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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Baruch Spinoza and the philosophy of God


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was a Dutch philosopher best known for his philosophy of God and pantheism. Albert Einstein said,


"I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind." (Interview with Herbert Goldstein, 1929)


Philosophers Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari said,


"Spinoza is the Christ of philosophers, and the greatest philosophers are hardly more than apostles who distance themselves from or draw near to this mystery." (What is Philosophy? 1991)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Spinoza.




"For I hold that God is of all things the cause immanent, as the phrase is, not transient. I say that all things are in God and move in God, thus agreeing with Paul, and, perhaps, with all the ancient philosophers, though the phraseology may be different..." (Letter to Henry Oldenburg, 1675)


"God is the Immanent Cause of all things, never truly transcendent from them." (Ethics, 1677)


"Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner." (Ethics, 1677)


"By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite - that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentially." (Ethics, 1677)


"Things could not have been brought into being by God in any manner or in any order different from that which has in fact obtained." (Ethics, 1677)




"Beauty, my dear Sir, is not so much a quality of the object beheld, as an effect in him who beholds it... The most beautiful hand seen through the microscope will appear horrible. Some things are beautiful at a distance, but ugly near; thus things regarded in themselves, and in relation to God, are neither ugly nor beautiful." (Letter to Hugo Boxel, 1674)


"The more reality or being a thing has, the greater number of its attributes." (Ethics, 1677)




"A definition, if it is to be called perfect, must explain the inmost essence of a thing, and must take care not to substitute for this any of its properties." (On the Improvement of the Understanding, 1662)


"My purpose is to explain, not the meaning of words, but the nature of things." (Ethics, 1677)