By Erri De Luca
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CX) Scientific knowledge, therefore, must begin from selfevident axioms, which treat of essences. And it must proceed therefrom by the method of clear and distinct ideas: in other words, by deduction. The seventeenth-century philosopher had a paradigm of such a rational science in the geometry of Euclid, which seemed precisely to begin from self-evident premises, and to proceed by chains of clear and distinct reasoning to -29conclusions which were as compelling and as universally valid as the premises from which they were derived.
Often he will seem to grasp the whole system in its clarity: like the towers of Valhalla, however, the vision comes only with the gathering of darkness, and is no sooner granted than at once extinguished by the night. The Ethics consists of five parts. The first, 'Concerning God', outlines Spinoza's version of the ontological argument, and his theory that God is not distinct from the world, but immanent within it. The second, 'Concerning the nature and origin of the mind', contains a succinct and fascinating summary of Spinoza's physics, while principally addressing itself to the major problem of Cartesian philosophy: that of the relation between mind and matter.
Such difficulties were less apparent to the Cartesians than they are to us. The method of 'clear and distinct ideas' was taken to have solved the fundamental problem of knowledge: it seemed to provide the bridge from inner to outer, from the certainty attached to our reasoning, to the world about which we think. Spinoza subscribed to a modified form of Descartes' method, and drew the standard philosophical conclusion. He became convinced that the fundamental premises of human knowledge must be established, not by experience but by reason, since reason alone can provide insight into the essence of things–an essence being precisely that which is captured in a 'clear and distinct idea'.
E disse by Erri De Luca