Baruch Spinoza and her MetaphysicsJune 26, 2021
It is a known fact that Spinoza’s philosophical works have special difficulties in terms of being understood and evaluated.
The concepts he uses, the definitions and explanations he brings to them seem to be questioned or evaluated again in many different ways. This arises not only in the issue of Spinoza being considered ‘God-drunk on the one hand and anti-religion and god-hater on the other, but also creates a particular problem in understanding his entire philosophical system. Although he uses the familiar terms of philosophy, the layers of meaning that Spinoza provides to these terms and the way he relates the terms to each other while constructing his own metaphysics have made it difficult to understand his system, and it has also led to its interpretation in many different ways.
His main work, Etika, has interesting features. First of all, it can be said that Spinoza’s philosophical work is trying to give a scientific position here. The fact that rationalist philosophers were influenced by mathematics or modeled it is valid for Spinoza, but Spinoza adopts geometry rather than mathematics and uses the geometric method in his works. The subtitle of Ethics is exemplary in this respect: Morality proven according to the geometric method. Its commentators agree that the heavy nature of the work stems from this. The geometric method shapes both the formal structure and the content of Etika.
Substance, quality, appearance and causality, which are the basic concepts of ethics, can be given as examples. What kind of an ontology Spinozist metaphysics has, what it means when it says God or Nature, how the place of man in nature is handled, how the relationship between freedom and necessity is evaluated includes important dimensions and problems; In this respect, Spinoza’s influence has been understood late and has been a philosopher that is constantly reevaluated from the moment it was understood.
God or Nature
“The word nature can be substituted for god everywhere in Spinoza’s writings. In this regard, he himself clearly guides. By subtracting everything personal, will, and even consciousness from the concept of God, Spinoza brings these two notions closer together. ” Aliya İzzetbegovic D. B. A. ISLAM Page 266
It is the first point that should be noted that Spinoza reached the extremes of a pantheist thought and reached a monistic god-nature thought. However, it must be said that the concept of God has a central place in Spinoza’s philosophical system. God is both the starting point and the end point of this philosophical system: “Everything that exists exists in God, and without God nothing can exist nor be comprehended”.
What is still unclear, however, is what Spinoza’s God is like for his philosophy. God in the sense of a cause-in-itself, cause-in-itself (causa sui), and the term in particular used in this excerpt is a subject of constant debate in the endless commentary on Spinoza. The concept of God of Spinozist philosophy, which is linked to both a scientific thought and a religious thought, seems to be the key to both ontological proof and epistemological structure. Because the ontological data put forward for the existence of God seems to move from the approach that tends to prove the existence of a reality based on the comprehension of that reality.
At the same time, it can be said that Spinoza leans towards a monistic system; It is the specificity of this monistic attitude that makes him appear both an atheist and a pantheist. In his famous thesis, Spinoza says: “God or Nature” (Deus sive Natura).
When the first quotation and this argument are compared, Spinoza’s incomprehensible theses become clear. With this formulation, Spinoza tries to ensure that, on the one hand, the physical world is essentially theological, and on the other hand, theology is impersonal. Here, Spinoza relies on some implicit and explicit assumptions, we can even say that a kind of hidden assumption is the basis of the system. This hidden assumption, which will be talked about a lot later, is the coincidence of reality and understanding, and that the relations in the world of thought correspond to the ones in reality.
The concept of causality also has a special importance in developing these approaches. The theoretical basis of Spinoza’s hidden hypothesis is, in a sense, this idea of causality, but Spinoza’s idea of causality is an unacceptable approach to causality for the philosophy of empiricism. Here, Spinoza follows a path in accordance with the rationalist orientation and connects causality to our mind, that is, to our own understanding of the world, by severing causality from the world. For, according to him, if the starting points or premises that enable reason cannot provide a guarantee for reality, nothing else can. Thus, self-evident reality appears as a reality provided by the transition from thought to reality. Accordingly, we understand that the physical world is as thought represents it, and we understand from the very thought itself that Spinoza uses the notion of cognition with special interest in his arguments and brings a definition to the world through it.