Weer kan ik wijzen
op een mogelijk interessante dissertatie die ik op internet tegenkwam
Misiewicz, Free for Eternity. Spinoza's
Philosophical Eschatology. A PhD dissertation presented to The School of
Arts & Humanities King's College London, 2014 [PDF]
Ik neem om een indruk te krijgen het begin
van de inleiding over.
In the following
dissertation, I defend the claim that Spinoza’s seemingly intractable notion of
the ‘eternity of the mind’, as developed in the last pages of the Ethics, is greatly
illuminated by considering it in the light of his views on human freedom.
Both freedom (libertas) and eternity (æternitas), as
defined by Spinoza, concern the necessity (necessitas) with which the existence of an entity is determined by its own nature.
While ‘[t]hat thing is called free which exists from the necessity of its
nature alone’, ‘eternity is existence itself, insofar as it is conceived to
follow necessarily from the definition alone of the eternal thing’.2 If this is
correct, then the extent to which we human beings can partake in eternity, ‘the
very essence of God insofar as this involves necessary existence’, depends on
the extent to which we can achieve genuine freedom.3 But human freedom, for
Spinoza, is attainable only in ‘this life’, not in the ‘hereafter’. So,
although the title of this dissertation, ‘Free for Eternity’, may seem to imply
an indefinite stretch of time, extending beyond a single lifetime, it is not
intended to do so. It points instead to the conceptual relationship whereby freedom
is for, or stands for, a kind of existence that Spinoza regards as eternal.
The passage in
question draws a work of staggering philosophical scope and ambition to its
climactic close, but continues to frustrate and enchant critics in equal measure,
three and a half centuries after first appearing in print. The difficulty owes as
much to the strict geometrical necessity with which it implicates the entire preceding
work, as it does to the puzzle posed by the doctrine that it appears to convey.
With the interpretation that I put forward in this dissertation, I hope to cast
some light on the subject. Although previous attempts to decipher the passage
are numerous – and many ingenious in execution – I am hopeful that the as-yet unexplored
(or, at least, underexplored) angle from which I approach the question will
serve to further our general understanding and appreciation of this aspect of Spinoza’s
The originality of
my contribution will lie in the use that I make of Spinoza’s philosophy of
freedom as an interpretative key to his thought on the eternity of the mind.
[etc. zie aldaar]