Ideas from 'Improvement of Understanding' by Baruch de Spinoza [1675], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Ethics, Improvement of Understanding, Letters' by Spinoza,Benedict de (ed/tr Elwes,R) [Dover 1955,0-486-20250-x]].

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2. Reason / D. Definition / 2. Aims of Definition
All the intrinsic properties of a thing should be deducible from its 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.
                        From: Baruch de Spinoza (Improvement of Understanding [1675], p.35), quoted by E.J. Lowe - What is the Source of Knowledge of Modal Truths? 6
                        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.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / k. Explanations by essence
To understand the properties we must know the essence, as with a circle
                        Full Idea: If a circle is defined as a figure in which lines from centre to circumference are equal, such definitions do not explain the essence of a circle, but only a property. The properties of a thing are not understood as long as their essences are not known.
                        From: Baruch de Spinoza (Improvement of Understanding [1675], 95), quoted by Cover,J/O'Leary-Hawthorne,J - Substance and Individuation in Leibniz 1.2.1
                        A reaction: This is the traditional Aristotelian view of essence, and the example of a circle is nice, though I am not sure what the essence of a circle might be. Presumably ALL the properties of a circle must flow from it.