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Single Idea 20310

[catalogued under 10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 4. Conceivable as Possible / a. Conceivable as possible]

Full Idea

The mind does not err from the fact that it imagines, but only insofar as it is considered to lack an idea which excludes the existence of those things which it imagines to be present to it.

Gist of Idea

Error does not result from imagining, but from lacking the evidence of impossibility

Source

Baruch de Spinoza (The Ethics [1675], II Pr17 s)

A Reaction

These may be the wisest words I have yet found on conceivability and possibility. My example is imagining a bonfire on the moon, which seems possible until you fully grasp what fire is.

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Ethics', ed/tr. Curley,Edwin [Penguin 1996], p.46