Philosophy

What does it mean for the design debate if Spinoza outsells Heidegger?

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Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677)

What does it mean for the design debate if Spinoza outsells Heidegger?

In Prospect (25 May 2011), Rebecca Goldstein advises us to “Sell Descartes, buy Spinoza,” because “Investors, take note: this Dutch rationalist is a hot stock.”She starts out taking a swipe at glitterate airheads,

Thinking of buying shares in a great philosopher? The first question you need to ask is whether you’re interested in long or short-term investment. If you are looking long-term, then prepare yourself for serious scholarship. Alternatively, short-term investment could merely involve comparing the battle over women’s hemlines on catwalks in Milan and New York to Wittgenstein’s language-games. Investors must also keep in mind a philosopher’s obscurity, as this allows room for interpretation. Counter-intuitive shock appeal is also a plus.

But then, because she really is tired of post-modernism’s “whatever”, she gets serious:

Today, we value any early modern who sides against Descartes’ dualism between mind and body. Spinoza not only rejected such dualism, but also denied the dualism between cognition and emotion. In Looking for Spinoza, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio expresses his amazement that Spinoza reasoned his way to the integration between thinking and feeling, which Damasio has now verified in his laboratory. There’s nothing like the imprimatur of science to increase a philosopher’s price-to-earnings ratio.

and

This introduces yet another reason to consider shares in Spinoza: the heightened public interest in the raucous debates between science and religion. Spinoza’s identification of God with nature, though as subtle as that Lord whom Einstein once invoked, makes an invaluable contribution to this issue—precisely because it’s subtle. As does his attempt to establish morality on the purely secular grounds of the scientific study of human nature.

Any other tips? The rising value of Spinozas indicates that postmodernism, which plays fast and loose with rationality, might be heading for a bear market. I’d advise short-selling Heideggers.

Some doubt that Spinoza, interpreted in this way, would be much use against post-modernism, which is at war with reality, whatever that is. Thoughts?

6 Replies to “What does it mean for the design debate if Spinoza outsells Heidegger?

  1. 1
    nullasalus says:

    While Spinoza is often presented as something of a materialist atheist, I’d like to throw these quotes and references out, provided by the Dormitive Virtue blog:

    God is not the physical universe materialistically conceived: “The supposition of some, that I endeavour to prove in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus the unity of God and Nature (meaning by the latter a certain mass or corporeal matter), is wholly erroneous.” (Letter XXI to Oldenburg)

    God a thinking thing: “Thought is an attribute of God, or God is a thinking thing.” (Ethics, Part II, Prop. 1)

    Spinoza also refers frequently to the Divine intellect throughout the Ethics, e.g.: “Hence it follows, that the human mind is part of the infinite intellect of God.” (Ethics, Part II, Prop. 11, Cor.) “We can have no sound reason for persuading ourselves to believe that God did not wish to create all the things which were in His intellect, and to create them in the same perfection as He had understood them.” (Ethics, Part I, Prop. 33, Schol. 2)

    God is omniscient: “In God there necessarily exists the idea of His essence, and of all the things that necessarily follow from His essence.” (Ethics, Part II, Prop. 3)

    God is the first cause: “It follows, thirdly, that God is the absolutely first cause.” (Ethics, Part I, Prop. 16, Cor. III)

    God is immutable: “It follows, 2. That God is immutable, or (what is the same thing) all His attributes are immutable.” (Ethics, Part I, Prop. 20, Cor. 2)

    God loves Himself: “God loves Himself with an infinite intellectual love.” (Ethics, Part V, Prop. 35)

    God loves men: “Hence it follows that God, insofar as He loves Himself, loves men, and consequently that the love of God towards men and the intellectual love of the mind towards God are one and the same thing.” (Ethics, Part V, Prop. 36, Cor.) On intellectual love, see Ethics, Part V, Prop. 33, Schol.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    If Goldstein is banking her ‘long-term investment’ on,,,

    ‘Today, we value any early modern who sides against Descartes’ dualism between mind and body. Spinoza not only rejected such dualism, but also denied the dualism between cognition and emotion.’

    ,,, Perhaps Goldstein would do well to take a closer look at ‘the science’ of mind-body dualism, since her ‘long-term investment’ which she is writing off in rejecting the mind part, of mind-body dualism, is actually her eternal soul. It would seem prudent to me that investing in the eternal soul would be, by far, the wisest long term investment one could possibly make.

    notes:

    Quantum mind–body problem
    Parallels between quantum mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....dy_problem

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

    Here is the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries:

    Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.
    http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_.....io/wb1.htm

    i.e. In the experiment the ‘world’ (i.e. the universe) does not have a ‘privileged center’. Yet strangely, the conscious observer does exhibit a ‘privileged center’. This is since the ‘matrix’, which determines which vector will be used to describe the particle in the experiment, is ‘observer-centric’ in its origination! Thus explaining Wigner’s dramatic statement, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”

    The ‘Fourth Dimension’ Of Living Systems
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1Gs_qvlM8-7bFwl9rZUB9vS6SZgLH17eOZdT4UbPoy0Y

    ================

    The unification, into a ‘theory of everything’, between what is in essence the ‘infinite Theistic world of Quantum Mechanics’ and the ‘finite Materialistic world of the space-time of General Relativity’ seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man. Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers insight into this ‘unification’ of the infinite and the finite:

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31
    William Dembski PhD. Mathematics
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”

    Moreover there actually is physical evidence that lends strong support to the position that the ‘Zero/Infinity conflict’, we find between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, was successfully dealt with by Christ:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    =========================

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The Extremely ‘Monitored’ Near Death Experience of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffery Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This ‘anomaly’ is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)
    http://findarticles.com/p/arti....._65076875/

  3. 3
    tragic mishap says:

    Whatever.

  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    How can a Jew philosopher help in anything to do with a Christian civilization and thought, or rejection of that thought?
    The writer invokes morality and religion without noting the religion.
    The writer was Jewish too. HMMM.
    Anyways I don’t care about these people as the societys they lived in did not become the best ones.
    The best became the Anglo-American civilization and surely its reason to go with the winners and their foundations.
    No philosophers but instead people who produce results that can’t be denied as positive results.
    Our foundations were a MORE biblically based protestant society that touched uniquely on motivations and actions in all aspects of life.
    Go with those who win and things that work.

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    How can a Jewish philosopher help in anything to do with a Christian civilization and thought, or rejection of that thought?
    The writer invokes morality and religion without noting the religion.
    The writer was Jewish too. HMMM.
    Anyways I don’t care about these people as the societys they lived in did not become the best ones.
    The best became the Anglo-American civilization and surely its reason to go with the winners and their foundations.
    No philosophers but instead people who produce results that can’t be denied as positive results.
    Our foundations were a MORE biblically based protestant society that touched uniquely on motivations and actions in all aspects of life.
    Go with those who win and things that work.

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    i had to submit twice because I had to correct Jew into Jewish. No offensive meant just poor editing.

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