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Spinoza, Logic, and Geometry

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Geometry and Deduction

George Henry Lewes — the husband of the first translator of Spinoza’s Ethics into English — tried to explain why Spinoza was wrong to take geometry as a model for metaphysics:

Geometry never quits the sphere of its first assumption, that its axioms retain their necessary clearness, and its consequences their necessary truth. It begins with lines and surfaces, with lines and surfaces it ends; it is a purely subjective and deductive science (‘Spinoza’s Life and Works’, Fortnightly Review (1843), 214).

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Absolute Generality, Syllogistic, and Divine Omnipotence

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have previously written about Spinoza’s rejection of a standard theological argument against his belief that God produces everything it is in his power to produce. The argument, roughly, is that if God produces everything it is in his power to produce, then there must be some limit on his power. Supposing that God produces a race of giants to the extent of his power, take the tallest giant in the race; it must be that God could not have produced a taller one.

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Pythagoras and Us

I’ve switched to posting on this personal blog site instead of on Medium, because Medium clearly looks too professional: people kept wondering how such rough and unpolished writing could ‘get published’ and lamenting the decline of standards in academic ‘publishing’. I’d hate to add to the causes for lamentation in this world, so hopefully this medium looks more appropriately bloglike and nobody will be misled.

Pythagoras on the Purpose of Life and the Meaning of Wisdom – Brain Pickings

As my first topic here, I had a thought about Max Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH). Tegmark is an overt Pythagorean, and Pythagoreanism, as I see it, vindicates a very strong form of rationalism: the view that a priori, non-empirical thinking can yield all the knowledge we are capable of having.

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