Spinoza's Theory of Attributes

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Abstract

Attributes sit at the very heart of Spinoza’s metaphysics. They enable us to understand and talk about an extended world and a thinking world in terms of which we understand such things as bodies and minds. Furthermore, it is due to the relation of attributes to one another and to the infinite substance that an elegant resolution to the Cartesian mind–body problem is possible. Attributes furnish Spinoza’s substance with variety while preventing it from being an ephemeral, homogenous totality—an eleatic “one” of which nothing can be said or known. They constitute variety without dissolving the infinite substance into multiple substances.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
EditorsEdward N. Zalta
PublisherStanford University Press
StatePublished - 2018

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