The Rationalists: Descartes: Discourse on Method & Meditations; Spinoza: Ethics; Leibniz: Monadology & Discourse on Metaphysics
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Founded in the mid-17th century, Rationalism was philosophy's first step into the modern era. This volume contains the essential statements of Rationalism's three greatest figures: Descartes, who began it; Spinoza, who epitomized it; and Leibniz, who gave it its last serious expression.
The knowledge of evil is an inadequate knowledge. Proof.—The knowledge of evil (IV. viii.) is pain, in so far as we are conscious thereof. Now pain is the transition to a lesser perfection (Def. of the Emotions, iii.) and therefore cannot be understood through man’s nature (III. vi. and vii.); therefore it is a passive state (III. Def. ii.) which (III. iii.) depends on inadequate ideas; consequently the knowledge thereof (II. xxix.), namely, the knowledge of evil, is inadequate. Q.E.D.
raised objections to it; indeed, he was inclined to believe that I attributed too much to God, and more than it is possible to attribute to him: But he was unable to bring forward any reason why this universal harmony which causes every substance to express exactly all others through the relation which it has with them is impossible. 60. Besides, in what has just been said can be seen the a priori reasons why things cannot be otherwise than they are. It is because God, in ordering the whole, has
of every body, or of every particular thing actually existing, necessarily involves the eternal and infinite essence of God PROP. XLVI. The knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God, which every idea involves, is adequate and perfect PROP. XLVII. The human mind has an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God PROP. XLVIII. In the mind there is no absolute or free will; but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by
to state them, but that of the public, perhaps, to know them. I have never made much account of what has proceeded from my own mind; and so long as I gathered no other advantage from the method I employ beyond satisfying myself on some difficulties belonging to the speculative sciences, or endeavouring to regulate my actions according to the principles it taught me, I never thought myself bound to publish anything respecting it. For in what regards manners, every one is so full of his own
being composed of mind and body. But nature, taking the term in the sense explained, teaches me to shun what causes in me the sensation of pain, and to pursue what affords me the sensation of pleasure, and other things of this sort; but I do not discover that it teaches me, in addition to this, from these diverse perceptions of the senses, to draw any conclusions respecting external objects without a previous [careful and mature] consideration of them by the mind: for it is, as appears to me, the