The Class About Benedict Spinoza 's Ethics

803 Words4 Pages
Riley Fichter
COMM 101, Sec. 33
October 7th, 2014
My goal is to inform the class about Benedict Spinoza’s Ethics: Part One.
My central idea is how Spinoza’s idea of God brings a new perspective on existence to those who take the time to listen.
Spinoza’s Ethics and You
I. Introduction
A. What is the truth behind the universe?
B. Many people have asked themselves this question over the course of history.
C. Today, however, I am going to focus in on one individual and explore his work around this subject: Benedict de Spinoza.
D. Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of the 17th century, and was considered a rationalist, or someone who mainly uses reason in their pursuit of knowledge and understanding, and, especially in Spinoza’s case, applied
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2. As a result, substances are also self-caused, as no two substances can exist at the same time, nor can a substance create another substance.
• When something is created by something else, the original object’s knowledge would depend and be determined by its creator, and would thus be unable to be a substance, as it is now dependent.
3. Substances are characterized by their attributes, or what one’s intellect perceives as a way of defining that substance’s essence
• Attributes are not outright accurate ways of defining a substance, but instead act as way to conceptualize a substance in many different ways.
4. Now that we can conceptualize a substance, we can now attempt to understand Spinoza’s idea that there is only one substance. (TRANSITION)

B. Spinoza argues that there can only be one substance.
1. We do not generally perceive substances, but we instead perceive modes.
• Modes are things that depend upon something else for its existence, in this case a substance.
• All things that exist within the universe are modes.
• This means that you and I are modes of one substance, reflecting some of its infinite attributes.
2. The reason why we cannot perceive the one substance is because that one substance has and infinite number of attributes, which express an infinite essence, and thus becomes the encompassing “everything.” (air quotes)
3. The “everything” we perceive are the modes of the one substance, and thus shows how there
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