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By Jonathan Bennett

"With an surprising erudition . . . and in a right away no-nonsense sort, Bennett expounds, compares, and criticizes Spinoza’s theses. . . . nobody can fail to benefit from it. Bennett has succeeded in making Spinoza a thinker of our time." --W. N. A. Klever, Studia Spinoza

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Extra info for A Study of Spinoza's Ethics

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On the contrary, in Letter 9 Spinoza himself speaks of 'attributing' attributes to a substance. It is true that in that letter he also seems clearly to imply that a substance and an attribute are 'one and the same thing'. All in all, the textual situation on this matter is difficult, forcing us to take some passages more literally than others: the disagreement concerns which to give most literal weight to. §17. No shared attribute 1. 1p5 says that there could not be two substances sharing an attribute, which will help in demonstrating that there could not be two substances at all (1 p 14) .

That necessarily God exists. It is widely agreed now that the existence of a concrete object-something other than an inhabitant of the third realm-never follows from a definition or from a description of a concept. In particular, you cannot infer § 18 Spinoza's monism: the official argument the existence of something from the premiss that existence belongs to its essence or its definition. , you exist in every possible world where you exist! The moral is that if we allow existence as a property at all then it belongs to the essence of everything.

According to Leibniz, the spatial world is not ultimately real; there is an underlying nonspatial reality which appears to us in a spatial guise. Leibniz thought this was an exciting and enriching philosophical move. He says that by getting straight about the 'real unities' which underlie aggregates one is transported into a new world-the world not of appearances but of fundamental reality. 7 I think the move w~s a disaster. It contrasts poorly with Spinoza's pursuit of a metaphysic that will make unapologetic sense of the given world.

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