What Is Mind-Body Parallelism in Baruch Spinoza?

What Is Mind-Body Parallelism in Baruch Spinoza?

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

Spinoza put forward a view called parallelism to solve the mind-body relationship problem. According to him, spirit and matter are not separate substances, but the attributes of a single substance, that is, the basic qualities that make up the essence of the substance.

This unique substance is also God or Nature: Nature has one order, and spirit and matter are included in this one order. But the human species represents only one modular in number. We can think of this modus as a space mode or as a mind mode. They are just appearances of the same thing. This approach is also called the double aspect theory; like two sides of a coin. Thus, each body corresponds to an idea, a concept. According to Spinoza, the mind is the concept of the body and the formations in the body must have a concept, an idea in the mind. That is, when a physical formation emerges in the body, a corresponding mental formation will emerge in the mind.

The relationship between mind and body takes place in the form of these parallel formations. In this case, we can describe a person, in a way, through his mental ideas, and in a way, as a body being, through the characteristics he has in that respect. In this case, the structure in which the mind and body operate is one and the same structure. So mind and body are identical in this sense; in a sense they are one substance, and that substance is God. Here humanity appears as the finite version of God because he is a modular of God’s attributes of thought and extension. Did the human mode come into existence because the attributes of spirit (mind) and matter, which came out of necessity from God, intersected somewhere while flowing in their own direction? Or did the finite human mode first come into being, embodying both, before these two attributes left the source and went their separate ways? Human presence seems to break the coherence of the Spinoza system.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook