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The Ethics [Part II]

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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 thing.

>>>>>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.

VII. By 'particular things,' I mean things which are finite and
have a conditioned existence; but if several individual things
concur in one action, so as to be all simultaneously the effect
of one cause, I consider them all, so far, as one particular
thing.

AXIOMS I. The essence of man does not involve necessary
existence, that is, it may, in the order of nature, come to pass
that this or that man does or does not exist.

II. Man thinks.

III. Modes of thinking, such as love, desire, or any other of
the passions, do not take place, unless there be in the same
individual an idea of the thing loved, desired, &c. But the idea
can exist without the presence of any other mode of thinking.

IV. We perceive that a certain body is affected in many ways.

V. We feel and perceive no particular things, save bodies and
modes of thought.

N.B. The Postulates are given after the conclusion of Prop.
xiii.

PROPOSITIONS I. Thought is an attribute of God, or God is a
thinking thing.

>>>>>Proof--Particular thoughts, or this and that thought, are
modes which, in a certain conditioned manner, express the nature
of God (Pt. i., Prop. xxv., Cor.). God therefore possesses the
attribute (Pt. i., Def. v.) of which the concept is involved in
all particular thoughts, which latter are conceived thereby.
Thought, therefore, is one of the infinite attributes of God,
which express God's eternal and infinite essence (Pt. i., Def.
vi.). In other words, God is a thinking thing. Q.E.D.

*****Note--This proposition is also evident from the fact, that
we are able to conceive an infinite thinking being. For, in
proportion as a thinking being is conceived as thinking more
thoughts, so is it conceived as containing more reality or
perfection. Therefore a being, which can think an infinite
number of things in an infinite number of ways, is,
necessarily, in respect of thinking, infinite. As, therefore,
from the consideration of thought alone, we conceive an infinite
being, thought is necessarily (Pt. i., Deff. iv. and vi.) one of
the infinite attributes of God, as we were desirous of showing.

II. Extension is an attribute of God, or God is an extended
thing.

>>>>>Proof--The proof of this proposition is similar to that of
the last.

III. In God there is necessarily the idea not only of his
essence, but also of all things which necessarily follow from
his essence.

>>>>>Proof--God (by the first Prop. of this Part) can think an
infinite number of things in infinite ways, or (what is the same
thing, by Prop. xvi., Part i.) can form the idea of his essence,
and of all things which necessarily follow therefrom. Now all
that is in the power of God necessarily is (Pt. i., Prop.
xxxv.). Therefore, such an idea as we are considering
necessarily is, and in God alone. Q.E.D. (Part i., Prop. xv.)

*****Note--The multitude understand by the power of God the free
will of God, and the right over all things that exist, which
latter are accordingly generally considered as contingent. For
it is said that God has the power to destroy all things, and to
reduce them to nothing. Further, the power of God is very often
likened to the power of kings. But this doctrine we have
refuted (Pt. i., Prop. xxxii., Cors. i. and ii.), and we have
shown (Part i., Prop. xvi.) that God acts by the same necessity,
as that by which he understands himself; in other words, as it
follows from the necessity of the divine nature (as all admit),
that God understands himself, so also does it follow by the same
necessity, that God performs infinite acts in infinite ways. We
further showed (Part i., Prop. xxxiv.), that God's power is
identical with God's essence in action; therefore it is as
impossible for us to conceive God as not acting, as to conceive
him as non-existent. If we might pursue the subject further, I
could point out, that the power which is commonly attributed to
God is not only human (as showing that God is conceived by the
multitude as a man, or in the likeness of a man), but involves a
negation of power. However, I am unwilling to go over the same
ground so often. I would only beg the reader again and again, to
turn over frequently in his mind what I have said in Part i.
from Prop. xvi. to the end. No one will be able to follow my
meaning, unless he is scrupulously careful not to confound the
power of God with the human power and right of kings.

IV. The idea of God, from which an infinite number of things
follow in infinite ways, can only be one.

>>>>>Proof--Infinite intellect comprehends nothing save the
attributes of God and his modifications (Part i., Prop. xxx.).
Now God is one (Part i., Prop. xiv., Cor.). Therefore the idea
of God, wherefrom an infinite number of things follow in infinite
ways, can only be one. Q.E.D.

V. The actual being of ideas owns God as its cause, only in so
far as he is considered as a thinking thing, not in so far as he
is unfolded in any other attribute; that is, the ideas both of
the attributes of God and of particular things do not own as
their efficient cause their objects (ideata) or the things
perceived, but God himself in so far as he is a thinking thing.

>>>>>Proof--This proposition is evident from Prop. iii. of this
Part. We there drew the conclusion, that God can form the idea
of his essence, and of all things which follow necessarily
therefrom, solely because he is a thinking thing, and not because
he is the object of his own idea. Wherefore the actual being of
ideas owns for cause God, in so far as he is a thinking thing.
It may be differently proved as follows: the actual being of
ideas is (obviously) a mode of thought, that is (Part i., Prop.
xxv., Cor.) a mode which expresses in a certain manner the
nature of God, in so far as he is a thinking thing, and therefore
(Part i., Prop. x.) involves the conception of no other attribute
of God, and consequently (by Part i., Ax. iv.) is not the effect
of any attribute save thought. Therefore the actual being of
ideas owns God as its cause, in so far as he is considered as a
thinking thing, &c. Q.E.D.

VI. The modes of any given attribute are caused by God, in so
far as he is considered through the attribute of which they are
modes, and not in so far as he is considered through any other
attribute.

>>>>>Proof--Each attribute is conceived through itself, without
any other part (Part i., Prop. x.); wherefore the modes of each
attribute involve the conception of that attribute, but not of
any other. Thus (Part i., Ax. iv.) they are caused by God, only
in so far as he is considered through the attribute whose modes
they are, and not in so far as he is considered through any
other. Q.E.D.

<<<<modes of thought, does not follow from the divine nature,
because that nature has prior knowledge of the things. Things
represented in ideas follow, and are derived from their
particular attribute, in the same manner, and with the same
necessity as ideas follow (according to what we have shown) from
the attribute of thought.

VII. The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order
and connection of things.

>>>>>Proof--This proposition is evident from Part i., Ax. iv.
For the idea of everything that is caused depends on a
knowledge of the cause, whereof it is an effect.

<<<<realized power of action-- that is, whatsoever follows from the
infinite nature of God in the world of extension (formaliter),
follows without exception in the same order and connection from
the idea of God in the world of thought (objective).

*****Note--Before going any further, I wish to recall to mind
what has been pointed out above--namely, that whatsoever can be
perceived by the infinite intellect as constituting the essence
of substance, belongs altogether only to one substance:
consequently, substance thinking and substance extended are one
and the same substance, comprehended now through one attribute,
now through the other. So, also, a mode of extension and the
idea of that mode are one and the same thing, though expressed
in two ways. This truth seems to have been dimly recognized by
those Jews who maintained that God, God's intellect, and the
things understood by God are identical. For instance, a circle
existing in nature, and the idea of a circle existing, which is
also in God, are one and the same thing displayed through
different attributes. Thus, whether we conceive nature under the
attribute of extension, or under the attribute of thought, or
under any other attribute, we shall find the same order, or one
and the same chain of causes--that is, the same things following
in either case.

I said that God is the cause of an idea--for instance, of the
idea of a circle,--in so far as he is a thinking thing; and of a
circle, in so far as he is an extended thing, simply because the
actual being of the idea of a circle can only be perceived as a
proximate cause through another mode of thinking, and that again
through another, and so on to infinity; so that, so long as we
consider things as modes of thinking, we must explain the order
of the whole of nature, or the whole chain of causes, through
the attribute of thought only. And, in so far as we consider
things as modes of extension, we must explain the order of the
whole of nature through the attributes of extension only; and so
on, in the case of the other attributes. Wherefore of things as
they are in themselves God is really the cause, inasmuch as he
consists of infinite attributes. I cannot for the present
explain my meaning more clearly.

VIII. The ideas of particular things, or of modes, that do not
exist, must be comprehended in the infinite idea of God, in the
same way as the formal essences of particular things or modes
are contained in the attributes of God.

>>>>>Proof--This proposition is evident from the last; it is
understood more clearly from the preceding note.

<<<<exist, except in so far as they are comprehended in the
attributes of God, their representations in thought or ideas do
not exist, except in so far as the infinite idea of God exists;
and when the particular things are said to exist, not only in so
far as they are involved in the attributes of God, but also in so
far as they are said to continue, their ideas will also involve
existence, through which they are said to continue.

*****Note--If anyone desires an example to throw more light on
this question, I shall, I fear, not be able to give him any,
which adequately explains the thing of which I here speak,
inasmuch as it is unique; however, I will endeavour to
illustrate it as far as possible. The nature of a circle is
such that if any number of straight lines intersect within it,
the rectangles formed by their segments will be equal to one
another; thus, infinite equal rectangles are contained in a
circle. Yet none of these rectangles can be said to exist,
except in so far as the circle exists; nor can the idea of any of
these rectangles be said to exist, except in so far as they are
comprehended in the idea of the circle. Let us grant that,
from this infinite number of rectangles, two only exist. The
ideas of these two not only exist, in so far as they are
contained in the idea of the circle, but also as they involve the
existence of those rectangles; wherefore they are distinguished
from the remaining ideas of the remaining rectangles.

IX. The idea of an individual thing actually existing is caused
by God, not in so far as he is infinite, but in so far as he is
considered as affected by another idea of a thing actually
existing, of which he is the cause, in so far as he is affected
by a third idea, and so on to infinity.

>>>>>Proof--The idea of an individual thing actually existing is
an individual mode of thinking, and is distinct from other modes
(by the Cor. and Note to Prop. viii. of this part); thus (by
Prop. vi. of this part) it is caused by God, in so far only as he
is a thinking thing. But not (by Prop. xxviii. of Part i.) in
so far as he is a thing thinking absolutely, only in so far as
he is considered as affected by another mode of thinking; and he
is the cause of this latter, as being affected by a third, and
so on to infinity. Now, the order and connection of ideas is
(by Prop. vii. of this book) the same as the order and connection
of causes. Therefore of a given individual idea another
individual idea, or God, in so far as he is considered as
modified by that idea, is the cause; and of this second idea God
is the cause, in so far as he is affected by another idea, and
so on to infinity. Q.E.D.

<<<<of any idea, the knowledge thereof is in God, in so far only as
he has the idea of the object.

>>>>>Proof--Whatsoever takes place in the object of any idea, its
idea is in God (by Prop. iii. of this part), not in so far as he
is infinite, but in so far as he is considered as affected by
another idea of an individual thing (by the last Prop.); but (by
Prop. vii. of this part) the order and connection of ideas is
the same as the order and connection of things. The knowledge,
therefore, of that which takes place in any individual object
will be in God, in so far only as he has the idea of that
object. Q.E.D.

X. The being of substance does not appertain to the essence of
man--in other words, substance does not constitute the actual
being (forma) of man.

>>>>>Proof--The being of substance involves necessary existence
(Part i., Prop. vii.). If, therefore, the being of substance
appertains to the essence of man, substance being granted, man
would necessarily be granted also (II. Def. ii.), and,
consequently, man would necessarily exist, which is absurd (II.
Ax. i.). Therefore &c. Q.E.D.

*****Note--This proposition may also be proved from I.v., in
which it is shown that there cannot be two substances of the
same nature; for as there may be many men, the being of
substance is not that which constitutes the actual being of man.
Again, the proposition is evident from the other properties of
substance--namely, that substance is in its nature infinite,
immutable, indivisible, &c., as anyone may see for himself.

<<<<constituted by certain modifications of the attributes of God.
For (by the last Prop.) the being of substance does not belong
to the essence of man. That essence therefore (by I. xv.) is
something which is in God, and which without God can neither be
nor be conceived, whether it be a modification (I. xxv. Cor.),
or a mode which expresses God's nature in a certain conditioned
manner.

*****Note--Everyone must surely admit, that nothing can be or be
conceived without God. All men agree that God is the one and
only cause of all things, both of their essence and of their
existence; that is, God is not only the cause of things in
respect to their being made (secundum fieri), but also in
respect to their being (secundum esse).

At the same time many assert, that that, without which a thing
cannot be nor be conceived, belongs to the essence of that
thing; wherefore they believe that either the nature of God
appertains to the essence of created things, or else that created
things can be or be conceived without God; or else, as is more
probably the case, they hold inconsistent doctrines. I think
the cause for such confusion is mainly, that they do not keep to
the proper order of philosophic thinking. The nature of God,
which should be reflected on first, inasmuch as it is prior both
in the order of knowledge and the order of nature, they have
taken to be last in the order of knowledge, and have put into the
first place what they call the objects of sensation; hence,
while they are considering natural phenomena, they give no
attention at all to the divine nature, and, when afterwards they
apply their mind to the study of the divine nature, they are
quite unable to bear in mind the first hypotheses, with which
they have overlaid the knowledge of natural phenomena, inasmuch
as such hypotheses are no help towards understanding the divine
nature. So that it is hardly to be wondered at, that these
persons contradict themselves freely.

However, I pass over this point. My intention her was only to
give a reason for not saying, that that, without which a thing
cannot be or be conceived, belongs to the essence of that thing:
individual things cannot be or be conceived without God, yet God
does not appertain to their essence. I said that "I considered
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; or that without which the
thing, and which itself without the thing can neither be nor be
conceived." (II. Def. ii.)

XI. The first element, which constitutes the actual being of the
human mind, is the idea of some particular thing actually
existing.

>>>>>Proof--The essence of man (by the Cor. of the last Prop.) is
constituted by certain modes of the attributes of God, namely
(by II. Ax. ii.), by the modes of thinking, of all which (by II.
Ax. iii.) the idea is prior in nature, and, when the idea is
given, the other modes (namely, those of which the idea is prior
in nature) must be in the same individual (by the same Axiom).
Therefore an idea is the first element constituting the human
mind. But not the idea of a non-existent thing, for then (II.
viii. Cor.) the idea itself cannot be said to exist; it must
therefore be the idea of something actually existing. But not of
an infinite thing. For an infinite thing (I. xxi., xxii.), must
always necessarily exist; this would (by II. Ax. i.) involve an
absurdity. Therefore the first element, which constitutes the
actual being of the human mind, is the idea of something actually
existing. Q.E.D.

<<<<the infinite intellect of God; thus when we say, that the human
mind perceives this or that, we make the assertion, that God has
this or that idea, not in so far as he is infinite, but in so far
as he is displayed through the nature of the human mind, or in
so far as he constitutes the essence of the human mind; and when
we say that God has this or that idea, not only in so far as he
constitutes the essence of the human mind, but also in so far as
he, simultaneously with the human mind, has the further idea of
another thing, we assert that the human mind perceives a thing
in part or inadequately.

*****Note--Here, I doubt not, readers will come to a stand, and
will call to mind many things which will cause them to hesitate;
I therefore beg them to accompany me slowly, step by step, and
not to pronounce on my statements, till they have read to the
end.

XII. Whatsoever comes to pass in the object of the idea, which
constitutes the human mind, must be perceived by the human mind,
or there will necessarily be an idea in the human mind of the
said occurrence. That is, if the object of the idea constituting
the human mind be a body, nothing can take place in that body
without being perceived by the mind.

>>>>>Proof--Whatsoever comes to pass in the object of any idea,
the knowledge thereof is necessarily in God (II. ix. Cor.), in
so far as he is considered as affected by the idea of the said
object, that is (II. xi.), in so far as he constitutes the mind
of anything. Therefore, whatsoever takes place in the object
constituting the idea of the human mind, the knowledge thereof
is necessarily in God, in so far as he constitutes the essence of
the human mind; that is (by II. xi. Cor.) the knowledge of the
said thing will necessarily be in the mind, in other words the
mind perceives it.

*****Note--This proposition is also evident, and is more clearly
to be understood from II. vii., which see.

XIII. The object of the idea constituting the human mind is the
body, in other words a certain mode of extension which actually
exists, and nothing else.

>>>>>Proof--If indeed the body were not the object of the human
mind, the ideas of the modifications of the body would not be in
God (II. ix. Cor.) in virtue of his constituting our mind, but
in virtue of his constituting the mind of something else; that is
(II. xi. Cor.) the ideas of the modifications of the body would
not be in our mind: now (by II. Ax. iv.) we do possess the idea
of the modifications of the body. Therefore the object of the
idea constituting the human mind is the body, and the body as it
actually exists (II. xi.). Further, if there were any other
object of the idea constituting the mind besides body, then, as
nothing can exist from which some effect does not follow (I.
xxxvi.) there would necessarily have to be in our mind an idea,
which would be the effect of that other object (II. xi.); but
(I. Ax. v.) there is no such idea. Wherefore the object of our
mind is the body as it exists, and nothing else. Q.E.D.

*****Note--We thus comprehend, not only that the human mind is
united to the body, but also the nature of the union between
mind and body. However, no one will be able to grasp this
adequately or distinctly, unless he first has adequate knowledge
of the nature of our body. The propositions we have advanced
hitherto have been entirely general, applying not more to men
than to other individual things, all of which, though in
different degrees, are animated (animata). For of everything
there is necessarily an idea in God, of which God is the cause,
in the same way as there is an idea of the human body; thus
whatever we have asserted of the idea of the human body must
necessarily also be asserted of the idea of everything else.
Still, on the other hand, we cannot deny that ideas, like
objects, differ one from the other, one being more excellent than
another and containing more reality, just as the object of one
idea is more excellent than the object of another idea, and
contains more reality.

Wherefore, in order to determine, wherein the human mind differs
from other things, and wherein it surpasses them, it is
necessary for us to know the nature of its object, that is, of
the human body. What this nature is, I am not able here to
explain, nor is it necessary for the proof of what I advance,
that I should do so. I will only say generally, that in
proportion as any given body is more fitted than others for doing
many actions or receiving many impressions at once, so also is
the mind, of which it is the object, more fitted than others for
forming many simultaneous perceptions; and the more the actions
of the body depend on itself alone, and the fewer other bodies
concur with it in action, the more fitted is the mind of which
it is the object for distinct comprehension. We may thus
recognize the superiority of one mind over others, and may
further see the cause, why we have only a very confused
knowledge of our body, and also many kindred questions, which I
will, in the following propositions, deduce from what has been
advanced. Wherefore I have thought it worth while to explain
and prove more strictly my present statements. In order to do
so, I must premise a few propositions concerning the nature of
bodies.

---Axiom I. All bodies are either in motion or at rest.

---Axiom II. Every body is moved sometimes more slowly,
sometimes more quickly.

Lemma I. Bodies are distinguished from one another in respect of
motion and rest, quickness and slowness, and not in respect of
substance.

>>>>>Proof--The first part of this proposition is, I take it,
self-evident. That bodies are not distinguished in respect of
substance, is plain both from I. v. and I. viii. It is brought
out still more clearly from I. xv., Note.

Lemma II. All bodies agree in certain respects.

>>>>>Proof--All bodies agree in the fact, that they involve the
conception of one and the same attribute (II., Def. i.).
Further, in the fact that they may be moved less or more
quickly, and may be absolutely in motion or at rest.

Lemma III. A body in motion or at rest must be determined to
motion or rest by another body, which other body has been
determined to motion or rest by a third body, and that third
again by a fourth, and so on to infinity.

>>>>>Proof--Bodies are individual things (II., Def. i.), which
(Lemma i.) are distinguished one from the other in respect to
motion and rest; thus (I. xxviii.) each must necessarily be
determined to motion or rest by another individual thing, namely
(II. vi.) by another body, which other body is also (Ax. i.) in
motion or at rest. And this body again can only have been set
in motion or caused to rest by being determined by a third body
to motion or rest. This third body again by a fourth, and so on
to infinity. Q.E.D.

<<<<motion, until it is determined to a state of rest by some other
body; and a body at rest remains so, until it is determined to a
state of motion by some other body. This is indeed self-evident.
For when I suppose, for instance, that a given body, A, is at
rest, and do not take into consideration other bodies in motion,
I cannot affirm anything concerning the body A, except that it
is at rest. If it afterwards comes to pass that A is in motion,
this cannot have resulted from its having been at rest, for no
other consequence could have been involved than its remaining at
rest. If, on the other hand, A be given in motion, we shall, so
long as we only consider A, be unable to affirm anything
concerning it, except that it is in motion. If A is
subsequently found to be at rest, this rest cannot be the result
of A's previous motion, for such motion can only have led to
continued motion; the state of rest therefore must have resulted
from something, which was not in A, namely, from an external
cause determining A to a state of rest.

-----Axiom I--All modes, wherein one body is affected by another
body, follow simultaneously from the nature of the body
affected and the body affecting; so that one and the same body
may be moved in different modes, according to the difference in
the nature of the bodies moving it; on the other hand, different
bodies may be moved in different modes by one and the same body.

-----Axiom II--When a body in motion impinges on another body at
rest, which it is unable to move, it recoils, in order to
continue its motion, and the angle made by the line of motion in
the recoil and the plane of the body at rest, whereon the moving
body has impinged, will be equal to the angle formed by the line
of motion of incidence and the same plane.

So far we have been speaking only of the most simple bodies,
which are only distinguished one from the other by motion and
rest, quickness and slowness. We now pass on to compound
bodies.

Definition--When any given bodies of the same or different
magnitude are compelled by other bodies to remain in contact, or
if they be moved at the same or different rates of speed, so
that their mutual movements should preserve among themselves a
certain fixed relation, we say that such bodies are 'in union,'
and that together they compose one body or individual, which is
distinguished from other bodies by the fact of this union.

-----Axiom III--In proportion as the parts of an individual, or
a compound body, are in contact over a greater or less
superficies, they will with greater or less difficulty admit of
being moved from their position; consequently the individual
will, with greater or less difficulty, be brought to assume
another form. Those bodies, whose parts are in contact over
large superficies, are called 'hard;' those, whose parts are in
contact over small superficies, are called 'soft;' those, whose
parts are in motion among one another, are called 'fluid.'

Lemma IV. If from a body or individual, compounded of several
bodies, certain bodies be separated, and if, at the same time,
an equal number of other bodies of the same nature take their
place, the individual will preserve its nature as before, without
any change in its actuality (forma).

>>>>>Proof--Bodies (Lemma i.) are not distinguished in respect of
substance: that which constitutes the actuality (formam) of an
individual consists (by the last Def.) in a union of bodies; but
this union, although there is a continual change of bodies, will
(by our hypothesis) be maintained; the individual, therefore,
will retain its nature as before, both in respect of substance
and in respect of mode. Q.E.D.

Lemma V. If the parts composing an individual become greater or
less, but in such proportion, that they all preserve the same
mutual relations of motion and rest, the individual will still
preserve its original nature, and its actuality will not be
changed.

>>>>>Proof--The same as for the last Lemma.

Lemma VI. If certain bodies composing an individual be compelled
to change the motion, which they have in one direction, for
motion in another direction, but in such a manner, that they be
able to continue their motions and their mutual communication in
the same relations as before, the individual will retain its own
nature without any change of its actuality.

>>>>>Proof--This proposition is self-evident, for the individual
is supposed to retain all that, which, in its definition, we
spoke of as its actual being.

Lemma VII. Furthermore, the individual thus composed preserves
its nature, whether it be, as a whole, in motion or at rest,
whether it be moved in this or that direction; so long as each
part retains its motion, and preserves its communication with
other parts as before.

>>>>>Proof--This proposition is evident from the definition of an
individual prefixed to Lemma iv.

*****Note--We thus see, how a composite individual may be
affected in many different ways, and preserve its nature
notwithstanding. Thus far we have conceived an individual as
composed of bodies only distinguished one from the other in
respect of motion and rest, speed and slowness; that is, of
bodies of the most simple character. If, however, we now
conceive another individual composed of several individuals of
diverse natures, we shall find that the number of ways in which
it can be affected, without losing its nature, will be greatly
multiplied. Each of its parts would consist of several bodies,
and therefore (by Lemma vi.) each part would admit, without
change to its nature, of quicker or slower motion, and would
consequently be able to transmit its motions more quickly or more
slowly to the remaining parts. If we further conceive a third
kind of individuals composed of individuals of this second kind,
we shall find that they may be affected in a still greater
number of ways without changing their actuality. We may easily
proceed thus to infinity, and conceive the whole of nature as
one individual, whose parts, that is, all bodies, vary in
infinite ways, without any change in the individual as a whole.
I should feel bound to explain and demonstrate this point at
more length, if I were writing a special treatise on body. But
I have already said that such is not my object; I have only
touched on the question, because it enables me to prove easily
that which I have in view.

POSTULATES I. The human body is composed of a number of
individual parts, of diverse nature, each one of which is in
itself extremely complex.

II. Of the individual parts composing the human body some are
fluid, some soft, some hard.

III. The individual parts composing the human body, and
consequently the human body itself, are affected in a variety of
ways by external bodies.

IV. The human body stands in need for its preservation of a
number of other bodies, by which it is continually, so to speak,
regenerated.

V. When the fluid part of the human body is determined by an
external body to impinge often on another soft part, it changes
the surface of the latter, and, as it were, leaves the
impression thereupon of the external body which impels it.

VI. The human body can move external bodies, and arrange them in
a variety of ways.

PROPOSITIONS XIV. The human mind is capable of perceiving a
great number of things, and is so in proportion as its body is
capable of receiving a great number of impressions.

>>>>>Proof--The human body (by Post. iii. and vi.) is affected in
very many ways by external bodies, and is capable in very many
ways of affecting external bodies. But (II.xii.) the human mind
must perceive all that takes place in the human body; the human
mind is, therefore, capable of perceiving a great number of
things, and is so in proportion, &c. Q.E.D.

XV. The idea, which constitutes the actual being of the human
mind, is not simple, but compounded of a great number of ideas.

>>>>>Proof--The idea constituting the actual being of the human
mind is the idea of the body (II. xiii.), which (Post. i.) is
composed of a great number of complex individual parts. But
there is necessarily in God the idea of each individual part
whereof the body is composed (II. viii. Cor.); therefore (II.
vii.), the idea of the human body is composed of each of these
numerous ideas of its component parts. Q.E.D.

XVI. The idea of every mode, in which the human body is
affected by external bodies, must involve the nature of the
human body, and also the nature of the external body.

>>>>>Proof--All the modes, in which any given body is affected,
follow from the nature of the body affected, and also from the
nature of the affecting body (by Ax. i., after the Cor. of Lemma
iii.), wherefore their idea is also necessarily (by I, Ax. iv.)
involves the nature of both bodies; therefore, the idea of every
mode, in which the human body is affected by external bodies,
involves the nature of the human body and of the external body.
Q.E.D.

<<<<perceives the nature of a variety of bodies, together with the
nature of its own.

<<<<we have of external bodies, indicate rather the constitution of
our own body than the nature of external bodies. I have amply
illustrated this in the Appendix to Part I.

XVII. If the human body is affected in a manner which involves
the nature of any external body, the human mind will regard the
said external body as actually existing, or as present to
itself, until the human body be affected in such a way, as to
exclude the existence or the presence of the said external body.

>>>>>Proof--This proposition is self-evident, for so long as the
human body continues to be thus affected, so long will the human
mind (II. xii.) regard this modification of the body --that is
(by the last Prop.), it will have the idea of the mode as
actually existing, and this idea involves the nature of the
external body; therefore the mind (by II. xvi., Cor. i.) will
regard the external body as actually existing, until it is
affected, &c. Q.E.D.

<<<<bodies, by which the human body has once been affected, even
though they be no longer in existence or present.

>>>>>Proof--When external bodies determine the fluid parts of the
human body, so that they often impinge on the softer parts, they
change the surface of the last named (Post. v); hence (Ax. ii.,
after the Cor. of Lemma iii.) they are refracted therefrom in a
different manner from that which they followed before such
change; and, further, when afterwards they impinge on the new
surfaces by their own spontaneous movement, they will be
refracted in the same manner, as though they had been impelled
towards those surfaces by external bodies; consequently, they
will, while they continue to be thus refracted, affect the human
body in the same manner, whereof the mind (II. xii.) will again
take cognizance --that is (II. xvii.), the mind will again
regard the external body as present, and will do so, as often as
the fluid parts of the human body impinge on the aforesaid
surfaces by their own spontaneous motion. Wherefore, although
the external bodies, by which the human body has once been
affected, be no longer in existence, the mind will nevertheless
regard them as present, as often as this action of the body is
repeated. Q.E.D.

*****Note--We thus see how it comes about, as is often the case,
that we regard as present many things which are not. It is
possible that the same result may be brought about by other
causes; but I think it suffices for me here to have indicated one
possible explanation, just as well as if I had pointed out the
true cause. Indeed, I do not think I am very far from the
truth, for all my assumptions are based on postulates, which
rest, almost without exception, on experience, that cannot be
controverted by those who have shown, as we have, that the human
body, as we feel it, exists (Cor. after II. xiii.). Furthermore
(II. vii. Cor., II. xvi. Cor. ii.), we clearly understand what is
the difference between the idea, say, of Peter, which
constitutes the essence of Peter's mind, and the idea of the
said Peter, which is in another man, say, Paul. The former
directly answers to the essence of Peter's own body, and only
implies existence so long as Peter exists; the latter indicates
rather the disposition of Paul's body than the nature of Peter,
and, therefore, while this disposition of Paul's body lasts,
Paul's mind will regard Peter as present to itself, even though
he no longer exists. Further, to retain the usual phraseology,
the modifications of the human body, of which the ideas represent
external bodies as present to us, we will call the images of
things, though they do not recall the figure of things. When
the mind regards bodies in this fashion, we say that it imagines.
I will here draw attention to the fact, in order to indicate
where error lies, that the imaginations of the mind, looked at
in themselves, do not contain error. The mind does not err in
the mere act of imagining, but only in so far as it is regarded
as being without the idea, which excludes the existence of such
things as it imagines to be present to it. If the mind, while
imagining non-existent things as present to it, is at the same
time conscious that they do not really exist, this power of
imagination must be set down to the efficacy of its nature, and
not to a fault, especially if this faculty of imagination depend
solely on its own nature--that is (I. Def. vii.), if this
faculty of imagination be free.

XVIII. If the human body has once been affected by two or more
bodies at the same time, when the mind afterwards imagines any
of them, it will straightway remember the others also.

>>>>>Proof--The mind (II. xvii. Cor.) imagines any given body,
because the human body is affected and disposed by the
impressions from an external body, in the same manner as it is
affected when certain of its parts are acted on by the said
external body; but (by our hypothesis) the body was then so
disposed, that the mind imagined two bodies at once; therefore,
it will also in the second case imagine two bodies at once, and
the mind, when it imagines one, will straightway remember the
other. Q.E.D.

*****Note--We now clearly see what 'Memory' is. It is simply a
certain association of ideas involving the nature of things
outside the human body, which association arises in the mind
according to the order and association of the modifications
(affectiones) of the human body. I say, first, it is an
association of those ideas only, which involve the nature of
things outside the human body: not of ideas which answer to the
nature of the said things: ideas of the modifications of the
human body are, strictly speaking (II. xvi.), those which
involve the nature both of the human body and of external bodies.
I say, secondly, that this association arises according to the
order and association of the modifications of the human body, in
order to distinguish it from that association of ideas, which
arises from the order of the intellect, whereby the mind
perceives things through their primary causes, and which is in
all men the same. And hence we can further clearly understand,
why the mind from the thought of one thing, should straightway
arrive at the thought of another thing, which has no similarity
with the first; for instance, from the thought of the word
'pomum' (an apple), a Roman would straightway arrive at the
thought of the fruit apple, which has no similitude with the
articulate sound in question, nor anything in common with it,
except that the body of the man has often been affected by these
two things; that is, that the man has often heard the word
'pomum,' while he was looking at the fruit; similarly every man
will go on from one thought to another, according as his habit
has ordered the images of things in his body. For a soldier,
for instance, when he sees the tracks of a horse in sand, will
at once pass from the thought of a horse to the thought of a
horseman, and thence to the thought of war, &c.; while a
countryman will proceed from the thought of a horse to the
thought of a plough, a field, &c. Thus every man will follow
this or that train of thought, according as he has been in the
habit of conjoining and associating the mental images of things
in this or that manner.

XIX. The human mind has no knowledge of the body, and does not
know it to exist, save through the ideas of the modifications
whereby the body is affected.

>>>>>Proof--The human mind is the very idea or knowledge of the
human body (II. xiii.), which (II. ix.) is in God, in so far as
he is regarded as affected by another idea of a particular thing
actually existing: or, inasmuch as (Post. iv.) the human body
stands in need of very many bodies whereby it is, as it were,
continually regenerated; and the order and connection of ideas
is the same as the order and connection of causes (II. vii.);
this idea will therefore be in God, in so far as he is regarded
as affected by the ideas of very many particular things. Thus
God has the idea of the human body, or knows the human body, in
so far as he is affected by very many other ideas, and not in so
far as he constitutes the nature of the human mind; that is (by
II. xi. Cor.), the human mind does not know the human body. But
the ideas of the modifications of body are in God, in so far as
he constitutes the nature of the human mind, or the human mind
perceives those modifications (II. xii.), and consequently (II.
xvi.) the human body itself, and as actually existing; therefore
the mind perceives thus far only the human body. Q.E.D.

XX. The idea or knowledge of the human mind is also in God,
following in God in the same manner, and being referred to God
in the same manner, as the idea or knowledge of the human body.

>>>>>Proof--Thought is an attribute of God (II. i.); therefore
(II. iii.) there must necessarily be in God the idea both of
thought itself and of all its modifications, consequently also
of the human mind (II. xi.). Further, this idea or knowledge of
the mind does not follow from God, in so far as he is infinite,
but in so far as he is affected by another idea of an individual
thing (II. ix.). But (II. vii.) the order and connection of
ideas is the same as the order and connection of causes;
therefore this idea or knowledge of the mind is in God and is
referred to God, in the same manner as the idea or knowledge of
the body. Q.E.D.

XXI. This idea of the mind is united to the mind in the same way
as the mind is united to the body.

>>>>>Proof--That the mind is united to the body we have shown
from the fact, that the body is the object of the mind (II. xii.
and xiii.); and so for the same reason the idea of the mind must
be united with its object, that is, with the mind in the same
manner as the mind is united to the body. Q.E.D.

*****Note--This proposition is comprehended much more clearly
from what we have said in the note to II. vii. We there showed
that the idea of body and body, that is, mind and body (II.
xiii.), are one and the same individual conceived now under the
attribute of thought, now under the attribute of extension;
wherefore the idea of the mind and the mind itself are one and
the same thing, which is conceived under one and the same
attribute, namely, thought. The idea of the mind, I repeat, and
the mind itself are in God by the same necessity and follow from
him from the same power of thinking. Strictly speaking, the
idea of the mind, that is, the idea of an idea, is nothing but
the distinctive quality (forma) of the idea in so far as it is
conceived as a mode of thought without reference to the object;
if a man knows anything, he, by that very fact, knows that he
knows it, and at the same time knows that he knows that he knows
it, and so on to infinity. But I will treat of this hereafter.

XXII. The human mind perceives not only the modifications of the
body, but also the ideas of such modifications.

>>>>>Proof--The ideas of the ideas of modifications follow in God
in the same manner, and are referred to God in the same manner,
as the ideas of the said modifications. This is proved in the
same way as II. xx. But the ideas of the modifications of the
body are in the human mind (II. xii.), that is, in God, in so
far as he constitutes the essence of the human mind; therefore
the ideas of these ideas will be in God, in so far as he has the
knowledge or idea of the human mind, that is (II. xxi.), they
will be in the human mind itself, which therefore perceives not
only the modifications of the body, but also the ideas of such
modifications. Q.E.D.

XXIII. The mind does not know itself, except in so far as it
perceives the ideas of the modifications of the body.

>>>>>Proof--The idea or knowledge of the mind (II. xx.) follows
in God in the same manner, and is referred to God in the same
manner, as the idea or knowledge of the body. But since (II.
xix.) the human mind does not know the human body itself, that is
(II. xi. Cor.), since the knowledge of the human body is not
referred to God, in so far as he constitutes the nature of the
human mind; therefore, neither is the knowledge of the mind
referred to God, in so far as he constitutes the essence of the
human mind; therefore (by the same Cor. II. xi.), the human mind
thus far has no knowledge of itself. Further the ideas of the
modifications, whereby the body is affected, involve the nature
of the human body itself (II. xvi.), that is (II. xiii.), they
agree with the nature of the mind; wherefore the knowledge of
these ideas necessarily involves knowledge of the mind; but (by
the last Prop.) the knowledge of these ideas is in the human
mind itself; wherefore the human mind thus far only has
knowledge of itself. Q.E.D.

XXIV. The human mind does not involve an adequate knowledge of
the parts composing the human body.

>>>>>Proof--The parts composing the human body do not belong to
the essence of that body, except in so far as they communicate
their motions to one another in a certain fixed relation (Def.
after Lemma iii.), not in so far as they can be regarded as
individuals without relation to the human body. The parts of
the human body are highly complex individuals (Post. i.), whose
parts (Lemma iv.) can be separated from the human body without in
any way destroying the nature and distinctive quality of the
latter, and they can communicate their motions (Ax. i., after
Lemma iii.) to other bodies in another relation; therefore (II.
iii.) the idea or knowledge of each part will be in God,
inasmuch (II. ix.) as he is regarded as affected by another idea
of a particular thing, which particular thing is prior in the
order of nature to the aforesaid part (II. vii.). We may affirm
the same thing of each part of each individual composing the
human body; therefore, the knowledge of each part composing the
human body is in God, in so far as he is affected by very many
ideas of things, and not in so far as he has the idea of the
human body only, in other words, the idea which constitutes the
nature of the human mind (II. xiii.); therefore (II. xi. Cor.),
the human mind does not involve an adequate knowledge of the
human body. Q.E.D.

XXV. The idea of each modification of the human body does not
involve an adequate knowledge of the external body.

>>>>>Proof--We have shown that the idea of a modification of the
human body involves the nature of an external body, in so far as
that external body conditions the human body in a given manner.
But, in so far as the external body is an individual, which has
no reference to the human body, the knowledge or idea thereof is
in God (II. ix.), in so far as God is regarded as affected by
the idea of a further thing, which (II. vii.) is naturally prior
to the said external body. Wherefore an adequate knowledge of
the external body is not in God, in so far as he has the idea of
the modification of the human body; in other words, the idea of
the modification of the human body does not involve an adequate
knowledge of the external body. Q.E.D.

XXVI. The human mind does not perceive any external body as
actually existing, except through the ideas of the modifications
of its own body.

>>>>>Proof--If the human body is in no way affected by a given
external body, then (II. vii.) neither is the idea of the human
body, in other words, the human mind, affected in any way by the
idea of the existence of the said external body, nor does it in
any manner perceive its existence. But, in so far as the human
body is affected in any way by a given external body, thus far
(II. xvi. and Cor.) it perceives that external body. Q.E.D.

<<<<body, it has not an adequate knowledge thereof.

>>>>>Proof--When the human mind regards external bodies through
the ideas of the modifications of its own body, we say that it
imagines (see II. xvii. note); now the mind can only imagine
external bodies as actually existing. Therefore (by II. xxv.),
in so far as the mind imagines external bodies, it has not an
adequate knowledge of them. Q.E.D.

XXVII. The idea of each modification of the human body does not
involve an adequate knowledge of the human body itself.

>>>>>Proof--Every idea of a modification of the human body
involves the nature of the human body, in so far as the human
body is regarded as affected in a given manner (II. xvi.). But
inasmuch as the human body is an individual which may be affected
in many other ways, the idea of the said modification, &c.
Q.E.D.

XXVIII. The ideas of the modifications of the human body, in so
far as they have reference only to the human mind, are not clear
and distinct, but confused.

>>>>>Proof--The ideas of the modifications of the human body
involve the nature both of the human body and of external bodies
(II. xvi.); they must involve the nature not only of the human
body but also of its parts; for the modifications are modes
(Post. iii.), whereby the parts of the human body, and,
consequently, the human body as a whole are affected. But (by
II. xxiv., xxv.) the adequate knowledge of external bodies, as
also of the parts composing the human body, is not in God, in
so far as he is regarded as affected by the human mind, but in
so far as he is regarded as affected by other ideas. These ideas
of modifications, in so far as they are referred to the human
mind alone, are as consequences without premisses, in other
words, confused ideas. Q.E.D.

*****Note--The idea which constitutes the nature of the human
mind is, in the same manner, proved not to be, when considered
in itself and alone, clear and distinct; as also is the case
with the idea of the human mind, and the ideas of the ideas of
the modifications of the human body, in so far as they are
referred to the mind only, as everyone may easily see.

XXIX. The idea of the idea of each modification of the human
body does not involve an adequate knowledge of the human mind.

>>>>>Proof--The idea of a modification of the human body (II.
xxvii.) does not involve an adequate knowledge of the said body,
in other words, does not adequately express its nature; that is
(II. xiii.) it does not agree with the nature of the mind
adequately; therefore (I. Ax. vi.) the idea of this idea does
not adequately express the nature of the human mind, or does not
involve an adequate knowledge thereof.

<<<<perceives things after the common order of nature, has not an
adequate but only a confused and fragmentary knowledge of
itself, of its own body, and of external bodies. For the mind
does not know itself, except in so far as it perceives the ideas
of the modifications of body (II. xxiii.). It only perceives
its own body (II. xix.) through the ideas of the modifications of
body (II. xxiii.). It only perceives its own body (II. xix.)
through the ideas of the modifications, and only perceives
external bodies through the same means; thus, in so far as it has
such ideas of modification, it has not an adequate knowledge of
itself (II. xxix.), nor of its own body (II. xxvii.), nor of
external bodies (II. xxv.), but only a fragmentary and confused
knowledge thereof (II. xxviii. and note). Q.E.D.

*****Note--I say expressly, that the mind has not an adequate but
only a confused knowledge of itself, its own body, and of
external bodies, whenever it perceives things after the common
order of nature; that is, whenever it is determined from without,
namely, by the fortuitous play of circumstance, to regard this
or that; not at such times as it is determined from within, that
is, by the fact of regarding several things at once, to
understand their points of agreement, difference, and contrast.
Whenever it is determined in anywise from within, it regards
things clearly and distinctly, as I will show below.

XXX. We can only have a very inadequate knowledge of the duration
of our body.

>>>>>Proof--The duration of our body does not depend on its
essence (II. Ax. i.), nor on the absolute nature of God (I.
xxi.). But (I. xxviii.) it is conditioned to exist and operate
by causes, which in their turn are conditioned to exist and
operate in a fixed and definite relation by other causes, these
last again being conditioned by others, and so on to infinity.
The duration of our body therefore depends on the common order of
nature, or the constitution of things. Now, however a thing may
be constituted, the adequate knowledge of that thing is in God,
in so far as he has the ideas of all things, and not in so far as
he has the idea of the human body only (II. ix. Cor.).
Wherefore the knowledge of the duration of our body is in God
very inadequate, in so far as he is only regarded as constituting
the nature of the human mind; that is (II. xi. Cor.), this
knowledge is very inadequate to our mind. Q.E.D.

XXXI. We can only have a very inadequate knowledge of the
duration of particular things external to ourselves.

>>>>>Proof--Every particular thing, like the human body, must be
conditioned by another particular thing to exist and operate in
a fixed and definite relation; this other particular thing must
likewise be conditioned by a third, and so on to infinity (I.
xxviii.). As we have shown in the foregoing proposition, from
this common property of particular things, we have only a very
inadequate knowledge of the duration of our body; we must draw a
similar conclusion with regard to the duration of particular
things, namely, that we can only have a very inadequate
knowledge of the duration thereof. Q.E.D.

<<<<contingent and perishable. For we can have no adequate idea of
their duration (by the last Prop.), and this is what we must
understand by the contingency and perishableness of things (I.
xxxiii., Note i.). For (I. xxix.), except in this sense,
nothing is contingent.

XXXII. All ideas, in so far as they are referred to God, are
true.

>>>>>Proof--All ideas which are in God agree in every respect
with their objects (II. ii. Cor.), therefore (I. Ax. vi.) they
are all true. Q.E.D.

XXXII. There is nothing positive in ideas, which causes them to
be called false.

>>>>>Proof--If this be denied, conceive, if possible, a positive
mode of thinking, which should constitute the distinctive
quality of falsehood. Such a mode of thinking cannot be in God
(II. xxxii.); external to God it cannot be or be conceived (I.
xv.). Therefore there is nothing positive in ideas which causes
them to be called false. Q.E.D.

XXXIV. Every idea, which in us is absolute or adequate and
perfect, is true.

>>>>>Proof--When we say that an idea in us is adequate and
perfect, we say, in other words (II. xi. Cor.), that the idea is
adequate and perfect in God, in so far as he constitutes the
essence of our mind; consequently (II. xxxii.), we say that such
an idea is true. Q.E.D.

XXXV. Falsity consists in the privation of knowledge, which
inadequate, fragmentary, or confused ideas involve.

>>>>>Proof--There is nothing positive in ideas, which causes them
to be called false (II. xxxiii.); but falsity cannot consist in
simple privation (for minds, not bodies, are said to err and to
be mistaken), neither can it consist in absolute ignorance, for
ignorance and error are not identical; wherefore it consists in
the privation of knowledge, which inadequate, fragmentary, or
confused ideas involve. Q.E.D.

*****Note--In the note to II. xvii. I explained how error
consists in the privation of knowledge, but in order to throw
more light on the subject I will give an example. For instance,
men are mistaken in thinking themselves free; their opinion is
made up of consciousness of their own actions, and ignorance of
the causes by which they are conditioned. Their idea of
freedom, therefore, is simply their ignorance of any cause for
their actions. As for their saying that human actions depend on
the will, this is a mere phrase without any idea to correspond
thereto. What the will is, and how it moves the body, they none
of them know; those who boast of such knowledge, and feign
dwellings and habitations for the soul, are wont to provoke
either laughter or disgust. So, again, when we look at the sun,
we imagine that it is distant from us about two hundred feet;
this error does not lie solely in this fancy, but in the fact
that, while we thus imagine, we do not know the sun's true
distance or the cause of the fancy. For although we afterwards
learn, that the sun is distant from us more than six hundred of
the earth's diameters, we none the less shall fancy it to be
near; for we do not imagine the sun as near us, because we are
ignorant of its true distance, but because the modification of
our body involves the essence of the sun, in so far as our said
body is affected thereby.

XXXVI. Inadequate and confused ideas follow by the same
necessity, as adequate or clear and distinct ideas.

>>>>>Proof--All ideas are in God (I. xv.), and in so far as they
are referred to God are true (II. xxxii.) and (II. vii. Cor.)
adequate; therefore there are no ideas confused or inadequate,
except in respect to a particular mind (cf. II. xxiv. and
xxviii.); therefore all ideas, whether adequate or inadequate,
follow by the same necessity (II. vi.). Q.E.D.

XXXVII. That which is common to all (cf. Lemma II, above), and
which is equally in a part and in the whole, does not constitute
the essence of any particular thing.

>>>>>Proof--If this be denied, conceive, if possible, that it
constitutes the essence of some particular thing; for instance,
the essence of B. Then (II. Def. ii.) it cannot without B
either exist or be conceived; but this is against our hypothesis.
Therefore it does not appertain to B's essence, nor does it
constitute the essence of any particular thing. Q.E.D.

XXXVIII. Those things, which are common to all, and which are
equally in a part and in the whole, cannot be conceived except
adequately.

>>>>>Proof--Let A be something, which is common to all bodies,
and which is equally present in the part of any given body and
in the whole. I say A cannot be conceived except adequately.
For the idea thereof in God will necessarily be adequate (II.
vii. Cor.), both in so far as God has the idea of the human
body, and also in so far as he has the idea of the modifications
of the human body, which (II. xvi., xxv., xxvii.) involve in part
the nature of the human body and the nature of external bodies;
that is (II. xii., xiii.), the idea in God will necessarily be
adequate, both in so far as he constitutes the human mind, and in
so far as he has the ideas, which are in the human mind.
Therefore the mind (II. xi. Cor.) necessarily perceives A
adequately, and has this adequate perception, both in so far as
it perceives itself, and in so far as it perceives its own or
any external body, nor can A be conceived in any other manner.
Q.E.D.

<<<<notions common to all men; for (by Lemma ii.) all bodies agree
in certain respects, which (by the foregoing Prop.) must be
adequately or clearly and distinctly perceived by all.

XXXIX. That, which is common to and a property of the human body
and such other bodies as are wont to affect the human body, and
which is present equally in each part of either, or in the
whole, will be represented by an adequate idea in the mind.

>>>>>Proof--If A be that, which is common to and a property of
the human body and external bodies, and equally present in the
human body and in the said external bodies, in each part of each
external body and in the whole, there will be an adequate idea of
A in God (II. vii. Cor.), both in so far as he has the idea of
the human body, and in so far as he has the ideas of the given
external bodies. Let it now be granted, that the human body is
affected by an external body through that, which it has in common
therewith, namely, A; the idea of this modification will involve
the property A (II. xvi.), and therefore (II. vii. Cor.) the
idea of this modification, in so far as it involves the property
A, will be adequate in God, in so far as God is affected by the
idea of the human body; that is (II. xiii.), in so far as he
constitutes the nature of the human mind; therefore (II. xi.
Cor.) this idea is also adequate in the human mind. Q.E.D.

<<<<perceive adequately more things, in proportion as its body has
more in common with other bodies.

XL. Whatsoever ideas in the mind follow from ideas which are
therein adequate, are also themselves adequate.

>>>>>Proof--This proposition is self-evident. For when we say
that an idea in the human mind follows from ideas which are
therein adequate, we say, in other words (II. xi. Cor.), that an
idea is in the divine intellect, whereof God is the cause, not in
so far as he is infinite, nor in so far as he is affected by the
ideas of very many particular things, but only in so far as he
constitutes the essence of the human mind.

*****Note I--I have thus set forth the cause of those notions,
which are common to all men, and which form the basis of our
ratiocinations. But there are other causes of certain axioms or
notions, which it would be to the purpose to set forth by this
method of ours; for it would thus appear what notions are more
useful than others, and what notions have scarcely any use at
all. Furthermore, we should see what notions are common to all
men, and what notions are only clear and distinct to those who
are unshackled by prejudice, and we should detect those which
are ill-founded. Again we should discern whence the notions
called "secondary" derived their origin, and consequently the
axioms on which they are founded, and other points of interest
connected with these questions. But I have decided to pass over
the subject here, partly because I have set it aside for another
treatise, partly because I am afraid of wearying the reader by
too great prolixity. Nevertheless, in order not to omit
anything necessary to be known, I will briefly set down the
causes, whence are derived the terms styled "transcendental,"
such as Being, Thing, Something. These terms arose from the
fact, that the human body, being limited, is only capable of
distinctly forming a certain number of images (what an image is
I explained in the II. xvii. note) within itself at the same
time; if this number be exceeded, the images will begin to be
confused; if this number of images, of which the body is capable
of forming distinctly within itself, be largely exceeded, all
will become entirely confused one with another. This being so,
it is evident (from II. Prop. xvii. Cor., and xviii.) that the
human mind can distinctly imagine as many things simultaneously,
as its body can form images simultaneously. When the images
become quite confused in the body, the mind also imagines all
bodies confusedly without any distinction, and will comprehend
them, as it were, under one attribute, namely, under the
attribute of Being, Thing, &c. The same conclusion can be drawn
from the fact that images are not always equally vivid, and from
other analogous causes, which there is no need to explain here;
for the purpose which we have in view it is sufficient for us to
consider one only. All may be reduced to this, that these terms
represent ideas in the highest degree confused. From similar
causes arise those notions, which we call "general," such as
man, horse, dog, &c. They arise, to wit, from the fact that so
many images, for instance, of men, are formed simultaneously in
the human mind, that the powers of imagination break down, not
indeed utterly, but to the extent of the mind losing count of
small differences between individuals (e.g. colour, size, &c.)
and their definite number, and only distinctly imagining that, in
which all the individuals, in so far as the body is affected by
them, agree; for that is the point, in which each of the said
individuals chiefly affected the body; this the mind expresses by
the name man, and this it predicates of an infinite number of
particular individuals. For, as we have said, it is unable to
imagine the definite number of individuals. We must, however,
bear in mind, that these general notions are not formed by all
men in the same way, but vary in each individual according as
the point varies, whereby the body has been most often affected
and which the mind most easily imagines or remembers. For
instance, those who have most often regarded with admiration the
stature of man, will by the name of man understand an animal of
erect stature; those who have been accustomed to regard some
other attribute, will form a different general image of man, for
instance, that man is a laughing animal, a two-footed animal
without feathers, a rational animal, and thus, in other cases,
everyone will form general images of things according to the
habit of his body.

It is thus not to be wondered at, that among philosophers, who
seek to explain things in nature merely by the images formed of
them, so many controversies should have arisen.

*****Note II--From all that has been said above it is clear, that
we, in many cases, perceive and form our general notions:--(1.)
From particular things represented to our intellect
fragmentarily, confusedly, and without order through our senses
(II. xxix. Cor.); I have settled to call such perceptions by the
name of knowledge from the mere suggestions of experience. (2.)
From symbols, e.g., from the fact of having read or heard
certain words we remember things and form certain ideas
concerning them, similar to those through which we imagine
things (II. xviii. Note). I shall call both these ways of
regarding things "knowledge of the first kind," "opinion," or
"imagination." (3.) From the fact that we have notions common
to all men, and adequate ideas of the properties of things (II.
xxxviii. Cor., xxxix. and Cor., and xl.); this I call "reason"
and "knowledge of the second kind." Besides these two kinds of
knowledge, there is, as I will hereafter show, a third kind of
knowledge, which we will call intuition. This kind of knowledge
proceeds from an adequate idea of the absolute essence of
certain attributes of God to the adequate knowledge of the
essence of things. I will illustrate all three kinds of
knowledge by a single example. Three numbers are given for
finding a fourth, which shall be to the third as the second is
to the first. Tradesmen without hesitation multiply the second
by the third, and divide the product by the first; either
because they have not forgotten the rule which they received
from a master without any proof, or because they have often made
trial of it with simple numbers, or by virtue of the proof of
the nineteenth proposition of the seventh book of Euclid,
namely, in virtue of the general property of proportionals.

But with very simple numbers there is no need of this. For
instance, one, two, three being given, everyone can see that the
fourth proportional is six; and this is much clearer, because
we infer the fourth number from an intuitive grasping of the
ratio, which the first bears to the second.

XLI. Knowledge of the first kind is the only source of falsity,
knowledge of the second and third kinds is necessarily true.

>>>>>Proof--To knowledge of the first kind we have (in the
foregoing note) assigned all those ideas, which are inadequate
and confused; therefore this kind of knowledge is the only
source of falsity (II. xxxv.). Furthermore, we assigned to the
second and third kinds of knowledge those ideas which are
adequate; therefore these kinds are necessarily true (II.
xxxiv.). Q.E.D.

XLII. Knowledge of the second and third kinds, not knowledge of
the first kind, teaches us to distinguish the true from the
false.

>>>>>Proof--This proposition is self-evident. He, who knows how
to distinguish between true and false, must have an adequate
idea of true and false. That is (II. xl., note ii.), he must
know the true and the false by the second or third kind of
knowledge.

XLIII. He, who has a true idea, simultaneously knows that he has
a true idea, and cannot doubt of the truth of the thing
perceived.

>>>>>Proof--A true idea in us is an idea which is adequate in
God, in so far as he is displayed through the nature of the
human mind (II. xi. Cor.). Let us suppose that there is in God,
in so far as he is displayed through the human mind, an adequate
idea, A. The idea of this idea must also necessarily be in God,
and be referred to him in the same way as the idea A (by II.
xx., whereof the proof is of universal application). But the
idea A is supposed to be referred to God, in so far as he is
displayed through the human mind; therefore, the idea of the
idea A must be referred to God in the same manner; that is (by
II. xi. Cor.), the adequate idea of the idea A will be in the
mind, which has the adequate idea A; therefore he, who has an
adequate idea or knows a thing truly (II. xxxiv.), must at the
same time have an adequate idea or true knowledge of his
knowledge; that is, obviously, he must be assured. Q.E.D.

*****Note--I explained in the note to II. xxi. what is meant by
the idea of an idea; but we may remark that the foregoing
proposition is in itself sufficiently plain. No one, who has a
true idea, is ignorant that a true idea involves the highest
certainty. For to have a true idea is only another expression
for knowing a thing perfectly, or as well as possible. No one,
indeed, can doubt of this, unless he thinks that an idea is
something lifeless, like a picture on a panel, and not a mode of
thinking--namely, the very act of understanding. And who, I
ask, can know that he understands anything, unless he do first
understand it? In other words, who can know that he is sure of
a thing, unless he be first sure of that thing? Further, what
can there be more clear, and more certain, than a true idea as a
standard of truth? Even as light displays both itself and
darkness, so is truth a standard both of itself and of falsity.

I think I have thus sufficiently answered these
questions--namely, if a true idea is distinguished from a false
idea, only in so far as it is said to agree with its object, a
true idea has no more reality or perfection than a false idea
(since the two are only distinguished by an extrinsic mark);
consequently, neither will a man who has a true idea have any
advantage over him who has only false ideas. Further, how comes
it that men have false ideas? Lastly, how can anyone be sure,
that he has ideas which agree with their objects? These
questions, I repeat, I have, in my opinion, sufficiently
answered. The difference between a true idea and a false idea
is plain: from what was said in II. xxxv., the former is
related to the latter as being is to not-being. The causes of
falsity I have set forth very clearly in II. xix. and II. xxxv.
with the note. From what is there stated, the difference
between a man who has true ideas, and a man who has only false
ideas, is made apparent. As for the last question--as to how a
man can be sure that he has ideas that agree with their objects,
I have just pointed out, with abundant clearness, that his
knowledge arises from the simple fact, that he has an idea which
corresponds with its object--in other words, that truth is its
own standard. We may add that our mind, in so far as it
perceives things truly, is part of the infinite intellect of God
(II. xi. Cor.); therefore, the clear and distinct ideas of the
mind are as necessarily true as the ideas of God.

XLIV. It is not in the nature of reason to regard things as
contingent, but as necessary.

>>>>>Proof--It is in the nature of reason to perceive things
truly (II. xli.), namely (I. Ax. vi.), as they are in
themselves--that is (I. xxix.), not as contingent, but as
necessary. Q.E.D.

<<<<imagination that we consider things, whether in respect to the
future or the past, as contingent.

*****Note--How this way of looking at things arises, I will
briefly explain. We have shown above (II. xvii. and Cor.) that
the mind always regards things as present to itself, even though
they be not in existence, until some causes arise which exclude
their existence and presence. Further (II. xviii.), we showed
that, if the human body has once been affected by two external
bodies simultaneously, the mind, when it afterwards imagines one
of the said external bodies, will straightway remember the
other--that is, it will regard both as present to itself, unless
there arise causes which exclude their existence and presence.
Further, no one doubts that we imagine time, from the fact that
we imagine bodies to be moved some more slowly than others, some
more quickly, some at equal speed. Thus, let us suppose that a
child yesterday saw Peter for the first time in the morning, Paul
at noon, and Simon in the evening; then, that today he again
sees Peter in the morning. It is evident, from II. Prop.
xviii., that, as soon as he sees the morning light, he will
imagine that the sun will traverse the same parts of the sky, as
it did when he saw it on the preceding day; in other words, he
will imagine a complete day, and, together with his imagination
of the morning, he will imagine Peter; with noon, he will
imagine Paul; and with evening, he will imagine Simon--that is,
he will imagine the existence of Paul and Simon in relation to a
future time; on the other hand, if he sees Simon in the evening,
he will refer Peter and Paul to a past time, by imagining them
simultaneously with the imagination of a past time. If it
should at any time happen, that on some other evening the child
should see James instead of Simon, he will, on the following
morning, associate with his imagination of evening sometimes
Simon, sometimes James, not both together: for the child is
supposed to have seen, at evening, one or other of them, not
both together. His imagination will therefore waver; and, with
the imagination of future evenings, he will associate first one,
then the other--that is, he will imagine them in the future,
neither of them as certain, but both as contingent. This
wavering of the imagination will be the same, if the imagination
be concerned with things which we thus contemplate, standing in
relation to time past or time present: consequently, we may
imagine things as contingent, whether they be referred to time
present, past, or future.

<<<<things under a certain form of eternity (sub quadam aeternitatis
specie).

>>>>>Proof--It is in the nature of reason to regard things, not
as contingent, but as necessary (II. xliv.). Reason perceives
this necessity of things (II. xli.) truly--that is (I. Ax. vi.),
as it is in itself. But (I. xvi.) this necessity of things is
the very necessity of the eternal nature of God; therefore, it
is in the nature of reason to regard things under this form of
eternity. We may add that the bases of reason are the notions
(II. xxxviii.), which answer to things common to all, and which
(II. xxxvii.) do not answer to the essence of any particular
thing: which must therefore be conceived without any relation to
time, under a certain form of eternity.

XLV. Every idea of every body, or of every particular thing
actually existing, necessarily involves the eternal and infinite
essence of God.

>>>>>Proof--The idea of a particular thing actually existing
necessarily involves both the existence and the essence of the
said thing (II. viii.). Now particular things cannot be
conceived without God (I. xv.); but, inasmuch as (II. vi.) they
have God for their cause, in so far as he is regarded under the
attribute of which the things in question are modes, their ideas
must necessarily involve (I. Ax. iv.) the conception of the
attributes of those ideas--that is (I. vi.), the eternal and
infinite essence of God. Q.E.D.

*****Note--By existence I do not here mean duration--that is,
existence in so far as it is conceived abstractedly, and as a
certain form of quantity. I am speaking of the very nature of
existence, which is assigned to particular things, because they
follow in infinite numbers and in infinite ways from the eternal
necessity of God's nature (I. xvi.). I am speaking, I repeat,
of the very existence of particular things, in so far as they are
in God. For although each particular thing be conditioned by
another particular thing to exist in a given way, yet the force
whereby each particular thing perseveres in existing follows from
the eternal necessity of God's nature (cf. I. xxiv. Cor.).

XLVI. The knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God
which every idea involves is adequate and perfect.

>>>>>Proof--The proof of the last proposition is universal; and
whether a thing be considered as a part or a whole, the idea
thereof, whether of the whole or of a part (by the last Prop.),
will involve God's eternal and infinite essence. Wherefore,
that, which gives knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence
of God, is common to all, and is equally in the part and in the
whole; therefore (II. xxxviii.) this knowledge will be adequate.
Q.E.D.

XLVII. The human mind has an adequate knowledge of the eternal
and infinite essence of God.

>>>>>Proof--The human mind has ideas (II. xxii.), from which (II.
xxiii.) it perceives itself and its own body (II. xix.) and
external bodies (II. xvi. Cor. i. and II. xvii.) as actually
existing; therefore (II. xlv. and xlvi.) it has an adequate
knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God. Q.E.D.

*****Note--Hence we see, that the infinite essence and the
eternity of God are known to all. Now as all things are in God,
and are conceived through God, we can from this knowledge infer
many things, which we may adequately know, and we may form that
third kind of knowledge of which we spoke in the note to II.
xl., and of the excellence and use of which we shall have
occasion to speak in Part V. Men have not so clear a knowledge
of God as they have of general notions, because they are unable
to imagine God as they do bodies, and also because they have
associated the name God with images of things that they are in
the habit of seeing, as indeed they can hardly avoid doing,
being, as they are, men, and continually affected by external
bodies. Many errors, in truth, can be traced to this head,
namely, that we do not apply names to things rightly. For
instance, when a man says that the lines drawn from the centre
of a circle to its circumference are not equal, he then, at all
events, assuredly attaches a meaning to the word circle different
from that assigned by mathematicians. So again, when men make
mistakes in calculation, they have one set of figures in their
mind, and another on the paper. If we could see into their
minds, they do not make a mistake; they seem to do so, because
we think, that they have the same numbers in their mind as they
have on the paper. If this were not so, we should not believe
them to be in error, any more than I thought that a man was in
error, whom I lately heard exclaiming that his entrance hall had
flown into a neighbour's hen, for his meaning seemed to me
sufficiently clear. Very many controversies have arisen from the
fact, that men do not rightly explain their meaning, or do not
rightly interpret the meaning of others. For, as a matter of
fact, as they flatly contradict themselves, they assume now one
side, now another, of the argument, so as to oppose the
opinions, which they consider mistaken and absurd in their
opponents.

XLVIII. In the mind there is no absolute or free will; but the
mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has
also been determined by another cause, and this last by another
cause, and so on to infinity.

>>>>>Proof--The mind is a fixed and definite mode of thought (II.
xi.), therefore it cannot be the free cause of its actions (I.
xvii. Cor. ii.); in other words, it cannot have an absolute
faculty of positive or negative volition; but (by I. xxviii.) it
must be determined by a cause, which has also been determined by
another cause, and this last by another, &c. Q.E.D.

*****Note--In the same way it is proved, that there is in the
mind no absolute faculty of understanding, desiring, loving, &c.
Whence it follows, that these and similar faculties are either
entirely fictitious, or are merely abstract and general terms,
such as we are accustomed to put together from particular
things. Thus the intellect and the will stand in the same
relation to this or that idea, or this or that volition, as
"lapidity" to this or that stone, or as "man" to Peter and
Paul. The cause which leads men to consider themselves free has
been set forth in the Appendix to Part I. But, before I proceed
further, I would here remark that, by the will to affirm and
decide, I mean the faculty, not the desire. I mean, I repeat,
the faculty, whereby the mind affirms or denies what is true or
false, not the desire, wherewith the mind wishes for or turns
away from any given thing. After we have proved, that these
faculties of ours are general notions, which cannot be
distinguished from the particular instances on which they are
based, we must inquire whether volitions themselves are anything
besides the ideas of things. We must inquire, I say, whether
there is in the mind any affirmation or negation beyond that,
which the idea, in so far as it is an idea, involves. On which
subject see the following proposition, and II. Def. iii., lest
the idea of pictures should suggest itself. For by ideas I do
not mean images such as are formed at the back of the eye, or in
the midst of the brain, but the conceptions of thought.

XLIX. There is in the mind no volition or affirmation and
negation, save that which an idea, inasmuch as it is an idea,
involves.

>>>>>Proof--There is in the mind no absolute faculty of positive
or negative volition, but only particular volitions, namely,
this or that affirmation, and this or that negation. Now let us
conceive a particular volition, namely, the mode of thinking
whereby the mind affirms, that the three interior angles of a
triangle are equal to two right angles. This affirmation
involves the conception or idea of a triangle, that is, without
the idea of a triangle it cannot be conceived. It is the same
thing to say, that the concept A must involve the concept B, as
it is to say, that A cannot be conceived without B. Further,
this affirmation cannot be made (II. Ax. iii.) without the idea
of a triangle. Therefore, this affirmation can neither be nor
be conceived, without the idea of a triangle. Again, this idea
of a triangle must involve this same affirmation, namely, that
its three interior angles are equal to two right angles.
Wherefore, and vice versa, this idea of a triangle can neither be
nor be conceived without this affirmation, therefore, this
affirmation belongs to the essence of the idea of a triangle,
and is nothing besides. What we have said of this volition
(inasmuch as we have selected it at random) may be said of any
other volition, namely, that it is nothing but an idea. Q.E.D.

<<<<

>>>>>Proof--Will and understanding are nothing beyond the
individual volitions and ideas (II. xlviii. and note). But a
particular volition and a particular idea are one and the same
(by the foregoing Prop.); therefore, will and understanding are
one and the same. Q.E.D.

*****Note--We have thus removed the cause which is commonly
assigned for error. For we have shown above, that falsity
consists solely in the privation of knowledge involved in ideas
which are fragmentary and confused. Wherefore, a false idea,
inasmuch as it is false, does not involve certainty. When we
say, then, that a man acquiesces in what is false, and that he
has no doubts on the subject, we do not say that he is certain,
but only that he does not doubt, or that he acquiesces in what
is false, inasmuch as there are no reasons, which should cause
his imagination to waver (see II. xliv. note). Thus, although
the man be assumed to acquiesce in what is false, we shall never
say that he is certain. For by certainty we mean something
positive (II. xliii. and note), not merely the absence of doubt.

However, in order that the foregoing proposition may be fully
explained, I will draw attention to a few additional points, and
I will furthermore answer the objections which may be advanced
against our doctrine. Lastly, in order to remove every scruple,
I have thought it worth while to point out some of the
advantages, which follow therefrom. I say "some," for they will
be better appreciated from what we shall set forth in the fifth
part.

I begin, then, with the first point, and warn my readers to make
an accurate distinction between an idea, or conception of the
mind, and the images of things which we imagine. It is further
necessary that they should distinguish between idea and words,
whereby we signify things. These three--namely, images, words,
and ideas--are by many persons either entirely confused
together, or not distinguished with sufficient accuracy or care,
and hence people are generally in ignorance, how absolutely
necessary is a knowledge of this doctrine of the will, both for
philosophic purposes and for the wise ordering of life. Those
who think that ideas consist in images which are formed in us by
contact with external bodies, persuade themselves that the ideas
of those things, whereof we can form no mental picture, are not
ideas, but only figments, which we invent by the free decree of
our will; they thus regard ideas as though they were inanimate
pictures on a panel, and, filled with this misconception, do not
see that an idea, inasmuch as it is an idea, involves an
affirmation or negation. Again, those who confuse words with
ideas, or with the affirmation which an idea involves, think
that they can wish something contrary to what they feel, affirm,
or deny. This misconception will easily be laid aside by one,
who reflects on the nature of knowledge, and seeing that it in
no wise involves the conception of extension, will therefore
clearly understand, that an idea (being a mode of thinking) does
not consist in the image of anything, nor in words. The essence
of words and images is put together by bodily motions, which in
no wise involve the conception of thought.

These few words on this subject will suffice: I will therefore
pass on to consider the objections, which may be raised against
our doctrine. Of these, the first is advanced by those, who
think that the will has a wider scope than the understanding, and
that therefore it is different therefrom. The reason for their
holding the belief, that the will has wider scope than the
understanding, is that they assert, that they have no need of an
increase in their faculty of assent, that is of affirmation or
negation, in order to assent to an infinity of things which we
do not perceive, but that they have need of an increase in their
faculty of understanding. The will is thus distinguished from
the intellect, the latter being finite and the former infinite.
Secondly, it may be objected that experience seems to teach us
especially clearly, that we are able to suspend our judgment
before assenting to things which we perceive; this is confirmed
by the fact that no one is said to be deceived, in so far as he
perceives anything, but only in so far as he assents or
dissents.

For instance, he who feigns a winged horse, does not therefore
admit that a winged horse exists; that is, he is not deceived,
unless he admits in addition that a winged horse does exist.
Nothing therefore seems to be taught more clearly by experience,
than that the will or faculty of assent is free and different
from the faculty of understanding. Thirdly, it may be objected
that one affirmation does not apparently contain more reality
than another; in other words, that we do not seem to need for
affirming, that what is true is true, any greater power than for
affirming, that what is false is true. We have, however, seen
that one idea has more reality or perfection than another, for
as objects are some more excellent than others, so also are the
ideas of them some more excellent than others; this also seems
to point to a difference between the understanding and the will.
Fourthly, it may be objected, if man does not act from free
will, what will happen if the incentives to action are equally
balanced, as in the case of Buridan's ass? Will he perish of
hunger and thirst? If I say that he would not, he would then
determine his own action, and would consequently possess the
faculty of going and doing whatever he liked. Other objections
might also be raised, but, as I am not bound to put in evidence
everything that anyone may dream, I will only set myself to the
task of refuting those I have mentioned, and that as briefly as
possible.

To the first objection I answer, that I admit that the will has a
wider scope than the understanding, if by the understanding be
meant only clear and distinct ideas; but I deny that the will
has a wider scope than the perceptions, and the faculty of
forming conceptions; nor do I see why the faculty of volition
should be called infinite, any more than the faculty of feeling:
for, as we are able by the same faculty of volition to affirm an
infinite number of things (one after the other, for we cannot
affirm an infinite number simultaneously), so also can we, by
the same faculty of feeling, feel or perceive (in succession) an
infinite number of bodies. If it be said that there is an
infinite number of things which we cannot perceive, I answer,
that we cannot attain to such things by any thinking, nor,
consequently, by any faculty of volition. But, it may still be
urged, if God wished to bring it about that we should perceive
them, he would be obliged to endow us with a greater faculty of
perception, but not a greater faculty of volition than we have
already. This is the same as to say that, if God wished to bring
it about that we should understand an infinite number of other
entities, it would be necessary for him to give us a greater
understanding, but not a more universal idea of entity than that
which we have already, in order to grasp such infinite entities.
We have shown that will is a universal entity or idea, whereby
we explain all particular volitions--in other words, that which
is common to all such volitions.

As, then, our opponents maintain that this idea, common or
universal to all volitions, is a faculty, it is little to be
wondered at that they assert, that such a faculty extends itself
into the infinite, beyond the limits of the understanding: for
what is universal is predicated alike of one, of many, and of an
infinite number of individuals.

To the second objection I reply by denying, that we have a free
power of suspending our judgment: for, when we say that anyone
suspends his judgment, we merely mean that he sees, that he does
not perceive the matter in question adequately. Suspension of
judgment is, therefore, strictly speaking, a perception, and not
free will. In order to illustrate the point, let us suppose a
boy imagining a horse, and perceive nothing else. Inasmuch as
this imagination involves the existence of the horse (II. xvii.
Cor.), and the boy does not perceive anything which would
exclude the existence of the horse, he will necessarily regard
the horse as present: he will not be able to doubt of its
existence, although he be not certain thereof. We have daily
experience of such a state of things in dreams; and I do not
suppose that there is anyone, who would maintain that, while he
is dreaming, he has the free power of suspending his judgment
concerning the things in his dream, and bringing it about that
he should not dream those things, which he dreams that he sees;
yet it happens, notwithstanding, that even in dreams we suspend
our judgment, namely, when we dream that we are dreaming.

Further, I grant that no one can be deceived, so far as actual
perception extends--that is, I grant that the mind's
imaginations, regarded in themselves, do not involve error (II.
xvii. note); but I deny, that a man does not, in the act of
perception, make any affirmation. For what is the perception of
a winged horse, save affirming that a horse has wings? If the
mind could perceive nothing else but the winged horse, it would
regard the same as present to itself: it would have no reasons
for doubting its existence, nor any faculty of dissent, unless
the imagination of a winged horse be joined to an idea which
precludes the existence of the said horse, or unless the mind
perceives that the idea which it possess of a winged horse is
inadequate, in which case it will either necessarily deny the
existence of such a horse, or will necessarily be in doubt on
the subject.

I think that I have anticipated my answer to the third objection,
namely, that the will is something universal which is predicated
of all ideas, and that it only signifies that which is common to
all ideas, namely, an affirmation, whose adequate essence must,
therefore, in so far as it is thus conceived in the abstract, be
in every idea, and be, in this respect alone, the same in all,
not in so far as it is considered as constituting the idea's
essence: for, in this respect, particular affirmations differ
one from the other, as much as do ideas. For instance, the
affirmation which involves the idea of a circle, differs from
that which involves the idea of a triangle, as much as the idea
of a circle differs from the idea of a triangle.

Further, I absolutely deny, that we are in need of an equal power
of thinking, to affirm that that which is true is true, and to
affirm that that which is false is true. These two
affirmations, if we regard the mind, are in the same relation to
one another as being and not-being; for there is nothing
positive in ideas, which constitutes the actual reality of
falsehood (II. xxxv. note, and xlvii. note).

We must therefore conclude, that we are easily deceived, when we
confuse universals with singulars, and the entities of reason
and abstractions with realities. As for the fourth objection, I
am quite ready to admit, that a man placed in the equilibrium
described (namely, as perceiving nothing but hunger and thirst,
a certain food and a certain drink, each equally distant from
him) would die of hunger and thirst. If I am asked, whether such
an one should not rather be considered an ass than a man; I
answer, that I do not know, neither do I know how a man should
be considered, who hangs himself, or how we should consider
children, fools, madmen, &c.

It remains to point out the advantages of a knowledge of this
doctrine as bearing on conduct, and this may be easily gathered
from what has been said. The doctrine is good,

1. Inasmuch as it teaches us to act solely according to the
decree of God, and to be partakers in the Divine nature, and so
much the more, as we perform more perfect actions and more and
more understand God. Such a doctrine not only completely
tranquilizes our spirit, but also shows us where our highest
happiness or blessedness is, namely, solely in the knowledge of
God, whereby we are led to act only as love and piety shall bid
us. We may thus clearly understand, how far astray from a true
estimate of virtue are those who expect to be decorated by God
with high rewards for their virtue, and their best actions, as
for having endured the direst slavery; as if virtue and the
service of God were not in itself happiness and perfect freedom.

2. Inasmuch as it teaches us, how we ought to conduct ourselves
with respect to the gifts of fortune, or matters which are not
in our power, and do not follow from our nature. For it shows
us, that we should await and endure fortune's smiles or frowns
with an equal mind, seeing that all things follow from the
eternal decree of God by the same necessity, as it follows from
the essence of a triangle, that the three angles are equal to two
right angles.

3. This doctrine raises social life, inasmuch as it teaches us to
hate no man, neither to despise, to deride, to envy, or to be
angry with any. Further, as it tells us that each should be
content with his own, and helpful to his neighbour, not from any
womanish pity, favour, or superstition, but solely by the
guidance of reason, according as the time and occasion demand,
as I will show in Part III.

4. Lastly, this doctrine confers no small advantage on the
commonwealth; for it teaches how citizens should be governed and
led, not so as to become slaves, but so that they may freely do
whatsoever things are best.

I have thus fulfilled the promise made at the beginning of this
note, and I thus bring the second part of my treatise to a
close. I think I have therein explained the nature and
properties of the human mind at sufficient length, and,
considering the difficulty of the subject, with sufficient
clearness. I have laid a foundation, whereon may be raised many
excellent conclusions of the highest utility and most necessary
to be known, as will, in what follows, be partly made plain.

END OF PART II

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