At our meeting on Monday 11th June, 3pm – 5pm, we are pleased to have Michael Della Rocca (Yale University) who will speak on
“Perseverence, Power, and Eternity: Purely Positive Essence in Spinoza”
3pm to 5pm, Room 101, Birkbeck College, 30 Russell Square, WC1B 5DT
The alignment of affirmation, essence, and the absence of negation is evident very early on in Spinoza’s Ethics, in the definition of God. In this paper, I seek to show how the purely positive character of essence is a feature not only of God’s essence but also, in some way, of the essences of things in general. I will also argue that appreciating the roles that the conception of essence as purely positive plays in Spinoza’s conatus doctrine offers us a new way into and a new way of defending a reading of Spinoza according to which modes – things that are dependent on God – do not really exist. By endorsing in this new way such an extreme interpretation, I aim to provide new insight into the third kind of knowledge and the eternity of the mind, for Spinoza.
Our next meeting will be on Thursday 7th June when Beth Lord (University of Aberdeen) will speak on Spinoza and the art of reasoning. Details here.