more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 4818

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

Full Idea

Those who are ignorant of true causes make complete confusion - thinking that trees might talk just as well as men, that men might be formed from stones as well as seed, and imagine that any form might be changed into any other.

Gist of Idea

People who are ignorant of true causes imagine anything can change into anything else


Baruch de Spinoza (The Ethics [1675], I Pr 08 n2)

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Ethics, Improvement of Understanding, Letters', ed/tr. Elwes,R [Dover 1955], p.48

A Reaction

Spinoza himself can be guilty of this, but it strikes me as a key idea. Humean scepticism about causation seems to me the product of eighteenth century ignorance about the mechanisms of cause and effect which have since been uncovered by science.