more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 4839

[catalogued under 10. Modality / B. Possibility / 5. Contingency]

Full Idea

It is not in the nature of reason to regard things as contingent, but as necessary; ..hence, it is only through our imagination that we consider things, whether in respect to the future or to the past, as contingent.

Gist of Idea

Reason naturally regards things as necessary, and only imagination considers them contingent


Baruch de Spinoza (The Ethics [1675], II Pr 44)

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Ethics, Improvement of Understanding, Letters', ed/tr. Elwes,R [Dover 1955], p.116

A Reaction

A very interesting claim, which seems to be central to rationalism. The empiricist response must be that imagination (which is founded on experience) is a better guide to metaphysical status than pure reason can ever be.