A Comprehension of Spinoza's God : through the Dichotomy of Labels

Dissertation, Lund University (2015)
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The 17th century philosopher Spinoza is known for his concept of God as One Substance, God or Nature and therefore considered as a monist and categorized as a naturalist. He has been labeled an atheist and God-intoxicated man, as well as a determinist and pantheist, which I perceive to be dichotomies. The problem, as I see it, is that Spinoza’s philosophy and concept of God has mainly been interpreted through a dualistic mind-set, traditional to philosophers and theologians of the West, but Spinoza has a monistic worldview, and this has consequences in regards to the comprehension of what Spinoza’s concept of God entails and what a relationship “with” God implies. The labels panentheist and necessitarianist are discussed and the label of theologian argued. The thesis methodology is constructive because the purpose is to provide a theoretical foundation that has the potential to be applied in dialogues about God between the vast varieties of believers and non-believers alike, as well as across boundaries of contradicting worldviews and academic disciplines, and this focus on functionalism is inspired by a theory that calls for the furthering of inter-disciplinary dialogue between the subject areas philosophy of religion and theology specifically. My personal worldview is that there might well be One Substance, God or Nature, but that does not necessarily mean that there is one truth that is valid, but rather that all truth claims may be of value. The thesis therefore provides yet another lens through which one can view and relate to the attitude of there being an “Other” or “others.”



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References found in this work

Spinoza, practical philosophy.Gilles Deleuze - 1988 - San Francisco: City Lights Books.
Spinoza.Michael Della Rocca - 2008 - New York: Routledge.
Rationalism and Necessitarianism.Martin Lin - 2012 - Noûs 46 (3):418-448.
Spinoza and the politics of renaturalization.Hasana Sharp - 2011 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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