Spinoza, Ethics, Part 3

Note on 13 from this we understand clearly what love

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Unformatted text preview: s utmost to recollect things that exclude their existence. So long as a mind imagines Ÿanything of this kind, the power both of it and of the ·corresponding· body is lessened or hindered (as I demonstrated in 12); but the mind will continue to imagine this thing until it imagines something else that excludes the thing’s present existence (by II17); which means that the power of both mind and body is lessened or hindered until the mind imagines something else that excludes the existence of Ÿthis thing. So (by 9) the mind will try its utmost to imagine or recollect that other thing. Corollary: A mind avoids imagining things that lessen or hinder its power or that of the ·corresponding· body. Note on 13: From this we understand clearly what love and hate are. Love is just pleasure with the accompanying idea of an external cause, and hate is just unpleasure with the 63 accompanying idea of an external cause. We see, then, that someone who loves will be bound to try to be in the presence of and to preserve the thing he loves; and on the other hand someone who hates will try to remove and destroy the thing he hates. All this will be discussed more fully later. 14: If a mind has once had two affects at once, then afterwards when it has one of them it will also have the other. If a human body has once been affected by two bodies at once, then afterwards when the ·corresponding· mind imagines one of them, it will immediately recollect the other also (by II18 ). But the imaginings of the mind indicate the affects of our body more than they do the nature of external bodies (by the second corollary to II 16). Therefore, if the body - and consequently the mind (see D3) - has once had two affects at once, then afterwards when the mind has one of them it will also have the other. 15: Anything can be the accidental cause of pleasure, unpleasure, or desire. [Spinoza’s demonstration of this depends on 14. His point is that anything at all may be involved in an affect x which happens to accompany a different affect y of pleasure, unpleasure, or desire. Even if for you x is in itself neutral, neither up nor down, neither increasing nor lessening your power, it may through this association come to be connected in your mind with pleasure, unpleasure, or desire.] Corollary: We can come to love or hate something because it has been associated for us with pleasure or unpleasure, even if ·we know that· the thing wasn’t the efficient cause of our pleasure or unpleasure. [Spinoza offers a demonstration of this. Its relation to what has gone before is pretty obvious.] Note on 15: From this we understand how it can happen that we love or hate some things without any cause known to us, but only (as they say) from sympathy or antipathy. A related phenomenon: some objects give us pleasure or unpleasure only because they somewhat resemble objects that usually give us these affects, as I shall show in 16. . . . 16: We love or hate a thing x that we imagine to be like an object y that usually affects the mind with pleasure or unpleasure, loving or hating it just because of that resemblance, even if the respect in which x resembles y has no part in y’s causing those affects. [The demonstration of this is brief but hard to follow. It relies in a fairly obvious way on 14 and 15.] 17: If we imagine that a thing that usually gives us an affect of unpleasure is like something else that usually gives us an equally great affect of pleasure, we shall hate the former thing and at the same time love it. [Spinoza’s demonstration of this amounts to something fairly obvious: the hate is guaranteed by the note on 13, and the love by 16. ] Note on 17: This constitution of the mind that arises from two contrary affects is called ‘vacillation of mind’; it is strictly comparable with the vacillation with respect to the 64 imagination that I spoke of in the note on II44. ·I didn’t say back there, but do say now, that the latter kind of vacillation can also be called ‘doubt’, for· it and doubt differ from one another only in degree. Notice that in 17 I have explained how these ·affect·-vacillations of mind can arise from causes that are the direct cause of one affect and the accidental cause of the other. I did this so that they could more easily be understood in terms of what had gone before, not because I deny that such vacillations mostly arise from an object that is the efficient ·and direct· cause of each affect. For a human body (by the first postulate just before II14) is composed of a great many individuals of different natures, and so (by A'' after II13) it can be affected in many different ways by one and the same body. And on the other hand, because one and the same thing can be in many different states, it will also be able to bring about many different affects in one and the same part of the body. From this we can easily conceive that one and the same object can be the cause of many and contrary affects. 18: A man gets the same affect of ple...
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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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