Collingwood’s Reading of Spinoza’s Psychology

Yüklə 58,65 Kb.
ölçüsü58,65 Kb.

Collingwood’s Reading of Spinoza’s Psychology


Near the end of his Ethics, Spinoza develops a theory that ‘[a]n affect which is a passion ceases to be a passion as soon as we form a clear and distinct idea of it.’ Recent commentators have found this theory to be radically implausible in light of some of Spinoza’s other philosophical commitments. I defend Spinoza from this charge of implausibility. Having done so, I examine R.G. Collingwood’s reading of the theory, presented in The Principles of Art. Collingwood’s reading proposes that passions, for Spinoza, are ideas of feelings that attempt to disown them – ideas that present one’s own feelings, wrongly, as not being one’s own. We form such ideas when, for some reason or other, we are psychologically resistant to accepting the reality of our affective condition. This, according to Collingwood, is what Spinoza means by calling passions ‘confused’ ideas of feelings. With the help of Collingwood’s reading, I propose, Spinoza’s theory can be made to appear very compelling and original, as well as plausible.


Collingwood, Spinoza, affects, passions, psychology


The third proposition of Book Five of the Ethics (henceforth V.P3) states that ‘[a]n affect which is a passion ceases to be a passion as soon as we form a clear and distinct idea of it.1 This provides the basis for the first of five ‘remedies for the affects’, which Spinoza lists at V.P20.S. Scholars have tended either to give it less attention than the other remedies or to conflate it with them.2 Moreover, recent commentators who have sought specifically to interpret V.P3 have reduced it to something that appears radically implausible, at least when interpreted in light of Spinoza’s other metaphysical and epistemological commitments.

I shall first show that it can be rendered consistent with these commitments. I shall then show that the theory itself is compelling. Part of my demonstration will involve advocating the reading of V.P3 presented by R.G. Collingwood in The Principles of Art. Collingwood’s reading has not been widely discussed. This might be because it is not generally believed that Spinoza’s text says the things Collingwood claims that it says. One of the few commentators to discuss Collingwood’s reading characterises it as being largely a misreading – an overenthusiastic attempt to ‘link his [Collingwood’s] own ideas…to Spinoza’s psychology and epistemology.’3 I propose that, on the contrary, Collingwood’s way of interpreting V.P3 amounts to an addition of detail faithful to the spirit of Spinoza’s own somewhat threadbare exposition of his theory.

This paper will be structured as follows. I first present what I take to be the current standard reading of Spinoza’s theory, one first developed by Jonathan Bennett. According to Bennett, V.P3 is radically implausible in the context of Spinoza’s epistemology and metaphysics. I then examine an attempt by Olli Koistinen to render it more plausible and a counterargument against Koistinen presented by Martin Lin. Next, I present what appears to be the simplest and soundest response to Lin. This response makes room for an interpretation of V.P3 that is made implicitly by Michael Della Rocca and Michael LeBuffe. Finally, I argue that Collingwood’s reading fills out the details of this implicit interpretation in a very convincing way. Collingwood, I conclude, helps us to appreciate the insight and power of Spinoza’s psychological theory.

The Standard Reading of V.P3

What I call the standard reading of V.P3 was first expressed in its most thorough form by Bennett. V.P3, again, states that ‘[a]n affect which is a passion ceases to be a passion as soon as we form a clear and distinct idea of it.’ Bennett comments on this as follows:

Here as always ‘clear and distinct’ means ‘adequate’, and that is crucial: an idea which is adequate in my mind is caused from within, and is therefore an action of mine, not a passion….4

Bennett must be correct that ‘clear and distinct’ means the same thing as ‘adequate’ here, since Spinoza uses the terms interchangeably in V.P4 and its demonstration. Where, however, does Bennett get the idea that an adequate idea is an idea ‘caused from within’ the mind? Spinoza does not say this in his definition of adequate ideas.5

To understand Bennett’s defining adequate ideas in this way, we must briefly examine Spinoza’s theory of mind. Spinoza believes that a person’s mind is God’s idea of that person’s body.6 This is a puzzling doctrine in many ways, but most of the puzzles surrounding it are not relevant here. The relevant puzzle is this: if my mind is simply God’s idea of my body, how does it come to contain the ideas of many other bodies – namely all the bodies I perceive around me? Spinoza’s answer is that my body is affected by other bodies in its environment, and when one body affects another the resulting affection involves the nature of both the affecting body and the affected body.7 Since my body is a complex formed of its own fundamental nature and its affections, my mind, as the idea of that body, will always be partly composed of ideas involving the nature of these other bodies.8

Spinoza must allow that our ideas of external bodies are often very inadequate in order to explain obvious cases of misperception, mistaken identity, and so on.9 At one point he explains this by saying that in certain cases ‘God has this or that idea, not only insofar as he constitutes the nature of the human mind, but insofar as he also has the idea of another thing together with the human mind.’ In such cases ‘we say that the human mind perceives the thing only partially, or inadequately.’10 Bennett assumes that the thing God has an idea of, along with the human mind, when the mind is said to perceive inadequately must be something outside the mind that has played a role in causing its perception.11 Thus Bennett concludes that, for Spinoza, ‘an idea of mine is inadequate if it is caused from outside my mind’,12 and so, contrarily, an idea is adequate if it is caused from within my mind.

To make it perfectly clear what it means for something to be outside or inside the mind, it will help to note that Spinoza’s belief was that, ultimately, the mind and the body are the same thing, considered under different attributes.13 The details of this very difficult doctrine are beyond the scope of this paper. The important point here is that on this view something outside the mind is, by definition, outside the body, and vice-versa. Thus inadequate ideas, partly caused by things outside the mind, are partly caused by things outside the body.

Spinoza defines passions as confused ideas of certain bodily affections.14 Given what we have said so far, this implies that some of the causes of passions are outside the mind, since confusion sounds like a kind of inadequacy, and ideas are inadequate when they are caused from outside the mind.15 This accords with the general sense of the word ‘passion’, which connotes something the mind undergoes rather than something it does. If the mind were the sole cause of some idea of a bodily affection, then the affect would appear to be its action rather than its passion.

But if this is all it means to say that passions are confused ideas of bodily affections, then V.P3 seems to propose something completely impossible, as Bennett shows.16 V.P3 states that we can stop an affect from being a passion by forming a clear and distinct idea of it. But the demonstration of V.P3 explains that the clear and distinct idea thus formed is not really distinct from the passion itself. Thus it seems like what Spinoza is saying is that we can convert a passion into a clear and distinct idea, turning it from an inadequate idea into an adequate one. Given the above analysis of inadequacy, however, turning an inadequate idea into an adequate idea would have to mean making it the case that its causes are all internal to the mind rather than being partly external to the mind. The only reason Spinoza gives for an idea’s being inadequate is that it is caused from outside the mind. But once a thing exists, it is too late to change what caused it. I cannot change an affect’s causal history any more (as Bennett puts the point) ‘than I can become royal by altering who my parents were.’17

Bennett proposes a possible way out of this difficulty. If an affect is regarded as being some kind of ongoing process then the mind might gradually take over the role of causing the affect from external things ‘as [the affect] continues – like altering the causes of a draught by gradually closing a window while uncovering a fan.’ But, Bennett goes on, ‘I cannot imagine what it would be like in this way to alter the causes of an ongoing emotional process.’

Some scholars have suggested that we can imagine what it would be like for the causes of an idea to gradually change over time in this way. Olli Koisteninen, for instance, provides the following example:

Suppose Jones believes a theorem of geometry on the basis that Smith whom Jones trusts much has told him that such a theorem is true. However, it happens that Jones learns geometry and simultaneously begins to doubt severely Smith's knowledge of geometry. Finally, Jones believes the theorem because he is able to infer it from self-evident axioms. Now, in deriving it from self-evident axioms Jones is deriving the theorem from ideas that are adequate in him. …. Thus, Jones’ passive idea has been transformed into an active one and the causes or reasons for that idea have changed from external to internal.18

In this example Smith – playing the part of the fan in Bennett’s analogy – gradually cedes his role as the cause of Jones’ idea, while Jones’ innate reasoning powers – the window – gradually take on the causal role vacated by Smith. There may be an analogous situation for affects, whereby their causes change from being outside the mind to being inside it.

But Martin Lin objects to this solution.19 The original problem posed by Bennett arose from his interpretation of Spinoza’s theory of inadequacy, holding that whether an idea is inadequate depends on its causal history. It is implausible to suppose we can change anything’s causal history, for this would involve changing the past. Lin points out that changing the causes currently sustaining a thing in existence will not do the trick: if a draft was originally caused by an open window, the window will always be part of its causal history, and if Jones’ idea was originally caused by Smith, Smith will always be part of that idea’s causal history. Thus the idea will always be inadequate according to Spinoza’s criteria as understood by Bennett.

One can attempt to refute Lin’s argument by claiming that Smith is not part of the causal history of the idea Jones possesses by the end of the story. Rather, we might say, at some point Jones’ own mental powers form the complete cause of his idea. But this would entail that the idea he possesses at the end of the story is not the same idea he had at the start. For in this case we are saying that the later-stage idea was brought into being by Jones’ own innate powers of geometrical reasoning, and it would then be obviously contradictory to claim that it is one and the same with the idea that existed in Jones’ mind before he even possessed those powers.

So far, then, V.P3 does not seem remotely plausible. If passions are, as Spinoza claims, confused ideas, and if, as he seems to imply, what makes an idea confused is its causal history, then turning a passion into an unconfused idea seems to require changing the past.

In the next section I aim to outline the most plausible line of response to Lin’s argument. I shall then aim to show that this makes space for a detailed reading of V.P3, one provided in its fullest form by Collingwood.

The Reply to Lin

Bennett and Lin’s argument against V.P3 would not work if all Spinoza had said was that an affect which is a passion can be replaced by an affect that is not a passion. All the trouble arises from the fact that he claims that passions can be turned into adequate ideas. Because adequacy seems to depend on causal history, this seems to amount to the claim that we can change the past.

But this depends upon taking very seriously Spinoza’s implied claim that a clear and distinct idea can be the same idea as a passion. The easiest way to avoid Lin’s objection to V.P3 would be as follows: First, admit that in the strictest sense the most I can hope for is to replace a passion with an adequate idea. Changing a passion into an adequate idea in the sense of changing its causal history is clearly impossible. But now note that there may be an acceptable sense in which I might say that an adequate idea and a passion are the same idea without saying they are one and the same mental item. Spinoza’s language is quite ambiguous when he claims that a clear and distinct idea of a passion and the passion itself are the same. What he claims is that the two ideas ‘are only distinguished by reason’, insofar as the affect is ‘related only to the mind’: ‘Si itaque ipsius affectus claram et distinctam formemus ideam, haec idea ab ipso affectu, quatenus ad solam mentem refertur, non nisi ratione distinguetur; ... adeoque ... affectus desinet esse passio.’ Here he refers back to II.P21 and its scholium, which discuss the ideas we form of our own ideas. Such ideas, Spinoza proposes, are not really distinct from the ideas that are their objects. Without entering into a discussion of this contentious topic, it seems unlikely that in saying this Spinoza means that the ideas in question are simply numerically identical. It would be strange to say that there is no difference at all between, for example, thinking about a dog and thinking about my thought about the dog.20

There is therefore a lot of room for interpretation concerning what Spinoza really means by saying that the clear and distinct ideas we form of our passions and the passions themselves are not really distinct. And this, I think, is enough to answer Lin’s objection. In V.P3 Spinoza might well be discussing the possibility of replacing a passion with an adequate idea. What he means by saying that the adequate idea is not really distinct from the passion need not mean that the two are properly identical mental items, to the point of sharing the same causal history, as Lin’s objection requires.

But then what would be involved in imagining that an active affect can replace a passion? Here is where Collingwood’s reading becomes useful. Before turning to it, it is worth looking more closely at the material Bennett glosses as the theory that an idea is adequate if and only if it is caused from within the mind. Della Rocca, who goes into much more detail in exploring what it means for an idea to be caused from within or outside the mind for Spinoza, presents a complex argument for the following conclusion:

The general view that, I think, Spinoza puts forward is this: When, for example, I perceive the sun, I am really confusing a state of my body with (a state of) the sun. I am thinking of both my body and the sun in such a way that I do not, and perhaps cannot, clearly distinguish them. Spinoza’s position is that any idea that is caused from outside my mind is confused in just this way.21

I do not mean here to defend Della Rocca’s conclusion, nor to examine his argument for it.22 I submit that what appears most compelling in it is its account of confusion.23

Moreover, this account of confusion works particularly well when applied to V.P3. LeBuffe explains what Spinoza means when he claims that an affect can be converted from a passion into an active affect in the following way:

Like color for Descartes, affects ... are often associated with external objects. Just as Descartes suggests that we can come to understand color and pain as nothing more than thought and sensation, Spinoza suggests that we can understand our affects better where we end that association and recognize them as features of ourselves.24

Combining Della Rocca’s and LeBuffe’s insights, we arrive at a view whereby passions, for Spinoza, are ideas of our bodily affections that confuse them with states of external things. To convert a passion into an active affect, then, what is required is that we form an idea that avoids this confusion by presenting our bodily affections simply as they are, without confusing them with states of external things.

If Della Rocca is right that only ideas caused from within can avoid confusion, the above conversion will turn an affect partly caused from without into one wholly caused from within. But this need not run us into Lin’s criticism. What justifies us in calling this a conversion rather than a replacement is the further stipulation that the new adequate idea is only said to be ‘the same’ as the passion in some sense weaker than numerical identity. Perhaps, for example, they are ‘the same’ in the sense of sharing the same representative content, namely a bodily affection. We often call two ideas ‘the same’ in this sense. We often say things like ‘I keep coming back to the same thought’, even when we what we are referring to ought in another context to be called a series of distinct mental items with similar content. One might complain that in the current case the representative content of the two ideas is not identical: one idea represents my bodily affection as just that – an affection of my body – while the other represents it as, at least partly, a state or group of states of some external thing or things. But since the thing represented is at its root the same in each case, one might still be entitled to claim that the two ideas are ‘the same’ according to their content, though they represent that content in two very different ways or under two very different descriptions (one correct and one incorrect).25

Disowning Feelings

It is in providing a plausible detailed version of the above account that Collingwood’s reading is useful. In what follows I will outline Collingwood’s basic account of V.P3, revealing how it tells a highly compelling story about both how the confusion involved in passions can arise and how it might be removed.

Collingwood reads Spinoza as proposing that adequate ideas of bodily affections are basic beliefs of the form: ‘this is how I feel’. He proposes that beliefs of this form cannot in themselves be false.26 At first sight, this seems implausible. Do we not sometimes, for instance, believe that we feel happy when in fact we feel sad? Here I think Collingwood would reply that such mistakes involve judgments beyond the mere judgment: ‘this is how I feel’. The subject of the first judgment is a pure indexical; one is, in effect, saying: ‘here is a feeling of some sort; whatever it is, is mine’. I might make false judgments about what kind of feeling it is. I might not be sure what it is. But, whatever it is, it is present to the mind, and it is mine. About that much, at least, I cannot be wrong – so Collingwood claims. For if it is present as a feeling I must be feeling it, and the only feelings I can feel are my own.27

Having established to his satisfaction that no belief of the form ‘this is how I feel’ can be wrong, Collingwood goes on to propose that the inverse does not hold. One can err by holding beliefs that consist of negations of propositions of the above form. As we have seen, ‘this is how I feel’ means only: (1) ‘here is a feeling’ and (2) ‘it is mine’. To negate such a proposition, one must deny either (1) or (2). If I denied (1) I would be saying something like: ‘there is no feeling here’. But, plausibly enough, Collingwood does not believe it to be possible to fully deny the presence of one’s feelings, or that if one did this successfully it would amount to genuinely eliminating the feeling. Thus it turns out that the only possible kind of error concerning one’s feelings is one that falsely denies (2), that is, a judgment of the form: ‘here is a feeling and it is not mine.’28 These claims are not uncontroversial, but they seem very plausible, and it seems likely that Spinoza would have agreed with them.

The kind of disowning of a feeling that occurs in the case Collingwood describes he calls ‘the ‘corruption’ of consciousness; ‘because consciousness permits itself to be bribed or corrupted in the discharge of its function’.29 The proper function of consciousness, Collingwood asserts, is to form correct ideas about our feelings.30 Consciousness is corrupted in this function if, in forming such ideas, it fails to claim ownership of its own feelings.

‘So far from being a bare possibility,’ says Collingwood, the corruption of consciousness ‘is an extremely common fact.’31 He goes on to claim that in order to disown our feelings we must attribute them to other things. This is because, again, one cannot fail to be aware of the presence of one’s own feelings. The only way to explain this presence, without acknowledging the feelings as one’s own, is to suppose them to belong to something or somebody else.32 Collingwood gives the following example: ‘Coming down to breakfast out of temper, but refusing to allow that the ill humour so evident in the atmosphere is our own, we are distressed to find the whole family suffering agonies of crossness.’33

This theory of the corruption of consciousness gives us a compelling picture of what it might look like to be confused about one’s feelings in the sense of confusion ascribed to Spinoza by both Della Rocca and LeBuffe. Both of them, we saw, suppose that Spinoza imagines confused ideas to involve a false ascription of properties of one’s own body to other things. Indeed, Spinoza gives various examples of kinds of errors in which this false ascription is made.34 Collingwood’s example gives a compelling picture of how this might happen with regard to passions, and his account of what he calls the corruption of consciousness shows how prevalent and destructive this phenomenon can be. This, to my mind, goes a very long way towards explaining why Spinoza’s philosophy was so fixated on the question of the passions. Collingwood may be slightly overstating the case when he declares that the fight against the corruption of consciousness, inaugurated by Spinoza and continued in modern cognitive psychotherapy, ‘is an enterprise that has already won a great place in the history of man’s warfare with the powers of darkness.’35 But something of this kind is certainly true, and I am not sure that Collingwood does overstate it.

Collingwood’s account gives a straightforward and familiar explanation of what passions are for Spinoza. Certainly they are ideas of affections that mistake them for states of other things, as Della Rocca and LeBuffe recognise. More specifically, they usually mistake our affections for affections of other people; this is what Collingwood means in saying they disown our feelings. And Collingwood gives something of an explanation of why we should, at some perhaps unconscious level, desire sometimes to disown our feelings upon recognizing them rather than accepting them as our own:

It is as if we should bring a wild animal indoors, hoping to domesticate it, and then, when it bites, lose our nerve and let go. ... First, we direct our attention towards a certain feeling, or become conscious of it. Then we take fright at what we have recognized: not because the feeling, as an impression, is an alarming impression, but because the idea into which we are converting it proves an alarming idea. We cannot see our way to dominate it, and shrink from persevering in the attempt.36

One remaining question is how the corruption of consciousness can be fought. Spinoza’s answer seems to provide the strategy rather than the tactics: passions must be replaced by ideas that are not confused. But of course the question is precisely how one ought to go about forming the non-confused ideas. According to Collingwood, this is the function of art – art, including literature, reconnects us with our feelings, causing us to acknowledge them as our own and therefore to cease mistaking them for other people’s feelings, or states of external things in general. Others might propose that psychological therapy provides the necessary conditions for acknowledging one’s feelings as one’s own. Perhaps it is different for different people. Spinoza for his part says relatively little about precisely how one is to form adequate ideas of one’s affects.

At any rate, Collingwood’s reading of V.P3 as linking into a story about the corruption of consciousness and the disownership of feelings brings a great deal of richness and originality out of Spinoza’s psychological theory. Other early modern thinkers, seeking to explain the apparent connection between strong feelings and confusion in the mind, propounded the vaguely Platonic37 view that strong feelings confuse the process of thought, and that clarity is purchased by the muting or avoidance of such feelings. Spinoza propounded the alternative view, to my mind much more interesting and accurate, that our primary source of confusion is that we fail to acknowledge our feelings as our own.38


Bennett, Jonathan. A Study of Spinoza's Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

———. “Spinoza and Teleology: A Reply to Curley.” In Spinoza: Issues and Directions, 53-57. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990.

Collingwood, R. G. The Principles of Art. London: Oxford University Press, 1958.

Curley, Edwin. Behind the Geometrical Method: A Reading of Spinoza's Ethics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988.

———. “On Bennett's Spinoza: The Issue of Teleology.” In Spinoza: Issues and Directions, 39-52. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990.

Della Rocca, Michael. Representation and the Mind-Body Problem in Spinoza. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Garrett, Don. “Representation and Consciousness in Spinoza's Naturalistic Theory of the Imagination.” In Interpreting Spinoza: Critical Essays, edited by Charlie Huenemann, 4-25. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

———. “Teleology in Spinoza and Early Modern Rationalism.” In New essays on the rationalists, edited by Rocco J. Gennaro and Charles Huenemann, xvii, 391 p. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Hampshire, Stuart. “Spinoza and the Idea of Freedom.” In Spinoza: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Marjorie Grene, 297-317. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1973.

Koistinen, Olli I. Bennett on Spinoza's Metaphysical Psychotherapy 1999 [cited 2010]. Available from

LeBuffe, Michael. From Bondage to Freedom: Spinoza on Human Excellence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Lin, Martin. “Teleology and Human Action in Spinoza.” The Philosophical Review 115, no. 3 (2006).

———. “The Power of Reason in Spinoza.” In The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza's Ethics, edited by Olli I. Koistinen, 258-283. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Morrison, James C. “Why Spinoza Had No Aesthetics.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 47, no. 4 (1989): 359-365.

Nadler, Steven. “Spinoza and Consciousness.” Mind 117, no. 467 (2008): 575-601.

Plato. Phaedo. Edited by C.J. Rowe, Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Spinoza, Benedict de. Ethics. Translated by Edwin Curley, The Collected Works of Spinoza. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

Wilson, Margaret Dauler. “Objects, Ideas, and 'Minds': Comments on Spinoza's Theory of Mind.” In The Philosophy of Baruch Spinoza, edited by Richard Kennington, 103-120. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1980.

———. “Objects, Ideas, and "Minds": Comments on Spinoza's Theory of Mind.” In Ideas and Mechanism: Essays on Early Modern Philosophy, 126-140. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

1 Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, trans. Edwin Curley, The Collected Works of Spinoza (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985) V.P3. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to this text.

2 Critics of earlier drafts of this paper have tended to assume that it is intended as a discussion of Spinoza’s psychology in general, or of his remedies for the affects taken as a whole. It is meant only as a discussion of the remedy proposed at V.P3. One reason this point is hard to get across, however, is that recent scholarship tends to discuss the remedies for the affects by blurring them all together. (It seems to me that this is what happens in Edwin Curley, Behind the Geometrical Method: A Reading of Spinoza's Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988) Part 3, Stuart Hampshire, “Spinoza and the Idea of Freedom,” in Spinoza: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Marjorie Grene (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1973). Neither of these works cites V.P3 directly.) I have, therefore, limited myself to discussing interpretations that specifically address V.P3.

3 James C. Morrison, “Why Spinoza Had No Aesthetics,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 47, no. 4 (1989): 362.

4 Jonathan Bennett, A Study of Spinoza's Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984) §77.71. For an argument that all ideas of things partly caused outside the mind must be inadequate, see Michael Della Rocca, Representation and the Mind-Body Problem in Spinoza (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) 57-64.

5 He says there only that an adequate idea is one that ‘has all the properties or intrinsic marks of a true idea.’ II.Def.4. At III.Def.3 he claims that an affect is only a passion when we cannot be an adequate cause of the affection, but this concerns something other than the causation of the idea, namely the causation of the bodily affection of which the affect is an idea.

6 II.P11. In fact, God has an idea of each existing body, meaning that each body is said in this sense to have a mind. (II.P13.S)

7 II.P13.S A1’

8 II.P16.D

9 Discussion of Spinoza’s theory of representation, including its shortcomings, can be found in: Bennett, Study §51-53, Jonathan Bennett, “Spinoza and Teleology: A Reply to Curley,” in Spinoza: Issues and Directions (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990), Edwin Curley, “On Bennett's Spinoza: The Issue of Teleology,” in Spinoza: Issues and Directions (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990), Della Rocca, Representation, Don Garrett, “Representation and Consciousness in Spinoza's Naturalistic Theory of the Imagination,” in Interpreting Spinoza: Critical Essays, ed. Charlie Huenemann (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), Don Garrett, “Teleology in Spinoza and Early Modern Rationalism,” in New essays on the rationalists, ed. Rocco J. Gennaro and Charles Huenemann (Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), Michael LeBuffe, From Bondage to Freedom: Spinoza on Human Excellence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) ch.3, Martin Lin, “Teleology and Human Action in Spinoza,” The Philosophical Review 115, no. 3 (2006).

10 II.P11.C

11 Della Rocca gives a compelling argument for this reading: Della Rocca, Representation 53-56.

12 Bennett, Study 177. Strictly speaking, Bennett claims that Spinoza says something at II.P11.C that is literally incompatible with this gloss, but that the gloss reflects what he revises his doctrine to at II.P24.D. Della Rocca, however, argues strongly that what Bennett reads out of II.P24.D can in fact be derived from II.P11.C. (Della Rocca, Representation 53-56.)

13 II.P7.S

14 IV.Gen. Def. of Aff., II/203

15 Della Rocca argues that ‘all confused ideas are inadequate and all inadequate ideas are confused’, according to Spinoza, at Della Rocca, Representation 57-58.

16 Bennett, Study §77.71.

17 Bennett, Study §77.71.

18 Olli I. Koistinen, Bennett on Spinoza's Metaphysical Psychotherapy (1999 [cited 2010]); available from

19 Martin Lin, “The Power of Reason in Spinoza,” in The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza's Ethics, ed. Olli I. Koistinen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 271.

20 Some discussion of this part of Spinoza’s theory of ideas can be found in Bennett, Study §44.

21 Della Rocca, Representation 63.

22 One problem is that it depends on Della Rocca’s interpretation of Spinoza’s theory of representation. Some criticism of this interpretation, and a comparison with an alternative account, can be found in LeBuffe, Bondage to Freedom ch.3. LeBuffe’s comments are not so much criticisms as attempts to reconcile Della Rocca’s account with that of Margaret Dauler Wilson (Margaret Dauler Wilson, “Objects, Ideas, and "Minds": Comments on Spinoza's Theory of Mind,” in Ideas and Mechanism: Essays on Early Modern Philosophy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999).).

23 Della Rocca points out that a weakness of Bennett’s reading is that it leaves him unable to explain the notion of confusion in Spinoza’s account (Della Rocca, Representation 64.).

24 LeBuffe, Bondage to Freedom 95.

25 The same answer could be given to an argument based on Wilson’s reading of Spinoza’s theory of representation. (Wilson, “Objects, Ideas.”) Wilson proposes that, according to Spinoza, ideas simply represent whatever causes them. One could then argue that a passion and an adequate idea, since they have different causes, cannot have the same content. But as long as they have some cause in common – a bodily affection, for example – they can be thought to share some representative content, and thus might, in the weak sense under discussion, be legitimately called the ‘same’ idea.

26 R. G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art (London: Oxford University Press, 1958) 216.

27 When I claim to ‘feel your pain’, on this view, I must be either believing you to be in pain and empathising, or feeling a pain of my own very similar to yours and somehow associated with it. (Or I am being dishonest.)

28 Collingwood, Principles 216.

29 Collingwood, Principles 217.

30 Collingwood, Principles 215. Spinoza, although he sometimes refers to consciousness, never gives his own definition or theory of it. This has been pointed out by Della Rocca: Della Rocca, Representation 9. Della Rocca draws his argument from Margaret Dauler Wilson, “Objects, Ideas, and 'Minds': Comments on Spinoza's Theory of Mind,” in The Philosophy of Baruch Spinoza, ed. Richard Kennington (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1980), 113-119. But Don Garrett has recently attempted to develop a theory of consciousness on Spinoza’s behalf: Garrett, “Representation,” 23 and passim. See also LeBuffe, Bondage to Freedom chs.6-7, Steven Nadler, “Spinoza and Consciousness,” Mind 117, no. 467 (2008).

31 Collingwood, Principles 217.

32 One may not, however, make up one’s mind about what or whom to ascribe it to. I am told that sufferers from certain neurological conditions causing them to deny ownership of certain parts of their body are prone to both acknowledge the existence of the pains that occur in these disowned parts and then to ascribe them to other people or, bizarrely, to report that they do not know who the owner of the pain is, but that it is not at any rate not themselves.

33 Collingwood, Principles 218.

34 I.App, II/82

35 Collingwood, Principles 221.

36 Collingwood, Principles 217.

37 Outlined for example towards the beginning of the Phaedo: Plato, Phaedo, ed. C.J. Rowe, Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) 66c-d.

38 This paper was partly written while the author held a Jacobsen Fellowship at the Institute of Philosophy and King’s College London.

Dostları ilə paylaş:

Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur © 2017
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə