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By René Descartes

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Additional resources for Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy (4th Edition)

Example text

Hence Franz Baader correctly states that it would desirable that human depravity only go to the point of becoming animals; but unfortunately the human can only stand under or above animals” (I/7, 373). Animals live in unity with the Good because, lacking understanding or Verstand, they cannot come to believe that they understand themselves and in having so constituted themselves remove themselves from continuity with the life of things and the band of the living, antinomic potencies of the Good and the True.

This page intentionally left blank. 2 Theos Kai Pan Right from the beginning, Spinoza was a decisive philosopher for Schelling. This may now sound like yet another dusty little truth in the museums and archives of philosophy, but in Schelling’s day, to embrace Spinoza was to dance with the devil and pantheism was the witches’ brew served at this demonic party. ”1 Now as bored college students sleep through class lectures and discussions on Continental Rationalism, it seems hard to imagine why Spinoza feared for his life were he to publish his Ethics, or why people were punished for reading it, or why records were kept of those who had read it in a way not altogether dissimilar to the way the FBI now keeps records on terrorists or even its own citizens.

2 Moreover, the lack of a transcendent teleology is the lack of an inherent meaningfulness to the world and to our lives and actions. If God, bound by the goodness of its nature, had not provided for us by creating according to design with some final goal, if God was just playing around, so to speak, then who could object, as King Lear has it, that we are to the gods as flies to wanton boys, killed for their sport? Against Spinoza would stand what Nietzsche THEOS KAI PAN 35 once called the ascetic ideal, which is an “expression of the human will, its horror vacui,” its horror before emptiness, which, in turn, leaves the will feeling needy and impoverished.

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