Monday, September 19, 2016

619: Spinoza's philosophical goal

Before we’ll zero in on the concept of god, as interpreted by Spinoza, it is better to begin by the beginning.
Like Descartes’ philosophical goal was to find absolute certainty, we also can ask Spinoza: what do you intend to achieve with your philosophy?
I found a remarkable answer, when I read a book review last week on a Dutch publication: “Wat Filosofen Weten” (What Philosophers Know) by Hans Thijssen.
I do not agree with the final conclusions of the author, but the road to them contained interesting historical observations, which can elucidate our primary question of today.
"What Philosophers Know" is a book about the metamorphosis undergone by the Western philosophy when it became an academic discipline. 
Philosophy, as the word says, philos (friend) of sophia (wisdom), emerged from the desire of wisdom of the Ancient Greek.
This desire was then regarded as a manifestation of a more general desire of man, the pursuit of happiness. 
Philosophical schools taught, each in their own way, how their followers had to live to be happy, and how they could practice it, for example by learning to control their desires.
The Epicureans and Stoics are obvious examples of this practical philosophy, which always started from a philosophical theory, a certain image of man and the world.
When in the early Middle Ages the works of Aristotle were discovered, the picture changed. With the upcoming of the first universities in Europe,
the philosophical practice changed and became more theoretical and academic. Aristotle's works were read as independent theoretical treatises
on cosmology, physics, metaphysics, biology and psychology, supported by a training in logic and scientific reasoning.
Metaphysics, ontology and logic became the main themes in philosophy in those days. The happiness doctrine had become a matter of Christian faith.
And here we see a fundamental difference between Descartes and Spinoza. Just take the title of an important work of Descartes:
“Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison et chercher la vérité dans les sciences” [1637] (Discourse on the Method of rightly using reason and seeking truth in science).
And of course his most important work “Meditationes de Prima Philosophia” (1641) and with Prima Philosophia was meant “Metaphysics”.
So you could say that the Cartesian philosophy was a perfect example of the academic philosophy of his time.
And here we discover the unique position of Spinoza in the history of European philosophy. The goal of his philosophy is not academic,
but in it he returns to the roots and origine of philosophy, which had been forgotten for at least 1500 years,
which started with the Ancient Greek: the desire for wisdom  as a manifestation of a more general desire of man, the pursuit of happiness. 
The titles of the main works by Spinoza tell the story, of which “Ethica ordine geometrico demonstrata” (1677) is one of the most important.
Thank you…feel free to ask questions or add your thoughts to our discussion… ^_^

The Discussion

[13:18] herman Bergson: Of course in the coming lectures we'll follow Spinoza on his quest
[13:18] Daruma Boa: I like the sentence: the desire for wisdom  as a manifestation of a more general desire of man, the pursuit of happiness.
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah yes me too
[13:19] herman Bergson: Well that is what we all long for, I assume
[13:19] Daruma Boa: yes we do.
[13:19] herman Bergson: and also religions are  trying to offer a way to find it
[13:19] CB Axel: Yes, but not until after death.
[13:20] herman Bergson: buddhism is n this context interesting...not being a religion actually
[13:20] Daruma Boa: yes a lot of ways there are. the hardest is to fid the right one for yourelf
[13:20] herman Bergson: but a true proof of a philosophy sharing the same golas as the  Ancient Greek
[13:21] herman Bergson: finding the right way is probably the most complex problem
[13:21] herman Bergson: It was Spinoza's main theme
[13:22] Daruma Boa: and finding the way it is totally important to know yourself very good.
[13:22] herman Bergson: What is an interesting question is ..why stepped Spinoza outside the philosophical traditions of his time....
[13:23] herman Bergson: and he is unique in doing that then and there
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:23] herman Bergson: I'll elaborate on that question in my next lecture
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): maybe he wasn’t satisfied and thought there had to be something else to it
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): something like that
[13:24] herman Bergson: he definitely wasn't satisfied indeed Bejiita :-)
[13:25] Daruma Boa: i guess the feeling of being not satisfied keeps us humans going inlife
[13:25] Daruma Boa: otherwise we fall asleep on the couch
[13:25] CB Axel: Falling asleep on the couch is very satisfying.
[13:25] herman Bergson: Don't say that to a philosopher Daruma....
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:25] Daruma Boa: *GIGGLES* :)~~~~ cb
[13:25] Daruma Boa: why herman?
[13:26] herman Bergson: What man keeps, or should keep him going should not be dissatisfaction, I'd say, but wonder.....wonder about everything
[13:26] Daruma Boa: yes this also
[13:26] herman Bergson: the desire of wisdom....
[13:26] herman Bergson: and thence the pursuit of happiness
[13:26] Daruma Boa: but mostly: I can get no satisfaction;-)
[13:27] Daruma Boa: or what is the meaning of life.
[13:27] herman Bergson: But satisfaction is killing Daruma.....
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:27] herman Bergson: What to do when you ARE statisfied....all comes to a stand still then
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess we all need something to chase for, not just pokemons and new particle physics stuff
[13:27] Daruma Boa: you find antoher thing to follow up
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:28] Daruma Boa: no pokemons? ui
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we need challenges in general
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): to keep us occupied
[13:28] herman Bergson: but living from dissatisfaction to dissatisfacion....??????
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): being dissatisfied im not so sure thugh is something we want
[13:28] Daruma Boa: dissatisfaction gives questions
[13:28] herman Bergson: Being dissatisfied is a pretty negative feeling....
[13:29] Daruma Boa: and questions want to be answered
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:29] herman Bergson: wondering about things gives questions :-)
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but if you are not satisfied you want to change it so you get satisfied
[13:29] Daruma Boa: can also
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and that maybe how Spinoza thought
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that this picture is not complete sort of
[13:30] Daruma Boa: but wondering is not such a strong feeling. you must get pushed out of your comfort zone
[13:30] Daruma Boa: to walk on and try to find answers
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:30] herman Bergson: I don't think there is any philosopher who took dissatisfaction as the driving force in life....
[13:30] herman Bergson: Maybe only consumers do....^_*
[13:30] Daruma Boa: ja because u studied it;)
[13:30] Daruma Boa: thats a part of the game^^
[13:30] herman Bergson smiles
[13:30] Daruma Boa: but not for "normal" human beings
[13:31] herman Bergson: This could become a pretty difficult discussion :-)
[13:31] Daruma Boa: dat kan^^
[13:32] herman Bergson: Spinoza actually will show you that dissatisfaction is not the right path to take
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what is a 'normal'human Daruma?
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ever met one?
[13:32] herman Bergson: asked the we go :-))
[13:32] Daruma Boa: lol, no I mean with this someone who does not study philosophy
[13:33] Daruma Boa: someone who tries to get through life
[13:33] Daruma Boa: like me for example
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well I have at least one answer....I know what NOT a noraml human is: ME ^_^
[13:33] herman Bergson: Daruma said so :-)
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): omg
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): even on your birthday
[13:34] herman Bergson grins
[13:34] herman Bergson: I know how she meant it :-))
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[13:34] Daruma Boa: *GIGGLES* :)~~~~
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok where did my saiyan hair go?
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:34] herman Bergson: But in return I could say that you all then are not normal humans due to your interest in Philosophy ^_^
[13:35] herman Bergson: ahah.....
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:35] ɑsɦℓєɨɢɦ (ashleigh.alderbury): we are probably not normal humans for a lot of reasons. much less our interest int he philosophical arts
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): normal is sooooooooo BOOORING!
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): after all, what is normal?
[13:36] ɑsɦℓєɨɢɦ (ashleigh.alderbury): i believe the average normal human is probably watching american idol or something right now.
[13:36] Daruma Boa: haha nice
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i have to huge storm is coming....
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): see you all later
[13:36] CB Axel: I don't think I've ever met a normal human.
[13:36] ɑsɦℓєɨɢɦ (ashleigh.alderbury): bye B
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye
[13:36] herman Bergson: Ok...Night Beertje :-)
[13:36] CB Axel: Take care, Beertje.
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu beertje
[13:37] herman Bergson: If anyone likes a piece of cake...feel free to take some :-)
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that looks tasty
[13:37] Daruma Boa: Käsekuchen?
[13:37] Daruma Boa: thank u!
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Loves cheesecake!
[13:38] CB Axel: Me, too!
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so much some of my friends call me th cheesecake monster
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: oh yes cheesecake:-)
[13:38] herman Bergson: Well....time to party then or something like that :-)
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and yes i can eat philadelphia and similar stuff right out of the can
[13:39] bergfrau Apfelbaum: oh yes letsplay your new game
[13:39] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your interest....
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:39] Daruma Boa: Thanks 4 the lesson
[13:39] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty for all herman, all the years!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY

[13:39] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...

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