Spinoza on Scepticism, Truth, and Method
Location: Birkbeck, University of London, Dreyfus Room, 26 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ
In this talk, I offer a new interpretation of Spinoza’s method of distinguishing the true ideas from the false, which shows that his answer to the sceptic is not a failure. This method, as presented in the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, combines analysis and synthesis as follows: if we can say of the object of an idea (a) which simple things underlie it, (b) how it can be constructed out of simple elements, and (c) what properties it has after it has been produced, doubt concerning the object simply makes no sense. I also discuss the distinction between the intrinsic and the extrinsic denomination of an idea and suggest a way in which the methodology of the Treatise connects to the ontology of the Ethics.
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