Spinoza on Belief and Error

Jonathan Bennett

in Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 1

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198250913
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597053 | DOI:

Series: Learning from Six Philosophers (2 Volumes)

 Spinoza on Belief and Error

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Spinoza contends for something propositional in sensory intake; it is argued that he is moving towards the view of Armstrong and others that basic sensory intake consists in inclinations to believe. The chapter explains and criticizes his view that all so‐called error is a species of ignorance. His treatment of mental representation involves, but only covertly, two notions of ‘idea of’—an idea is directly of a state of one's body, and may be indirectly of some external thing that caused that state. His notion of ‘adequate idea’ and the associated notions of mutilation and confusion are dealt with. The chapter also describes his ingenious attempt to explain why reason is infallible.

Keywords: Armstrong; confusion; error; idea; ignorance; representation; sensation; Spinoza

Chapter.  11277 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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