more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 16541

[catalogued under 2. Reason / D. Definition / 2. Aims of Definition]

Full Idea

The definition of a thing should be such that all the properties of that thing, in so far as it is considered by itself, and not in conjunction with other things, can be deduced from it.

Gist of Idea

All the intrinsic properties of a thing should be deducible from its definition


Baruch de Spinoza (Improvement of Understanding [1675], p.35), quoted by E.J. Lowe - What is the Source of Knowledge of Modal Truths? 6

Book Reference

-: 'Mind' [-], p.20

A Reaction

This is exactly what Locke requires of a real essence (though he is pessimistic about ever achieving it). Spinoza is talking of an Aristotelian real definition, which may be complex, and not a lexicographer's short verbal explication.