Ethics 2 HTML version
Ethics - Elwes Part 2
Benedict de Spinoza, THE ETHICS (Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata)
Translated by R. H. M. Elwes
Part II: ON THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF THE MIND
PREFACE I now pass on to explaining the results, which must necessarily follow from
the essence of God, or of the eternal and infinite being; not, indeed, all of them (for we
proved in Part i., Prop. xvi., that an infinite number must follow in an infinite number of
ways), but only those which are able to lead us, as it were by the hand, to the knowledge of
the human mind and its highest blessedness.
DEFINITIONS I. By 'body' I mean a mode which expresses in a certain determinate
manner the essence of God, in so far as he is considered as an extended thing. (See Pt. i.,
Prop. xxv. Cor.)
II. I consider as belonging to the essence of a thing that, which being given, the thing is
necessarily given also, and, which being removed, the thing is necessarily removed also; in
other words, that without which the thing, and which itself without the thing, can neither be
nor be conceived.
III. By 'idea,' I mean the mental conception which is formed by the mind as a thinking
>>>>>Explanation – I say 'conception' rather than perception, because the word
perception seems to imply that the mind is passive in respect to the object; whereas
conception seems to express an activity of the mind.
IV. By 'an adequate idea,' I mean an idea which, in so far as it is considered in itself,
without relation to the object, has all the properties or intrinsic marks of a true idea.
>>>>>Explanation – I say 'intrinsic,' in order to exclude that mark which is extrinsic,
namely, the agreement between the idea and its object (ideatum).
V. 'Duration' is the indefinite continuance of existing.
>>>>>Explanation – I say 'indefinite,' because it cannot be determined through the
existence itself of the existing thing, or by its efficient cause, which necessarily gives the
existence of the thing, but does not take it away.
VI. 'Reality' and 'perfection' I use as synonymous terms.