'An Activity Whereby the Mind Regards Itself': Spinoza on Consciousness

Michaela Petrufová Joppová

Abstract


Baruch Spinoza’s philosophy of mind stirs up the disputes about the nature of body-mind relations with its rigorous and naturalistic monism. The unity of body and mind is consequential of his metaphysics of the substance, but the concept of the unity of the mind and its idea rightfully confuses Spinoza’s commentators. Many have been tempted to interpret this as a possible account of consciousness, but it still has not yet been fully understood. This paper attempts to introduce an interpretation of the concept of ideas of ideas with regards to consciousness based on strict ontological monism, conceptual dualism, and self-similarity architecture, which concludes in distinguishing mental and psychic reality. While we might attribute mental reality, or mentality, to every extended thing, psychic reality is constituted by conscious ideas. And it seems to follow from Spinoza’s theory that the more ‘psychic’ the mind is, the more it knows God.


Keywords


Baruch Spinoza; body-mind problem; consciousness; philosophy of mind; psychic reality

https://doi.org/10.5817/pf18-2-1849

Full Text:

PDF

References

Show references Hide references

Atmanspacher, H. (2017): Quantum approaches to brain and mind: an overview with representative examples, in Schneider, S. – Velmans, M. (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness, 2nd Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 298‒313.

Bennett, J. (1984): A Study of Spinoza’s Ethics. Hackett Publishing.

Dalton, P. (2002): Mirroring Spinoza’s mind, in Koistinen, O. – Biro, J. (eds.) Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes, Oxford University Press, 112‒126.

Damasio, A. (2003): Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain. William Heinemann.

De Dijn, H. (1996): Spinoza: The Way to Wisdom. Purdue University Press.

Deleuze, G. (1988): Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. City Lights Books.

DeWeerdt, S. E. (2002): The World’s Toughest Bacterium: Deinococcus radiodurans may be a tool for cleaning up toxic waste and more, Genome News Network [online], 2002-07-05 [accessed 2018-03-15], available at:

˂http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/ 07_02/deinococcus.shtml>.

Garrett, D. (2008): Representation and consciousness in Spinoza’s naturalistic theory of the imagination, in Huenemann, Ch. (ed.) Interpreting Spinoza: Critical Essays, Cambridge University Press, 4‒25.

Hӧfer, B. (2007): Rethinking legacies: Descartes, Spinoza, and contemporary articulations of the conscious mind, Seventeenth-Century French Studies, 29(1), 51‒61.

Jobani, Y. (2016): The Role of Contradictions in Spinoza’s Philosophy: The God-intoxicated Heretic. Routledge.

Jung, C. G. – Pauli, W. (1955): The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche. Pantheon Books.

LeBuffe, M. (2010): Theories about consciousness in Spinoza’s Ethics, Philosophical Review 119(4), 531‒563.

Marrama, O. (2017): Consciousness, ideas of ideas and animation in Spinoza’s Ethics, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25(3), 506‒525.

Martin, Ch. (2007): Consciousness in Spinoza’s philosophy of mind, The Southern Journal of Philosophy 45(2), 269‒287.

Miller, J. (2007): The status of consciousness in Spinoza’s concept of mind, in S. Heinämaa – V. Lähteenmäki – P. Remes (eds.) Consciousness: From Perception to Reflection in the History of Philosophy, Springer, 203‒220.

Nadler, S. (2008): Spinoza and consciousness, Mind 117(467), 575‒601.

Ravven, H. M. (2003): Did Spinoza get Ethics right? Some insights from recent neuroscience, in Cook, T. J. – Rice, L. (eds.) Studia Spinozana, Vol. 14 (1998): Spinoza on Mind and Body, Kӧnigshausen & Neumann, 56‒91.

Spinoza, B. (1914): Ethica ordine geometrico demonstrata. Martinus Nijhoff.

Spinoza, B. (2002): Ethics, in Spinoza, B. Complete Works, Hackett Publishing, 213‒382.

Tippelt, H. (2010): Vztah ideje a afektu u Spinozy: inkrementálně-holistická interpretace. Filozofická fakulta Univerzity J. E. Purkyně v Ústí nad Labem.

Tippelt, H. (2015): Výklad afektů: k filosofickým otázkám psychologické práce s nevědomím. Filozofická fakulta Univerzity J. E. Purkyně v Ústí nad Labem.





Published by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
ISSN: 1212-9097