Monism

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Scrutinizing the most fundamental blocks of Spinoza’s monism In this paper, I will outline Spinoza’s first five propositions which are essential for the legitimacy of his later arguments for monism. Then I will scrutinize his definitions of the most fundamental building blocks of his argument (substance, attributes, and modes) and various axioms he offers in order to further inspect these propositions and hence evaluate their validity. First, it is crucial to define these most fundamental building blocks according to Spinoza. Substance is the most basic entity of being, and he defines it as ‘that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; that is, that the conception of which does not require the conception of another thing from which it has to be formed’ (E1D3). To clarify, ‘in itself’ means that the substance can exist independently of anything else. ‘Conceived through itself’ means that the substance does not depend of anything to be conceive of. Attribute for Spinoza is ‘that which the intellect perceives of substance as constituting its essence’ (E1D4), meaning anything through which a substance can be understood by the mind. As for mode, he means ‘the affections of substance, that is, that which is in something else and is conceived through something else’…show more content…
It seems to challenge Spinoza’s definition of substance. I can understand that God exists (the effect), but not understand why (the cause). So in a sense, the axiom doesn’t apply to Spinoza’s definition of substance, which is conceived through itself and is its own cause. Put differently, Spinoza is suggesting that substance is the because, which is a circular argument. Also, in contrast to P3, if substances are conceived through themselves anyway, why would causation be a pre-requisite to their
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