more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 4312

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / f. Necessity in explanations]

Full Idea

Adequate understanding of a phenomenon, for Spinoza, involves a complete understanding of its causes, and this in turn involves a dissolving of the illusion of contingency and a recognition of the necessity of its being thus and not otherwise.

Gist of Idea

To understand a phenomenon, we must understand why it is necessary, not merely contingent


report of Baruch de Spinoza (The Ethics [1675]) by John Cottingham - The Rationalists p.168

Book Reference

Cottingham,John: 'The Rationalists' [OUP 1988], p.168

A Reaction

This is the appeal of the rationalist dream. We want a god-like grasp of things, not a superficial perception of what seems to be going on.