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Ethics - Part Two: On the Nature and Origin of the Mind Summary & Analysis

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Part Two attempts to explain the nature of mind in terms of a single master concept - an idea. Ideas aren't mere passive objects of the mind, as we typically think of them. Instead, an idea is the activity of thought; ideas essentially involve some positive endorsement or rejection. Part Two has four clearly delineated parts, which cover (i) the relation between mind and body, (ii) relation between ideas and mind, (iii) the external determination of the mind and (iv) the internal determination of the mind.

Recall that God has two attributes: thought and extension. Recall further that substances have modes through an attribute. Spinoza argues that we can only grasp the nature of a mode through grasping its attribute. Therefore, we cannot understand extension (read: the...

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