Spinoza, Ethics, Part 3

I have shown in the note on ii17 that this can be so

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Unformatted text preview: mply from the definition of these affects that there is no hope without fear, and no fear without hope (as I shall explain more fully in due course). Moreover, in hoping for or fearing something we love it or hate it; so what I have said about love and hate can easily be applied to hope and fear. 77 51: Different men can be affected differently by one object; and one man can be affected differently at different times by one object. A human body (by IIP3 ·on page 35·) is affected in a great many ways by external bodies. Therefore, two men can be differently affected at the same time, and so (by II A1'' ·on page 33·) they can be affected differently by a single object. Next (by IIP3 again) a human body can be affected now in this way, now in another. Consequently (by IIA1'' again) it can be affected differently at different times by one and the same object. Note on 51: This shows us that it can happen that one man loves what another hates, one fears what another does not, and one now loves what he used to hate and now dares what he used to be too timid for. Next point: because each person judges on the basis of his own affect what is good and what bad, what is better and what worse (see the note on 39), it follows that men can vary as much in judgment as they do in affect. (I have shown in the note on II17 that this can be so even though human minds are parts of the divine intellect.) So it comes about that when we compare people with another, we distinguish them only by the differences in their affects; we call some ‘fearless’, others ‘timid’, and others by other names again. For example, I shall describe as ‘fearless’ someone who disdains an evil that I usually fear. If his fearlessness shows in his wish to harm someone he hates or benefit someone he loves, I shall describe him as ‘daring’. Someone will seem timid to me if he is afraid of an evil that I disdain. If his timidity shows in his wish to harm those he hates and benefit to those he loves, I shall call him ‘cowardly’. This is how everyone judges. [Following Curley, ‘disdain’ is used here and below to render Spinoza’s contemptus. The meaning is weaker than our meaning for ‘contempt’; disdaining something, in the sense used here, usually means something like treating it as negligible - for example, plunging ahead with some project and disdaining the risks.] Finally, because this is what men are like Ÿbecause of the inconstancy of their judgment, Ÿbecause they often judge things purely on the basis of an affect, Ÿbecause many of the things they think will make for pleasure or unpleasure (and which they therefore try to promote or prevent (by 28)) are only imaginary, and Ÿbecause of various other things that I proved in Part II about the uncertainty of things - we can easily understand that a man can often be the cause of both his own unpleasure and his own pleasure, that is, that he has both pleasure and unpleasure accompanied by the idea of himself as their cause. So we easily understand what repentance and selfsatisfaction are: Repentance is unpleasure accompanied by the idea of oneself as cause, and self-satisfaction is pleasure accompanied by the idea of oneself as cause. Because men believe themselves free, these affects are very violent (see 49). 78 52: If we imagine an object to have something special about it, we shall attend to it for longer than we would to an object that we had previously seen as one in a crowd, or one that we imagine has no properties that aren’t common to many things. As soon as we imagine an object that we have seen along with others, we shall immediately recollect the others as well (by II18 and the note on it), and so from considering the one object we immediately pass to considering the others. Similarly with an object that we imagine to have no properties that aren’t common to many things: when we imagine that we assume that we have nothing to consider in it except ·properties· what we have previously seen in other objects. But in supposing that we imagine in an object something special to it that we have never seen before, we are only saying that when the mind considers that object it is not led thereby to consider something else (such as its recollections of previous encounters with related objects·). And so it is caused to consider only that one object. From this 52 follows. Note on 52: This state of the mind - this imagining of a special thing - is called ‘wonder’ when it occurs alone. When aroused by something that we fear, it is called ‘consternation’, ·a kind of confusion·, because wonder at a ·threatened· evil keeps a man so paralysed ·by fear· that he can’t think of things he could do to avoid that evil. But if what we wonder at is someone’s prudence, diligence, or the like, because we see him as far surpassing ourselves in this respect, then our wonder is called ‘veneration’. And if what we wonder at is the man’s anger, envy, or the like, our wonder is called ‘horror’. If we wonder at the prudence, diligence, etc. of someone whom we love, our wonder will (by 12) increase our love; a...
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This note was uploaded on 03/12/2013 for the course PHIL 105 taught by Professor Mendetta during the Spring '13 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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