CARTESIANISM,  the general name given to the philosophy developed principally in the works of Descartes, Malebranche and Spinoza. It is impossible to exhibit the full meaning of these authors except in connexion, for they are all ruled by one and the same thought in different stages of its evolution. It may be true that Malebranche and Spinoza were prepared, the former by the study of Augustine, the latter by the study of Jewish philosophy, to draw from Cartesian principles consequences which Descartes never anticipated. But the foreign light did not alter the picture on which it was cast, but only let it be seen more clearly. The consequences were legitimately drawn. It may be shown that they lay in the system from the first, and that they were evolved by nothing but its own immanent dialectic. At the same time it is not likely that they would ever have been brought into such clear consciousness, or expressed with such consistency, except by a philosopher whose circumstances and character had completely detached him from all the convictions and prejudices of the age. In Malebranche, Cartesianism found an interpreter whose meditative spirit was fostered by the cloister, but whose speculative boldness was restrained by the traditions of the Catholic church. In Spinoza it found one who was in spirit and position more completely isolated than any monk, who was removed from the influence of the religious as well as the secular world of his time, and who in his solitude seemed scarcely ever to hear any voice but the voice of philosophy. It is because Cartesianism found such a pure organ of expression that its development is, in some sense, complete and typical. Its principles have been carried to their ultimate result, and we have before us all the data necessary to determine their value.
The Philosophy of Descartes. - Descartes was, in the full sense of the word, a partaker of the modern spirit. He was equally moved by the tendencies that produced the Reformation, and the tendencies that produced the revival of letters and science. Like Erasmus and Bacon, he sought to escape from a transcendent and unreal philosophy of the other world, to the knowledge of man and the world he lives in. But like Luther, he found within human experience, among the matters nearest to man, the consciousness of God, and therefore his renunciation of scholasticism did not end either in materialism or in that absolute distinction between faith and reason which inevitably leads to the downfall of faith. What was peculiar to Descartes, however, was the speculative interest which made it impossible for him to rest in mere experience, whether of things spiritual or of things secular, which made him search, both in our consciousness of God and our consciousness of the world, for the links by which they are bound to the consciousness of self. In both cases it is his aim to go back to the beginning, to retrace the unconscious process by which the world of experience was built up, to discover the hidden logic that connects the different parts of the structure of belief, to substitute a reasoned system, all whose elements are interdependent, for an unreasoned congeries of opinions. Hence his first step involves reflection, doubt and abstraction. Turning the eye of reason upon itself, he tries to measure the value of that collection of beliefs of which he finds himself possessed; and the first thing that reflection seems to discover is its accidental and unconnected character. It is a mass of incongruous materials, accumulated without system and untested. Its elements have been put together under all kinds of influences, without any conscious intellectual process, and therefore we can have no assurance of them. In order that we may have such assurance we must unweave the web of experience and thought which we have woven in our sleep, that we may begin again at the beginning and weave it over again with "clear and distinct" consciousness of what we are doing. De omnibus dubitandum est. We must free ourselves by one decisive effort from the weight of custom, prejudice and tradition with which our consciousness of the world has been overlaid, that in that consciousness in its simplest and most elementary form we may find the true beginning of knowledge. The method of doubt is at the same time a method of abstraction, by which Descartes rises above the thought of the particular objects of knowledge, in order that he may find the primary truth in which lies the very definition of knowledge, of the reason why anything can be said to be true. First disappears the whole mass of dogmas and opinions as to God and man which are confessedly received on mere authority. Then the supposed evidence of sense is rejected, for external reality is not immediately given in sensation. It is acknowledged by all that the senses often mislead us as to the nature of things without us, and perhaps they may also mislead us as to there being anything without us at all. Nay, by an effort, we can even carry doubt beyond this point; we can doubt even mathematical truth. When, indeed, we have our thoughts directed to the geometrical demonstration, when the steps of the process are immediately before our minds, we cannot but assent to the proposition that the angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles; but when we forget or turn away our thoughts from such demonstration, we can imagine that God or some powerful spirit is playing upon our minds to deceive them, also that even our most certain judgments may be illusory. In this naïve manner does Descartes express the idea that there are necessities of thought prior to, and presupposed in the truth of geometry. He is seeking to strip thought of all the "lendings" that seem to come to it from anything but itself, of all relation to being that can be supposed to be given to it from without, that he may discover the primary unity of thought and being on which all knowledge depends. And this he finds in pure self-consciousness. Whatever I abstract from, I cannot abstract from self, from the "I think" that, as Kant puts it, accompanies all our ideas; for it was in fact the very independence of this universal element on the particulars that made all our previous abstraction possible. Even doubt rests on certitude; alone with self I cannot get rid of this self. By an effort of thought I separate my thinking self from all that I think, but the thinking self remains, and in thinking I am. Cogito, ergo sum: "I think, therefore I am." The objective judgment of self-consciousness is bound up with or involved in the very faculty of judging, and therefore remains when we abstract from all other objective judgments. It is an assertion involved in the very process by which we dismiss all other assertions. Have we not then a right to regard it as a primitive unity of thought and being, in which is contained, or out of which may be developed, the very definition of truth?
Difficulties of the "cogito, ergo sum."
The sense in which Descartes understood his first principle becomes clearer when we look at his answers to the objections made against it. On the one hand it was challenged by those who asked, like Gassendi, why the argument should be based especially on thought, and why we might not say with as good a right, ambulo, ergo sum: "I walk, therefore I am." Descartes explains that it is only as referred to consciousness that walking is an evidence of my existence; but if I say, "I am conscious of walking, therefore I exist," this is equivalent to saying, "I think in one particular way, therefore I exist." But it is not thinking in a particular way, but thinking in general that is coextensive with my existence. I am not always conscious of walking or of any other special state or object, but I am always conscious, for except in consciousness there is no ego or self, and where there is consciousness there is always an ego. "Do I then always think, even in sleep?" asks the objector; and Descartes exposes himself to the criticisms of Locke, by maintaining that it is impossible that there should ever be an interval in the activity of consciousness, and by insisting that as man is essentially a thinking substance, the child thinks, or is self-conscious, even in its mother's womb. The difficulty disappears when we observe that the question as to the conditions under which self-consciousness is developed in the individual human subject does not affect the nature of self-consciousness in itself or in its relation to knowledge. The force of Descartes's argument really lies in this, that the world as an intelligible world exists only for a conscious self, and that therefore the unity of thought and being in self-consciousness is presupposed in all knowledge. Of this self it is true to say that it exists only as it thinks, and that it thinks always. Cogito, ergo sum is, as Descartes points out, not a syllogism, but the expression of an identity which is discerned by the simple intuition of the mind.  If it were otherwise, the major "omne quod cogitat existit" would require to have been known before the minor "cogito"; whereas on the contrary it is from the immediate consciousness of being as contained in self-consciousness that that major can alone be derived. Again, when Hobbes and others argued that thinking is or may be a property of a material substance, Descartes answers that the question whether the material and the thinking substance are one does not meet us at the outset, but can only be solved after we have considered what is involved in the conception of these different substances respectively.  In other words, to begin by treating thinking as a quality of a material substance, is to go outside of the intelligible world for an explanation of the intelligible world. It is to ask for something prior to that which is first in thought. If it be true that the consciousness of self is that from which we cannot abstract, that which is involved in the knowledge of anything, then to go beyond it and seek for a reason or explanation of it in anything else is to go beyond the beginning of knowledge; it is to ask for a knowledge before knowledge.
Descartes, however, is himself unfaithful to this point of view; for, strictly taken, it would involve the consequence, not only that there is nothing prior to the pure consciousness of self, but that there can be no object which is not in necessary relation to it. Hence there can be no absolute opposition between thought and anything else, no opposition which thought itself does not transcend. But Descartes commits the error of making thought the property of a substance, a res cogitans, which as such can immediately or directly apprehend nothing but thoughts or ideas; while, altogether outside of these thoughts and ideas, there is another substance characterized by the property of extension, and with which thought has nothing to do. Matter in space is thus changed, in Kantian language, into a "thing in itself," an object out of all relation to the subject; and on the other hand, mind seems to be shut up in the magic circle of its own ideas, without any capacity of breaking through the circle or apprehending any reality but itself. Between thought and being, in spite of their subjective unity in self-consciousness, a great gulf seems still to be fixed, which cannot be crossed unless thought should become extended, or matter think. But to Descartes the dualism is absolute, because it is a presupposition with which he starts. Mind cannot go out of itself, cannot deal with anything but thought, without ceasing to be mind; and matter must cease to be matter ere it can lose its absolute externality, its nature as having partes extra partes, and acquire the unity of mind. They are opposed as the divisible and the indivisible, and there is no possible existence of matter in thought except a representative existence. The ideal (or, as Descartes calls it, objective) existence of matter in thought and the real (or, as Descartes calls it, formal) existence of matter out of thought are absolutely different and independent things.
Proof of existence of God
It was, however, impossible for Descartes to be content with a subjective idealism that confined all knowledge to the tautological expression of self-consciousness "I am I," "What I perceive I perceive." If the individual is to find in his self-consciousness the principle of all knowledge, there must be something in it which transcends the distinction of self and not self, which carries him beyond the limit of his own individuality. What then is the point where the subjective consciousness passes out into the objective, from which it seemed at first absolutely excluded? Descartes answers that it is through the connexion of the consciousness of self with the consciousness of God. It is because we find God in our minds that we find anything else. The proof of God's existence is therefore the hinge on which the whole Cartesian philosophy turns, and it is necessary to examine the nature of it somewhat closely.
Descartes, in the first place, tries to extract a criterion of truth out of the cogito, ergo sum. Why am I assured of my own existence? It is because the conception of existence is at once and immediately involved in the consciousness of self. I can logically distinguish the two elements, but I cannot separate them; whenever I clearly and distinctly conceive the one, I am forced to think the other along with it. But this gives me a rule for all judgments whatever, a principle which is related to the cogito, ergo sum as the formal to the material principle of knowledge. Whatever we cannot separate from the clear and distinct conception of anything, necessarily belongs to it in reality; and on the other hand, whatever we can separate from the clear and distinct conception of anything, does not necessarily belong to it in reality. Let us therefore set an object clearly before us, let us sever it in thought so far as is possible from all other objects, and we shall at once be able to determine what properties and relations are essential and what are not essential to it. And if we find empirically that any object manifests a property or relation not involved in the clear and distinct conception of it, we can say with certainty that such property or relation does not belong to it except by arbitrary arrangement, or, in other words, by the external combination of things which in their own nature have no affinity or connexion.
Now, by the application of this principle, we might at once assure ourselves of many mathematical truths; but, as has been already shown, there is a point of view from which we may doubt even these, so long as the idea of a God that deceives us is not excluded. If it is not certain that there is a God that cannot lie, it is not certain that there is an objective matter in space to which mathematical truth applies. But the existence of God may be proved in two ways. In the first place, it may be proved through the principle of causality, which is a self-evident truth. We have in our mind many ideas, and according to the principle of causality, all these ideas must be derived from something that contains a "formal" reality which corresponds to their "objective" reality, i.e. which contains at least as much reality in its existence out of thought as they contain in their existence in thought. Now we might derive from ourselves not only the ideas of other minds like ourselves, but possibly also of material objects, since these are lower in the scale of existence than ourselves, and it is conceivable that the idea of them might be got by omitting some of the qualities which distinguish ourselves. But the idea of God, of a being who is eternal and immutable, all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good, cannot be derived from our own limited and imperfect existence. The origin, therefore, must be sought in a being who contains actually in himself all that is contained in our idea of him.
It was objected by some of the critics of Descartes that the idea of God as the infinite Being is merely negative, and that it is derived from the finite simply by abstracting from its conditions. Descartes answers that the case is just the reverse - the infinite is the positive idea, and the finite is the negative, and therefore the former is the presupposition of the latter. As Kant, at a later date, pointed out that space is not a general conception, abstracted from the ideas of particular spaces, and representing the common element in them, but that, on the contrary, the ideas of particular spaces are got by the limitation of the one infinite space that is prior to them, so Descartes maintains in general that the idea of the finite is had only by limitation of the infinite, and not the idea of the infinite by abstraction from the particular determinations of the finite. It is a necessary consequence of this that the self-consciousness of a finite being is bound up with the consciousness of the infinite. Hence the idea of God is not merely one among other ideas which we have, but it is the one idea that is necessary to our very existence as thinking beings, the idea through which alone we can think ourselves, or anything else. "I ought never to suppose," says Descartes, "that my conception of the infinite is a negative idea, got by negation of the finite, just as I conceive repose to be merely negation of movement, and darkness merely the negation of light. On the contrary, I see manifestly that there is more reality in the infinite than in the finite substance, and that therefore I have in me the notion of the infinite, even in some sense prior to the notion of the finite, or, in other words, that the notion of myself in some sense presupposes the notion of God; for how could I doubt or desire, how could I be conscious of anything as a want, how could I know that I am not altogether perfect, if I had not in me the idea of a being more perfect than myself, by comparison with whom I recognize the defects of my own existence?"  Descartes then goes on in various ways to illustrate the thesis that the consciousness of a defective and growing nature cannot give rise to the idea of infinite perfection, but on the contrary presupposes it. We could not think of a series of approximations unless there were somehow present to us the idea of the completed infinite as the goal we aim at. If we had not the consciousness of ourselves as finite in relation to the infinite, either we should not be conscious of ourselves at all, or we should be conscious of ourselves as infinite. The image of God is so impressed by him upon us, that we "conceive that resemblance wherein the idea of God is contained by the same faculty whereby we are conscious of ourselves." In other words, our consciousness of ourselves is at the same time consciousness of our finitude, and hence of our relation to a being who is infinite.
The principle which underlies the reasoning of Descartes is that to be conscious of a limit, is to transcend it. We could not feel the limits either upon our thought or upon our existence, we could not doubt or desire, if we did not already apprehend something beyond these limits. Nay, we could not be conscious of our existence as individual selves if we were not conscious of that which is not ourselves, and of a unity in which both self and not-self are included. Our individual life is therefore to us as self-conscious beings a part of a wider universal life. Doubt and aspiration are but the manifestation of this essential division and contradiction of a nature which, as conscious of itself, is at the same time conscious of the whole in which it is a part. And as the existence of a self and its consciousness are one, so we may say that a thinking being is not only an individual, but always in some sense identified with that universal unity of being to which it is essentially related.
If Descartes had followed out this line of thought, he would have been led at once to the pantheism of Spinoza, if not beyond it. As it is, he is on the verge of contradiction with himself when he speaks of the consciousness of God as in some sense prior to the consciousness of self. How can anything be prior to the first principle of knowledge? It is no answer to say that the consciousness of God is the principium essendi, while the consciousness of self is the principium cognoscendi. For, if the idea of God is prior to the idea of self, knowledge must begin where existence begins, with God. The words "in some sense," with which Descartes qualifies his assertion of the priority of the idea of God, only betray his hesitation and his partial consciousness of the contradiction in which he is involved. Some of Descartes's critics presented this difficulty to him in another form, and accused him of reasoning in a circle when he said that it is because God cannot lie that we are certain that our clear and distinct ideas do not deceive us. The very existence of the conscious self, the cogito, ergo sum, which is the first of all truths and therefore prior in certitude to the existence of God, is believed only because of the clearness and distinctness with which we apprehend it. How then, they argued, could God's truthfulness be our security for a principle which we must use in order to prove the being of God? The answer of Descartes is somewhat lame. We cannot doubt any self-evident principle, or even any truth based on a self-evident principle, when we are directly contemplating it in all the necessity of its evidence; it is only when we forget or turn away from this evidence, and begin to think of the possibility of a deceitful God, that a doubt arises which cannot be removed except by the conviction that God is true.  It can scarcely be said that this is a dignus vindice nodus, or that God can fitly appear as a kind of second-best resource to the forgetful spirit that has lost its direct hold on truth and its faith in itself. God, truth, and the human spirit are thus conceived as having merely external and accidental relations with each other. What Descartes, however, is really expressing in this exoteric way is simply that beneath and beyond all particular truths lies the great general truth of the unity of thought and existence. In contemplating particular truth, we may not consciously relate it to this unity, but when we have to defend ourselves against scepticism we are forced to realize this relation. The ultimate answer to any attack upon a special aspect or element of truth must be to show that the fate of truth itself, the very possibility of knowledge, is involved in the rejection of it, and that we cannot doubt it without doubting reason itself. But to doubt reason is, in the language of Descartes, to doubt the truthfulness of God, for, in his view, the idea of God is involved in the very constitution of reason. Taken in this way then, the import of Descartes's answer is, that the consciousness of self, like every other particular truth, is not at first seen to rest on the consciousness of God, but that when we realize what it means we see that it does so rest. But if this be so, then in making the consciousness of self his first principle of knowledge, Descartes has stopped short of the truth. It can only be the first principle if it is understood, not as the consciousness of the individual self, but in a sense in which the consciousness of self is identical with the consciousness of God.
Descartes, however, is far from a clear apprehension of the ultimate unity of thought and being, which nevertheless he strives to find in God. Beginning with an absolute separation of the res cogitans from the res extensa, he is continually falling back into dualism just when he seemed to have escaped from it. Even in God the absolute unity, idea and reality fall asunder; our idea of God is not God in us, it is only an idea of which God's existence is the cause. But the category of causality, if it forms a bridge between different things, as here between knowing and being, at the same time repels them from each other. It is a category of external relation which may be adequate to express the relation of the finite to the finite, but not the relation of the finite to the infinite. We cannot conceive God as the cause of our idea of him, without making God a purely objective and therefore finite existence. Nor is the case better when we turn to the so-called ontological argument, - that existence is necessarily involved in the idea of God, just as the property of having its angles equal to two right angles is involved in the idea of a triangle. If indeed we understood this as meaning that thought transcends the distinction between itself and existence, and that therefore existence cannot be a thing in itself out of thought, but must be an intelligible world that exists as such only for the thinking being, there is some force in the argument. But this meaning we cannot find in Descartes, or to find it we must make him inconsistent with himself. He was so far from having quelled the phantom "thing in itself," that he treated matter in space as such a thing, and thus confused externality of space with externality to the mind. On this dualistic basis, the ontological argument becomes a manifest paralogism, and lies open to all the objections that Kant brought against it. That the idea of God involves existence, proves only that God, if he exists at all, exists by the necessity of his being. But the link that shall bind thought to existence is still wanting, and, in consistency with the other presuppositions of Descartes, it cannot be supplied.
But again, even if we allow to Descartes that God is the unity of thought and being, we must still ask what kind of unity? Is it a mere generic unity, reached by abstraction, and therefore leaving out all the distinguishing characteristics of the particulars under it? Or is it a concrete unity to which the particular elements are subordinated, but in which they are nevertheless included? To answer this question, we need only look at the relation of the finite to the infinite, as it is expressed in that passage already quoted, and in many others. Descartes always speaks of the infinite as a purely affirmative or positive existence, and of the finite in so far as it is distinguished from the infinite, as purely negative, or in other words as a nonentity. "I am," he says, "a mean between God and nothing, between the Supreme Being and not-being. In so far as I am created by God, there is nothing in me that can deceive me or lead me into error. But on the other hand, if I consider myself as participating in nothingness or not-being, inasmuch as I am not myself the Supreme Being, but in many ways defective, I find myself exposed to an infinity of errors. Thus error as such is not something real that depends on God, but simply a defect; I do not need to explain it by means of any special faculty bestowed on me by God, but merely by the fact that the faculty for discerning truth from error with which he has endowed me, is not infinite."  But if we follow out this principle to its logical result, we must say not only that error is a consequence of finitude, but also that the very existence of the finite as such is an error or illusion. All finitude, all determination, according to the well-known Spinozistic aphorism, is negation, and negation cannot constitute reality. To know the reality of things, therefore, we have to abstract from their limits, or in other words, the only reality is the infinite. Finite being, qua finite, has no existence, and finite self-consciousness, consciousness of a self in opposition to or limited by a not-self, is an illusion. But Descartes does not thus reason. He does not see "anything in the nature of the infinite which should exclude the existence of finite things." "What," he asks, "would become of the power of that imaginary infinite if it could create nothing? Perceiving in ourselves the power of thinking, we can easily conceive that there should be a greater intelligence elsewhere. And even if we should suppose that intelligence increased ad infinitum, we need not fear that our own would be lessened. And the same is true of all other attributes which we ascribe to God, even of his power, provided only that we do not suppose that the power in us is not subjected to God's will. In all points, therefore, he is infinite without any exclusion of created things."  The truth of this view we need not dispute; the question is as to its consistency with Cartesian principles. It may be a higher idea of God to conceive him as revealing himself in and to finite creatures; but it is a different idea from that which is implied in Descartes's explanations of error. It is an inconsistency that brings Descartes nearer to Christianity, and nearer, it may also be said, to a true metaphysic; but it is not the less an inconsistency with his fundamental principles, which necessarily disappears in their subsequent development. To conceive the finite as constituted not merely by the absence of some of the positive elements of the infinite, but as in necessary unity with the infinite; to conceive the infinite as not merely that which has no limits or determinations, but as that which is self-determined and self-manifesting, which through all finitude and manifestation returns upon itself, may not be erroneous. But it would not be difficult to show that the adoption of such a conception involves the rejection or modification of almost every doctrine of the Cartesian system.
Mind and matter
In connexion with this inconsistency we may notice the very different relations in which Descartes conceives mind on the one side and matter on the other, to stand towards God, who yet is the cause of both, and must therefore, by the principle of causality, contain in himself all that is in both. Matter and mind are to Descartes absolute opposites. Whatever can be asserted of mind can be denied of matter, whatever can be asserted of matter can be denied of mind. Matter is passive, mind is active; matter is extended, and therefore divisible ad infinitum; mind is an indivisible unity. In fact, though of this Descartes is not conscious, the determination of the one is mediated by its opposition to the other; the ideas of object and subject, the self and not-self, are terms of a relation distinguishable but inseparable. But in the idea of God we must find a unity which transcends this difference in one way or another, whether by combining the two under a higher notion, or, as it would be more natural to expect on Cartesian principles, by abstracting equally from the particular characteristics of both. Descartes really does neither, or rather he acts partly on the one principle and partly on the other. In his idea of God he abstracts from the properties of matter but not from those of mind. "God," he says, "contains in himself formaliter all that is in mind, but only eminenter all that is in matter";  or, as he elsewhere expresses it more popularly, he is mind, but he is only the creator of matter. And for this he gives as his reason, that matter as being divisible and passive is essentially imperfect. Ipsa natura corporis multas imperfectiones involvit, and, therefore, "there is more analogy between sounds and colours than there is between material things and God." But the real imperfection here lies in the abstractness of the Cartesian conception of matter as merely extended, merely passive; and this is balanced by the equal abstractness of the conception of mind or self-consciousness as an absolutely simple activity, a pure intelligence without any object but itself. If matter as absolutely opposed to mind is imperfect, mind as absolutely opposed to matter is equally imperfect. In fact they are the elements or factors of a unity, and lose all meaning when severed from each other, and if we are to seek this unity by abstraction, we must equally abstract from both.
The result of this one-sidedness is seen in the fact that Descartes, who begins by separating mind from matter, ends by finding the essence of mind in pure will, i.e. in pure formal self-determination. Hence God's will is conceived as absolutely arbitrary, not determined by any end or law, for all laws, even the necessary truths that constitute reason, spring from God's determination, and do not precede it. "He is the author of the essence of things no less than their existence," and his will has no reason but his will. In man there is an intelligence with eternal laws or truths involved in its structure, which so far limits his will. "He finds the nature of good and truth already determined by God, and his will cannot be moved by anything else." His highest freedom consists in having his will determined by a clear perception of the nature of good and truth, and "he is never indifferent except when he is ignorant of it, or at least does not see it so clearly as to be lifted above the possibility of doubt."  Indifference of will is to him "the lowest grade of liberty," yet, on the other hand, in nothing does the image of God in him show itself more clearly than in the fact that his will is not limited by his clear and distinct knowledge, but is "in a manner infinite." For "there is no object of any will, even the infinite will of God, to which our will does not extend."  Belief is a free act, for as we can yield our assent to the obscure conceptions presented by sense and the imagination, and thus allow ourselves to be led into error, so on the other hand we can refuse to give this assent, or allow ourselves to be determined by anything but the clear and distinct ideas of intelligence. That which makes it possible for us to err is that also in which the divine image in us is most clearly seen. We cannot have the freedom of God whose will creates the object of his knowledge; but in reserving our assent for the clear and distinct perceptions of intelligence, we, as it were, re-enact for ourselves the divine law, and repeat, so far as is possible to finite beings, the transcendent act of will in which truth and good had their origin.
The inherent defect of this view is the divorce it makes between the form and the matter of intelligence. It implies that reason or self-consciousness is one thing, and that truth is another and quite different thing, which has been united to it by the arbitrary will of God. The same external conception of the relation of truth to the mind is involved in the doctrine of innate ideas. It is true that Descartes did not hold that doctrine in the coarse form in which it was attributed to him by Locke, but expressly declares that he has "never said or thought at any time that the mind required innate ideas which were separated from the faculty of thinking. He had simply used the word innate to distinguish those ideas which are derived from that faculty, and not from external objects or the determination of the will. Just as when we say generosity is innate in certain families, and in certain others diseases, like the gout or the stone, we do not mean to imply that infants in their mother's womb are affected with these complaints."  Yet Descartes, as we have seen, does not hold that these truths are involved in the very nature of intelligence as such, so that we cannot conceive a self-conscious being without them. On the contrary, we are to regard the divine intelligence as by arbitrary act determining that two and two should be four, or that envy should be a vice. We are "not to conceive eternal truth flowing from God as rays from the Sun."  In other words, we are not to conceive all particular truths as different aspects of one truth. It is part of the imperfection of man's finite nature that he "finds truth and good determined for him." It is something given, - given, indeed, along with his very faculty of thinking, but still given as an external limit to it. It belongs not to his nature as spirit, but to his finitude as man.
After what has been said, it is obvious that the transition from God to matter must be somewhat arbitrary and external. God's truthfulness is pledged for the reality of that of which we have clear and distinct ideas; and we have clear and distinct ideas of the external world so long as we conceive it simply as extended matter, infinitely divisible, and moved entirely from without, - so long, in short, as we conceive it as the direct opposite of mind, and do not attribute to it any one of the properties of mind. "Omnes proprietates, quas in ea clare percipimus, ad hoc unum reducuntur, quod sit partibilis et mobilis, secundum partes." We must, therefore, free ourselves from the obscure and confused modes of thought which arise whenever we attribute any of the secondary qualities, which exist merely in our sensations, to the objects that cause these sensations. The subjective character of such qualities is proved by the constant change which takes place in them, without any change of the object in which they are perceived. A piece of wax cannot lose its extension; but its colour, its hardness, and all the other qualities whereby it is presented to sense, may be easily altered. What is objective in all this is merely an extended substance, and the modes of motion or rest through which it is made to pass. In like manner we must separate from our notion of matter all ideas of actio in distans - e.g. we must explain weight not as a tendency to the centre of the earth or an attraction of distant particles of matter, but as a consequence of the pressure of other bodies, immediately surrounding that which is felt to be heavy.  For the only conceivable actio in distans is that which is mediated by thought, and it is only in so far as we suppose matter to have in it a principle of activity like thought, that we can accept such explanations of its motion. Again, while we must thus keep our conception of matter clear of all elements that do not belong to it, we must also be careful not to take away from it those that do belong to it. It is a defect of distinctness in our ideas when we conceive an attribute as existing apart from its substance, or a substance without its attribute; for this is to treat elements that are only separated by a "distinction of reason," as if they were distinct things. The conception of the possibility of a vacuum or empty space arises merely from our confusing the possible separation of any mode or form of matter from matter in general with the impossible separation of matter in general from its own essential attribute. Accordingly, in his physical philosophy, Descartes attempts to explain everything on mechanical principles, starting with the hypothesis that a certain quantity of motion has been impressed on the material universe by God at the first, a quantity which can never be lost or diminished, and that space is an absolute plenum in which motion propagates itself in circles.
Material universe a mechanism
It is unnecessary to follow Descartes into the detail of the theory of vortices. It is more to the purpose to notice the nature of the reasons by which he is driven to regard such a mechanical explanation of the universe as necessary. A real or substantive existence is, in his view, a res completa, a thing that can be conceived as a whole in itself without relations to any other thing. Now matter and mind are, he thinks, such complete existences, so long as we conceive them, as pure intelligence must conceive them, as abstract opposites of each other; and do not permit ourselves to be confused by those mixed modes of thought which are due to sense or imagination. Descartes does not see that in this very abstract opposition there is a bond of union between mind and matter, that they are correlative opposites, and therefore in their separation res incompletae. In other words, they are merely elements of reality substantiated by abstract thought into independent realities. He indeed partly retracts his assertion that mind and matter severed from each other are res completae, when he declares that neither can be conceived as existing apart from God, and that therefore, strictly speaking, God alone is a substance. But, as we have seen, he avoids the necessary inference that in God the opposition between mind and matter is reconciled or transcended, by conceiving God as abstract self-consciousness or will, and the material world not as his necessary manifestation, but simply as his creation, - as having its origin in an act of bare volition and that only. His God is the God of monotheism and not of Christianity, and therefore the world is to God always a foreign matter which he brings into being, and acts on from without, but in which he is not revealed.
It is a natural consequence of this view that nature is essentially dead matter, that beyond the motion it has received from God at the beginning, and which it transmits from part to part without increase or diminution, it has no principle of activity in it. Every trace of vitality in it must be explained away as a mere false reflection upon it of the nature of mind. The world is thus "cut in two with a hatchet," and there is no attraction to overcome the mutual repulsion of its severed parts. Nothing can be admitted in the material half that savours of self-determination, all its energy must be communicated, not self-originated; there is no room for gravitation, still less for magnetism or chemical affinity, in this theory. A fortiori, animal life must be completely explained away. The machine may be very complicated, but it is still, and can be nothing but, a machine. If we once admitted that matter could be anything but mechanical, we should be on the way to admit that matter could become mind. When a modern physical philosopher declares that everything, even life and thought, is ultimately reducible to matter, we cannot always be certain that he means what he seems to say. Not seldom the materialist soi-disant, when we hear his account of the properties of matter, turns out to be something like a spiritualist in disguise; but when Descartes asserted that everything but mind is material, and that the animals are automata, there is no such dubiety of interpretation. He said what he meant, and meant what he said, in the hardest sense his words can bear. His matter was not even gravitating, much less living; it had no property except that of retaining and transmitting the motion received from without by pressure and impact. And his animals were automata, not merely in the sense of being governed by sensation and instinct, but precisely in the sense that a watch is an automaton. Henry More cries out against the ruthless consequence with which he develops his principles to this result. "In this," he says, "I do not so much admire the penetrative power of your genius as I tremble for the fate of the animals. What I recognize in you is not only subtlety of thought, but a hard and remorseless logic with which you arm yourself as with a sword of steel, to take away life and sensation with one blow, from almost the whole animal kingdom." But Descartes was not the man to be turned from the legitimate result of his principles by a scream. "Nec moror astutias et sagacitates canum et vulpium, nec quaecunque alia propter cibum, venerem, aut metum a brutis fiunt. Profiteor enim me posse perfacile illa omnia ut a sola membrorum conformatione profecta explicare." 
Nature of sensation
The difficulty reaches its height when Descartes attempts to explain the union of the body and spirit in man. Between two substances which, when clearly and distinctly conceived, do not imply each other, there can be none but an artificial unity, - a unity of composition that still leaves them external to each other. Even God cannot make them one in any higher sense.  And as it is impossible in the nature of mind to see any reason why it should be embodied, or in the nature of matter to see any reason why it should become the organ of mind, the union of the two must be taken as a mere empirical fact. When we put on the one side all that belongs to intelligence, and on the other all that belongs to matter, there is a residuum in our ideas which we cannot reduce to either head. This residuum consists of our appetites, our passions, and our sensations, including not only the feelings of pain and pleasure, but also the perceptions of colour, smell, taste, of hardness and softness, and all the other qualities apprehended by touch. These must be referred to the union of mind with body. They are subjective in the sense that they give us no information as to the nature either of things or of mind. Their function is only to indicate what things are useful or hurtful to our composite nature as such, or in other words what things tend to confirm or dissolve the unity of mind and body. They indicate that something is taking place in our body, or without it, and so stimulate us to some kind of action, but what it is that is taking place they do not tell us. There is no resemblance in the sensation of pain produced by great heat to the rending of the fibres of our body that causes it. But we do not need to know the real origin of our sensation to prevent us going too near the fire. Sensation leads us into error only when we are not conscious that its office is merely practical, and when we attempt to make objective judgments by means of its obscure and confused ideas, e.g. when we say that there is heat in our hands or in the fire. And the remedy for this error is to be found simply in the clear conviction of the subjectivity of sensation.
Theory of occasional causes
These views of the nature of sense, however, at once force us to ask how Descartes can consistently admit that a subjective result such as sensation, a result in mind, should be produced by matter, and on the other hand how an objective result, a result in matter, should be effected by mind. Descartes explains at great length, according to his modification of the physiology of the day, that the pineal gland, which is the immediate organ of the soul, is acted on by the nerves through the "animal spirits," and again by reaction upon these spirits produces motions in the body. It is an obvious remark that this explanation either materializes mind, or else puts for the solution the very problem to be solved. It was therefore in the spirit of Descartes, it was only making explicit what is involved in many of his expressions, when Geulincx, one of his earliest followers, formulated the theory of occasional causes. The general approval of the Cartesian school proved that this was a legitimate development of doctrine. Yet it tore away the last veil from the absolute dualism of the system, which had so far stretched the antagonism of mind and matter that no mediation remained possible, or what is the same thing, remained possible only through an inexplicable will of God. The intrusion of such a Deus ex machinainto philosophy only showed that philosophy by its violent abstraction had destroyed the unity of the known and intelligible world, and was, therefore, forced to seek that unity in the region of the unknown and unintelligible. If our light be darkness, then in our darkness we must seek for light; if reason be contradictory in itself, truth must be found in unreason. The development of the Cartesian school was soon to show what is the necessary and inevitable end of such worship of the unknown.
To the ethical aspect of his philosophy, Descartes, unlike Spinoza, only devoted a subordinate attention. In a short treatise, however, he discussed the relation of reason to the passions. After we have got over the initial difficulty, that matter should give rise to effects in mind, and mind in matter, and have admitted that in man the unity of mind and body turns what in the animals is mere mechanical reception of stimulus from without and reaction upon it into an action and reaction mediated by sensation, emotion and passion, another question presents itself. How can the mere natural movement of passion, the nature of which is fixed by the original constitution of our body, and of the things that act upon it, be altered or modified by pure reason? For while it is obvious that morality consists in the determination of reason by itself, it is not easy to conceive how the same being who is determined by passion from without should also be determined by reason from within. How, in other words, can a spiritual being maintain its character as self-determined, or at least determined only by the clear and distinct ideas of the reason which are its innate forms, in the presence of this foreign element of passion that seems to make it the slave of external impressions? Is reason able to crush this intruder, or to turn it into a servant? Can the passions be annihilated, or can they be spiritualized? Descartes could not properly adopt either alternative; he could not adopt the ethics of asceticism, for the union of body and mind is, in his view, natural; and hence the passions which are the results of that union are in themselves good. They are provisions of nature for the protection of the unity of soul and body, and stimulate us to the acts necessary for that purpose. Yet, on the other hand, he could not admit that these passions are capable of being completely spiritualized; for so long as the unity of body and soul is regarded as merely external and accidental, it is impossible to think that the passions which arise out of this unity can be transformed into the embodiment and expression of reason.
Descartes, indeed, points out that every passion has a lower and a higher form, and while in its lower or primary form it is based on the obscure ideas produced by the motion of the animal spirits, in its higher form it is connected with the clear and distinct judgments of reason regarding good and evil. If, however, the unity of soul and body be a unity of composition, there is an element of obscurity in the judgments of passion which cannot be made clear, an element in desire that cannot be spiritualized. If the mind be external to the passions it can only impose upon them an external rule of moderation. On such a theory no ideal morality is possible to man in his present state; for, in order to the attainment of such an ideal morality, it would be necessary that the accidental element obtruded into his life as a spiritual being by his connexion with the body should be expelled. What can be attained under present conditions is only to abstract so far as is possible from external things, and those relations to external things into which passion brings us. Hence the great importance which Descartes attaches to the distinction between things in our power and things not in our power. What is not in our power includes all outward things, and therefore it is our highest wisdom to regard them as determined by an absolute fate, or the eternal decree of God. We cease to wish for the impossible; and therefore to subdue our passions we only need to convince ourselves that no effort of ours can enable us to secure their objects. On the other hand, that which is within our power, and which, therefore, we cannot desire too earnestly, is virtue. But virtue in this abstraction from all objects of desire is simply the harmony of reason with itself, the of the Stoic under a slight change of aspect. Thus in ethics, as in metaphysics, Descartes ends not with a reconciliation of the opposed elements, but with a dualism, or at best, with a unity which is the result of abstraction.
The Philosophy of Malebranche. - Malebranche was prepared, by the ascetic training of the cloister and the teaching of Augustine, to bring to clear consciousness and expression many of the tendencies that were latent and undeveloped in the philosophy of Descartes. To use a chemical metaphor, the Christian Platonism of the church father was a medium in which Cartesianism could precipitate the product of its elements. Yet the medium was, as we shall see, not a perfect one, and hence the product was not quite pure. Without metaphor, Malebranche, by his previous habits of thought, was well fitted to detect and develop the pantheistic and ascetic elements of his master's philosophy. But he was not well fitted to penetrate through the veil of popular language under which the discordance of that philosophy with orthodox Christianity was hidden. On the contrary, the whole training of the Catholic priest, and especially his practical spirit, with that tendency to compromise which a practical spirit always brings with it, enabled him to conceal from himself as well as from others the logical result of his principles. And we do not wonder even when we find him treating as a "miserable" the philosopher who tore away the veil.
Malebranche saw "all things in God." In other words, he taught that knowledge is possible only in so far as thought is the expression, not of the nature of the individual subject as such, but of a universal life in which he and all other rational beings partake. "No one can feel my individual pain; every one can see the truth which I contemplate - why is it so? The reason is that my pain is a modification of my substance, but truth is the common good of all spirits."  This idea is ever present to Malebranche, and is repeated by him in an endless variety of forms of expression. Thus, like Descartes, but with more decision, he tells us that the idea of the infinite is prior to the idea of the finite. "We conceive of the infinite being by the very fact that we conceive of being without thinking whether it be finite or no. But in order that we may think of a finite being, we must necessarily cut off or deduct something from the general notion of being, which consequently we must previously possess. Thus the mind does not apprehend anything whatever, except in and through the idea that it has of the infinite; and so far is it from being the case that this idea is formed by the confused assemblage of all the ideas of particular things as the philosophers maintain, that, on the contrary, all these particular ideas are only participations in the general idea of the infinite, just as God does not derive his being from the creatures, but all the creatures are imperfect participations of the divine Being."  Again, he tells us, in the same chapter, that "when we wish to think of any particular thing, we first cast our view upon all being, and then apply it to the consideration of the object in question. We could not desire to see any particular object unless we saw it already in a confused and general way, and as there is nothing which we cannot desire to see, so all objects must be in a manner present to our spirit." Or, as he puts it in another place, "our mind would not be capable of representing to itself the general ideas of genera and species if it did not see all things as contained in one; for every creature being an individual we cannot say that we are apprehending any created thing when we think the general idea of a triangle."
Relation of the Divine mind to human knowledge
The main idea that is expressed in all these different ways is simply this, that to determine any individual object as such, we must relate it to, and distinguish it from, the whole of which it is a part; and that, therefore, thought could never apprehend anything if it did not bring with itself the idea of the intelligible world as a unity. Descartes had already expressed this truth in his Meditations, but he had deprived it of its full significance by making a distinction between the being and the idea of God, the former of which, in his view, was only the cause of the latter. Malebranche detects this error, and denies that there is any idea of the infinite, which is a somewhat crude way of saying that there is no division between the idea of the infinite and its reality. What Reid asserted of the external world, that it is not represented by an idea in our minds, but is actually present to them, Malebranche asserted of God. No individual thing, he tells us - and an idea is but an individual thing - could represent the infinite. On the contrary, all individual things are represented through the infinite Being, who contains them all in his substance "très efficace, et par conséquence très intelligible."  We know God by himself, material things only by their ideas in God, for they are "unintelligible in themselves, and we can see them only in the being who contains them in an intelligible manner." And thus, unless we in some way "saw God, we should be able to see nothing else." The vision of God or in God, therefore, is an "intellectual intuition" in which seer and seen, knower and known, are one. Our knowledge of things is our participation in God's knowledge of them.
When we have gone so far with Malebranche, we are tempted to ask why he does not follow out his thought to its natural conclusion. If the idea of God is not separable from his existence, if it is through the idea of him that all things are known, and through his existence that all things are, then it would seem necessarily to follow that our consciousness of God is but a part of God's consciousness of himself, that our consciousness of self and other things is but God's consciousness of them, and lastly, that there is no existence either of ourselves or other things except in this consciousness. To understand Malebranche is mainly to understand how he stopped short of results that seemed to lie so directly in the line of his thought.
To begin with the last point, it is easy to see that Malebranche only asserts unity of idea and reality in God, to deny it everywhere else, which with him is equivalent to asserting it in general and denying it in particular. To him, as to Descartes, the opposition between mind and matter is absolute. Material things cannot come into our minds nor can our minds go out of themselves "pour se promener dans les cieux."  Hence they are in themselves absolutely unknown; they are known only in God, in whom are their ideas, and as these ideas again are quite distinct from the reality, they "might be presented to the mind without anything existing." That they exist out of God in another manner than the intelligible manner of their existence in God, is explained by a mere act of His will, that is, it is not explained at all. Though we see all things in God, therefore, there is no connexion between his existence and theirs. The "world is not a necessary emanation of divinity; God is perfectly self-sufficient, and the idea of the infinitely perfect Being can be conceived quite apart from any other. The existence of the creatures is due to the free decrees of God."  Malebranche, therefore, still treats of external things as "things in themselves," which have an existence apart from thought, even the divine thought, though it is only in and through the divine thought they can be known by us. "To see the material world, or rather to judge that it exists (since in itself it is invisible), it is necessary that God should reveal it to us, for we cannot see the result of his arbitrary will through necessary reason." 
But if we know external things only through their idea in God, how do we know ourselves? Is it also through the idea of us in God? Here we come upon a point in which Malebranche diverges very far from his master. We do not, he says, properly know ourselves at all as we know God or even external objects. We are conscious of ourselves by inner sense (sentiment interieur), and from this we know that we are, but we do not know what we are. "We know the existence of our soul more distinctly than of our body, but we have not so perfect a knowledge of our soul as of our body." This is shown by the fact that from our idea of body as extended substance, we can at once see what are its possible modifications. In other words, we only need the idea of extended substance to see that there is an inexhaustible number of figures and motions of which it is capable. The whole of geometry is but a development of what is given already in the conception of extension. But it is not so with our consciousness of self, which does not enable us to say prior to actual experience what sensations or passions are possible to us. We only know what heat, cold, light, colour, hunger, anger and desire are by feeling them. Our knowledge extends as far as our experience and no further. Nay, we have good reason to believe that many of these modifications exist in our soul only by reason of its accidental association with a body, and that if it were freed from that body it would be capable of far other and higher experiences. "We know by feeling that our soul is great, but perhaps we know almost nothing of what it is in itself." The informations of sense have, as Descartes taught, only a practical but no theoretical value; they tell us nothing of the external world, the real nature of which We know not through touch and taste and sight, but only through our idea of extended substances; while of the nature of the soul they do not tell us much more than that it exists and that it is not material. And in this latter case we have no idea, nothing better than sense to raise us above its illusions. It is clear from these statements that by self-consciousness Malebranche means consciousness of desires and feelings, which belong to the individual as such, and not consciousness of self as thinking. He begins, in fact, where Descartes ended, and identifies the consciousness of self as thinking, and so transcending the limits of its own particular being, with the consciousness or idea of God. And between the consciousness of the finite in sense and the consciousness of the infinite in thought, or in other words, between the consciousness of the universal and the consciousness of the individual, he sees no connexion. Malebranche is just one step from the pantheistic conclusion that the consciousness of finite individuality as such is illusory, and that as all bodies are but modes of one infinite extension, so all souls are but modes of one infinite thought. But while he willingly accepts this result in regard to matter, his religious feelings prevent him from accepting it in relation to mind. He is driven, therefore, to the inconsistency of holding that sense and feeling, through which in his view we apprehend the finite as such, give us true though imperfect knowledge of the soul, while the knowledge they give us of body is not only imperfect but false.  Thus the finite spirit is still allowed to be a substance, distinct from the infinite, though it holds its substantial existence on a precarious tenure. It is left hanging, we may say, on the verge of the infinite, whose attraction must soon prove too strong for it. Ideas are living things, and often remould the minds that admit them in spite of the greatest resistance of dead custom and traditionary belief. In the grasp of a logic that overpowers him the more easily in that he is unconscious of its tendency. Malebranche is brought within one step of the pantheistic conclusion, and all his Christian feeling and priestly training can do is just to save him from denial of the personality of man.
But even this denial is not the last word of pantheism. When the principle that the finite is known only in relation to the infinite, the individual only in relation to the universal, is interpreted as meaning that the infinite and universal is complete in itself without the finite and individual, when the finite and individual is treated as a mere accidental existence due to the "arbitrary will of God," it ceases to be possible to conceive even God as a spirit. Did Malebranche realize what he was saying when he declared that God was "being in general," but not any particular being? At any rate we can see that the same logic that leads him almost to deny the reality of finite beings, leads him also to seek the divine nature in something more abstract and general even than thought. If we must abstract from all relation to the finite in order to know God as he is, is it not necessary for us also to abstract from self-consciousness, for self-consciousness has a negative element in it that is something definite, and therefore limited? We do not wonder, therefore, when we find Malebranche saying that reason does not tell us that God is a spirit, but only that he is an infinitely perfect being, and that he must be conceived rather as a spirit than as a body simply because spirit is more perfect than body. "When we call God a spirit, it is not so much to show positively what he is, as to signify that he is not material." But as we ought not to give him a bodily form like man's, so we ought not to think of his spirit as similar to our own spirits, although we can conceive nothing more perfect. "It is necessary rather to believe that as he contains in himself the properties of matter without being material, so he comprehends in himself the perfections of created spirits without being a spirit as we alone can conceive spirits, and that his true name is 'He who is,' i.e. Being without restriction, Being infinite and universal."  Thus the essentially self-revealing God of Christianity gives way to pure spirit, and pure spirit in its turn to the eternal and incomprehensible substance of which we can say nothing but that it is. The divine substance contains in it, indeed, everything that is in creation, but it contains them eminenter in some incomprehensible form that is reconcilable with its infinitude. But we have no adequate name by which to call it except Being. The curious metaphysic of theology by which, in his later writings, Malebranche tried to make room for the incarnation by supposing that the finite creation, which as finite is unworthy of God, was made worthy by union with Christ, the divine Word, shows that Malebranche had some indistinct sense of the necessity of reconciling his philosophy with his theology; but it shows also the necessarily artificial nature of the combination. The result of the union of such incongruous elements was something which the theologians at once recognised as heterodox and the philosophers as illogical.
There was another doctrine of Malebranche which brought him into trouble with the theologians, and which was the main subject of his long controversy with Arnauld. This was his denial of particular providence. As Leibnitz maintained that this is the best of all possible worlds, and that its evils are to be explained by the negative nature of the finite, so Malebranche, with a slight change of expression derived evil from the nature of particular or individual existence. It is not conformable to the nature of God to act by any but universal laws, and these universal laws necessarily involve particular evil consequences, though their ultimate result is the highest possible good. The question why there should be any particular existence, any existence but God, seeing such existence necessarily involves evil, remains insoluble so long as the purely pantheistic view of God is maintained; and it is this view which is really at the bottom of the assertion that he can have no particular volitions. To the coarse and anthropomorphic conception of particular providence Malebranche may be right in objecting, but on the other hand, it cannot be doubted that any theory in which the universal is absolutely opposed to the particular, the infinite to the finite, is unchristian as well as unphilosophical. For under this dualistic presupposition, there seem to be only two possible alternatives open to thought: either the particular and finite must be treated as something independent of the universal and infinite, which involves an obvious contradiction, or else it must be regarded as absolute nonentity. We find Malebranche doing the one or the other as occasion requires. Thus he vindicates the freedom of man's will on the ground that the universal will of God does not completely determine the particular volitions of man; and then becoming conscious of the difficulty involved in this conception, he tries, like Descartes, to explain the particular will as something merely negative, a defect, and not a positive existence.
Reason and will
But to understand fully Malebranche's view of freedom and the ethical system connected with it, we must notice an important alteration which he makes in the Cartesian theory of the relation of will and intelligence. To Descartes, as we have seen, the ultimate essence of mind lay in pure abstract self-determination or will, and hence he based even moral and intellectual truth on the arbitrary decrees of God. With Malebranche, on the other hand, abstraction goes a step further; and the absolute is sought not in the subject as opposed to the object, not in pure formal self-determination as opposed to that which is determined, but in a unity that transcends this difference. With him, therefore, will ceases to be regarded as the essence of intelligence, and sinks into a property or separable attribute of it. As we can conceive an extended substance without actual movement, so, he says, we can conceive a thinking substance without actual volition. But "matter or extension without motion would be entirely useless and incapable of that variety of forms for which it is made; and we cannot, therefore, suppose, that an all-wise Being would create it in this way. In like manner, if a spiritual or thinking substance were without will, it is clear that it would be quite useless, for it would not be attracted towards the objects of its perception, and would not love the good for which it is made. We cannot therefore conceive an intelligent being so to fashion it."  Now God need not be conceived as creating at all, for he is self-sufficient; but if he be a creator of spirits, he must create them for himself. "God cannot will that there should exist a spirit that does not love him, or that loves him less than any other good."  The craving for good in general, for an absolute satisfaction, is a natural love of God that is common to all. "The just, the wicked, the blessed, and the damned all alike love God with this love." Out of this love of God arises the love we have to ourselves and to others, which are the natural inclinations that belong to all created spirits. For these inclinations are but the elements of the love which is in God, and which therefore he inspires in all his creatures. "Il s'aime, il nous aime, il aime toutes ses créatures; il ne fait donc point d'esprits qu'il ne les porte à l'aimer, à s'aimer, et à aimer toutes les créatures."  Stripping this thought of its theological vesture, what is expressed here is simply that as a spiritual being each man is conscious of his own limited and individual existence, as well as of the limited and individual existence of other beings like himself, only in relation to the whole in which they are parts, so he can find his own good only in the good of the whole, and he is in contradiction with himself so long as he rests in any good short of that. His love of happiness, his natural inclinations both selfish and social, may be therefore regarded as an undeveloped form of the love of God; and the ideal state of his inclinations is that in which the love of self and of others are explicitly referred to that higher affection, or in which his love does not proceed from a part to the whole, but from the whole to the parts.
The question of morals to Malebranche is the question how these natural inclinations are related to the particular passions. Sensation and passion arise out of the connexion of body and soul, and their use is only to urge us to attend to the wants of the former. We can scarcely hear without a smile the simple monastic legend which Malebranche weaves together about the original nature of the passions and their alteration by the Fall. "It is visibly a disorder that a spirit capable of knowing and loving God should be obliged to occupy itself with the needs of the body." "A being altogether occupied with what passes in his body and with the infinity of objects that surround it cannot be thinking on the things that are truly good."  Hence the necessity of an immediate and instinctive warning from the senses in regard to the relations of things to our organism, and also of pains and pleasures which may induce us to attend to this warning. "Sensible pleasure is the mark that nature has attached to the use of certain things in order that without having the trouble of examining them by reason, we may employ them for the preservation of the body, but not in order that we may love them."  Till the Fall the mind was merely united to the body, not subjected to it, and the influence of these pleasures and pains was only such as to make men attend to their bodily wants, but not to occupy the mind, or fill it with sensuous joys and sorrows, or trouble its contemplation of that which is really good. Our moral aim should therefore be to restore this state of things, to weaken our union with the body and strengthen our union with God. And to encourage us in pursuing this aim we have to remember that union with God is natural to the spirit, and that, while even the condition of union with the body is artificial, the condition of subjection to the body is wholly unnatural to it. Our primary tendency is towards the supreme good, and we only love the objects of our passions in so far as we "determine towards particular, and therefore false goods, the love that God gives us for himself." The search for happiness is really the search for God in disguise, and even the levity and inconstancy with which men rush from one finite good to another, is a proof that they were made for the infinite. Furthermore, this natural love of God, or inclination for good in general, "gives us the power of suspending our consent in regard to those particular goods which do not satisfy it."  If we refuse to be led by the obscure and confused voice of instinctive feeling, which arises from and always tends to confirm our union with the body, and wait for the light of reason which arises from and always tends to confirm our union with God, we have done all that is in our power, the rest is God's work. "If we only judge precisely of that which we see clearly, we shall never be deceived. For then it will not be we that judge, but the universal reason that judges in us."  And as our love, even of particular goods, is a confused love of the supreme good, so the clear vision of God inevitably brings with it the love of him. "We needs must love the highest when we see it." When it is the divine reason that speaks in us it is the divine love that moves us, "the same love wherewith God loves himself and the things he has made." 
The general result of the ethics of Malebranche is ascetic. The passions, like the senses, have no relation to the higher life of the soul; their value is only in relation to the union of soul and body, a union which is purely accidental or due to the arbitrary will of God. The more silently they discharge their provisional function, and the less they disturb or interfere with the pure activity of spirit, the more nearly they approach to the only perfection that is possible for them. Their ideal state is to remain or become again simple instincts that act mechanically like the circulation of the blood. Universal light of reason casts no ray into the obscurity of sense; its universal love cannot embrace any of the objects of particular passion. It is indeed recognized by Malebranche that sensation in man is mixed with thought, that the passions in him are forms of the love of good in general. But this union of the rational with the sensuous nature is regarded merely as a confusion which is to be cleared up, not in a higher unity of the two elements, but simply by the withdrawal of the spirit from contact with that which darkens and defiles it. Of a transformation of sense into thought, of passion into duty - an elevation of the life of sense till it becomes the embodiment and expression of the life of reason - Malebranche has no conception. Hence the life of reason turns with him to mysticism in theory and to asceticism in practice. His universal is abstract and opposed to the particular; instead of explaining it, it explains it away.
A certain tender beauty as of twilight is spread over the world as we view it through the eyes of this cloistered philosopher, and we do not at first see that the softness and ideality of the picture is due to the gathering darkness. Abstraction seems only to be purifying, and not destroying, till it has done its perfect work. Malebranche conceived himself to be presenting to the world only the purest and most refined expression of Christian ethics and theology. But if we obey his own continual advice to think clearly and distinctly, if we divest his system of all the sensuous and imaginative forms in which he has clothed it, and reduce it to the naked simplicity of its central thought, what we find is not a God that reveals himself in the finite, and to the finite, but the absolute substance which has no revelation, and whose existence is the negation of all but itself. Thus to tear away the veil, however, there was needed a stronger, simpler, and freer spirit - a spirit less influenced by opinion, less inclined to practical compromise, and gifted with a stronger "faith in the whispers of the lonely muse" of speculation than Malebranche.
The Philosophy of Spinoza. - It is a remark of Hegel's that Spinoza, as a Jew, first brought into European thought the idea of an absolute unity in which the difference of finite and infinite is lost. Some later writers have gone further, and attempted to show that the main doctrines by which his philosophy is distinguished from that of Descartes were due to the direct influences of Jewish writers like Maimonides, Gersonides, and Hasdai Crescas, rather than to the necessary development of Cartesian ideas. And it is undoubtedly true that many points of similarity with such writers, reaching down even to verbal coincidence, may be detected in the works of Spinoza, although it is not so easy to determine how much he owed to their teaching. His own view of his obligations is sufficiently indicated by the fact, that while in his ethics he carries on a continual polemic against Descartes, and strives at every point to show that his own doctrines are legitimately derived from Cartesian principles, he only once refers to Jewish philosophy as containing an obscure and unreasoned anticipation of these doctrines. "Quod quidam Hebraeorum quasi per nebulam vidisse videntur qui scilicet statuunt Deum Dei intellectum resque ab ipso intellectas unum et idem esse."  It may be that the undeveloped pantheism and rationalism of the Jewish philosophers had a deeper influence than he himself was aware of, in emancipating him from the traditions of the synagogue, and giving to his mind its first philosophical bias. In his earlier work there are Neoplatonic ideas and expressions which in the Ethics are rejected or remoulded into a form more suitable to the spirit of Cartesianism. But the question, after all, has little more than a biographical interest. In the Spinozistic philosophy there are few differences from Descartes which cannot be traced to the necessary development of Cartesian principles; and the comparison of Malebranche shows that a similar development might take place under the most diverse intellectual conditions. What is most remarkable in Spinoza is just the freedom and security with which these principles are followed out to their last result. His Jewish origin and his breach with Judaism completely isolated him from every influence but that of the thought that possesses him. And no scruple or hesitation, no respect for the institutions or feelings of his time interferes with his speculative consequence. He exhibits to us the almost perfect type of a mind without superstitions, which has freed itself from all but reasoned and intelligent convictions, or, in the Cartesian phrase, "clear and distinct ideas"; and when he fails, it is not by any inconsistency, or arbitrary stopping short of the necessary conclusions of his logic, but by the essential defect of his principles.
Spinoza takes his idea of method from mathematics, and after the manner of Euclid, places at the head of each book of his Ethics a certain number of definitions, axioms, and postulates which are supposed to be intuitively certain, and to form a sufficient basis for all that follows. Altogether there are twenty-seven definitions, twenty axioms, and eight postulates. If Spinoza is regarded as the most consequent of philosophers it cannot be because he has based his system upon so many fragmentary views of truth; it must be because a deeper unity has been discerned in the system than is visible on the first aspect of it. We must, therefore, to a certain extent distinguish between the form and the matter of his thought, though it is also true that the defective form itself involves a defect in the matter.
What in the first instance recommends the geometrical method to Spinoza is, not only its apparent exactness and the necessity of its sequence, but, so to speak, its disinterestedness. Confusion of thought arises from the fact that we put ourselves, our desires and feelings and interests, into our view of things; that we do not regard them as they are in themselves, in their essential nature, but look for some final cause, that is, some relation to ourselves by which they may be explained. For this reason, he says, "the truth might for ever have remained hid from the human race, if mathematics, which looks not to the final cause of figures, but to their essential nature and the properties involved in it, had not set another type of knowledge before them." To understand things is to see how all that is true of them flows from the clear and distinct idea expressed in their definition, and ultimately, it is to see how all truth flows from the essentia Dei as all geometrical truth flows from the idea of quantity. To take a mathematical view of the universe, therefore, is to raise ourselves above all consideration of the end or tendency of things, above the fears and hopes of mortality into the region of truth and necessity. "When I turned my mind to this subject," he says in the beginning of his treatise on politics, "I did not propose to myself any novel or strange aim, but simply to demonstrate by certain and indubitable reason those things which agree best with practice. And in order that I might inquire into the matters of this science with the same freedom of mind with which we are wont to treat lines and surfaces in mathematics, I determined not to laugh or to weep over the actions of men, but simply to understand them; and to contemplate their affections and passions, such as love, hate, anger, envy, arrogance, pity and all other disturbances of soul not as vices of human nature, but as properties pertaining to it in the same way as heat, cold, storm, thunder pertain to the nature of the atmosphere. For these, though troublesome, are yet necessary, and have certain causes through which we may come to understand them, and thus, by contemplating them in their truth, gain for our minds as much joy as by the knowledge of things that are pleasing to the senses." All our errors as to the nature of things arise from our judging them from the point of view of the part and not of the whole, from appoint of view determined by their relation to our own individual being, and not from a point of view determined by the nature of the things themselves; or, to put the same thing in another way, from the point of view of sense and imagination, and not from the point of view of intelligence. Mathematics shows us the inadequacy of such knowledge when it takes us out of ourselves into things, and when it presents these things to us as objects of universal intelligence apart from all special relation to our individual feelings. And Spinoza only wishes that the same universality and freedom of thought which belongs to mathematics, because its objects do not interest the passions, should be extended to those objects that do interest them. Purity from interest is the first condition of the philosopher's being; he must get beyond the illusion of sense and passion that makes our own lives so supremely important and interesting to us simply because they are our own. He must look at the present as it were through an inverted telescope of reason, that will reduce it to its due proportion and place in the sum of things. To the heat of passion and the higher heat of imagination, Spinoza has only one advice - "Acquaint yourself with God and be at peace." Look not to the particular but to the universal, view things not under the form of the finite and temporal, but sub quadam specie aeternitatis.
The illusion of the finite - the illusion of sense, imagination and passion, which, in Bacon's language, tends to make men judge of things ex analogia hominis and not ex analogia universi, which raises the individual life, and even the present moment of the individual life, with its passing feelings, into the standard for measuring the universe - this, in the eyes of Spinoza, is the source of all error and evil to man. On the other hand, his highest good is to live the universal life of reason, or what is the same thing, to view all things from their centre in God, and to be moved only by the passion for good in general, "the intellectual love of God." In the treatise De Emendatione Intellectus, Spinoza takes up this contrast in the first instance from its moral side. "All our felicity or infelicity is founded on the nature of the object to which we are joined by love." To love the things that perish is to be in continual trouble and disturbance of passion; it is to be full of envy and hatred towards others who possess them; it is to be ever striving after that which, when we attain it, does not satisfy us; or lamenting over the loss of that which inevitably passes away from us; only "love to an object that is infinite and eternal feeds the soul with a changeless and unmingled joy." But again our love rests upon our knowledge; if we saw things as they really are we should love only the highest object. It is because sense and imagination give to the finite an independence and substantiality that do not belong to it, that we waste our love upon it as if it were infinite. And as the first step towards truth is to understand our error, so Spinoza proceeds to explain the defects of common sense, or in other words, of that first and unreflected view of the world which he, like Plato, calls opinion. Opinion is a kind of knowledge derived partly from hearsay, and partly from experientia vaga. It consists of vague and general conceptions of things, got either from the report of others or from an experience which has not received any special direction from intelligence. The mind that has not got beyond the stage of opinion takes things as they present themselves in its individual experience; and its beliefs grow up by association of whatever happens to have been found together in that experience. And as the combining principle of the elements of opinion is individual and not universal, so its conception of the world is at once fragmentary and accidental. It does not see things in their connexion with the unity of the whole, and hence it cannot see them in their true relation to each other. "I assert expressly," says Spinoza, "that the mind has no adequate conception either of itself or of external things, but only a confused knowledge of them, so long as it perceives them only in the common order of nature, i.e. so long as it is externally determined to contemplate this or that object by the accidental concourse of things, and so long as it is not internally determined by the unity of thought in which it considers a number of things to understand their agreements, differences and contradictions." 
Vices of abstraction and imagination
There are two kinds of errors which are usually supposed to exclude each other, but which Spinoza finds to be united in opinion. These are the errors of abstraction and imagination; the former explains its vice by defect, the latter its vice by excess. On the one hand, opinion is abstract and one-sided; it is defective in knowledge and takes hold of things only at one point. On the other hand, and just because of this abstractness and one-sidedness, it is forced to give an artificial completeness and independence to that which is essentially fragmentary and dependent. The word "abstract" is misleading, in so far as we are wont to associate with abstraction the idea of a mental effort by which parts are separated from a given whole; but it may be applied without violence to any imperfect conception, in which things that are really elements of a greater whole are treated as if they were res completae, independent objects, complete in themselves. And in this sense the ordinary consciousness of man is often the victim of abstractions when it supposes itself most of all to be dealing with realities. The essences and substances of the schoolman may delude him, but he cannot think these notions clearly without seeing that they are only abstract elements of reality, and that they have a meaning only in relation to the other elements of it. But common sense remains unconscious of its abstractness because imagination gives a kind of substantiality to the fragmentary and limited, and so makes it possible to conceive it as an independent reality. Pure intelligence seeing the part as it is in itself could never see it but as a part. Thought, when it rises to clearness and distinctness in regard to any finite object, must at once discern its relation to other finite objects and to the whole, - must discern, in Spinozistic language, that it is "modal" and not "real." But though it is not possible to think the part as a whole it is possible to picture it as a whole. The limited image that fills the mind's eye seems to need nothing else for its reality. We cannot think a house clearly and distinctly in all the connexion of its parts with each other without seeing its necessary relation to the earth on which it stands, to the pressure of the atmosphere, etc. The very circumstances by which the possibility of such an existence is explained make it impossible to conceive it apart from other things. But nothing hinders me from resting on a house as a complete picture by itself. Imagination represents things in the externality of space and time, and is subjected to no other conditions but those of space and time. Hence it can begin anywhere and stop anywhere. For the same cause it can mingle and confuse together all manner of inconsistent forms - can imagine a man with a horse's head, a candle blazing in vacuo, a speaking tree, a man changed into an animal. There may be elements in the nature of these things that would prevent such combinations; but these elements are not necessarily present to the ordinary consciousness, the abstractness of whose conceptions leaves it absolutely at the mercy of imagination or accidental association. To thought in this stage anything is possible that can be pictured. On the other hand, as knowledge advances, this freedom of combination becomes limited, "the less the mind understands and the more it perceives the greater is its power of fiction, and the more it understands the narrower is the limitation of that power. For just as in the moment of consciousness we cannot imagine that we do not think, so after we have apprehended the nature of body we cannot conceive of a fly of infinite size, and after we know the nature of a soul we cannot think of it as a square, though we may use the words that express these ideas."  Thus, according to Spinoza, the range of possibility narrows as knowledge widens, until to perfected knowledge posibility is lost in necessity.
Insufficiency of the individual
From these considerations it follows that all thought is imperfect that stops short of the absolute unity of all things. Our first imperfect notion of things as isolated from each other, or connected only by co-existence and succession, is a mere imagination of things. It is a fictitious substantiation of isolated moments in the eternal Being. Knowledge, so far as it deals with the finite, is engaged in a continual process of self-correction which can never be completed, for at every step there is an element of falsity, in so far as the mind rests in the contemplation of a certain number of the elements of the world, as if they constituted a complete whole by themselves, whereas they are only a part, the conception of which has to be modified at the next step of considering its relation to the other parts. Thus we rise from individuals of the first to individuals of the second order, and we cannot stop short of the idea of "all nature as one individual whose parts vary through an infinite number of modes, without change of the whole individual."  At first we think of pieces of matter as independent individuals, either because we can picture them separately, or because they preserve a certain proportion or relation of parts through their changes. But on further consideration, these apparent substances sink into modes, each of which is dependent on all the others. All nature is bound together by necessary law, and not an atom could be other than it is without the change of the whole world. Hence it is only in the whole world that there is any true individuality or substance. And the same principle applies to the minds of men. Their individuality is a mere semblance caused by our abstraction from their conditions. Isolate the individual man, and he will not display the character of a thinking being at all. His whole spiritual life is bound up with his relations to other minds, past and present. He has such a life, only in and through that universal life of which he is so infinitesimal a part that his own contribution to it is as good as nothing. "Vis qua homo in existendo perseverat limitata est, et a potentia causarum externarum infinite superatur."  What can be called his own? His body is a link in a cyclical chain of movement which involves all the matter of the world, and which as a whole remains without change through all. His mind is a link in a great movement of thought, which makes him the momentary organ and expression of one of its phases. His very consciousness of self is marred by a false abstraction, above which he must rise ere he can know himself as he really is.
"Let us imagine," says Spinoza in his fifteenth letter, "a little worm living in blood which has vision enough to discern the particles of blood, lymph, etc., and reason enough to observe how one particle is repelled by another with which it comes into contact, or communicates a part of its motion to it. Such a worm would live in the blood as we do in this part of the universe, and would regard each particle of it, not as a part, but as a whole, nor could it know how all the parts are influenced by the universal nature of the blood, and are obliged to accommodate themselves to each other as is required by that nature, so that they co-operate together according to a fixed law. For if we suppose that there are no causes outside of the blood which could communicate new motions to it, and no space beyond the blood, nor any other bodies to which its particles could transfer their motion, it is certain that the blood as a whole would always maintain its present state, and its particles would suffer no other variations than those which may be inferred from the given relation of the motion of the blood to lymph, chyle, etc. And thus in that case the blood would require to be considered always as a whole and not as a part. But since there are many other causes which influence the laws of the nature of blood, and are in turn influenced thereby, other motions and other variations must arise in the blood which are not due to the proportion of motion in its constituents but also to the relation between that motion and external causes. And therefore we cannot consider the blood as a whole, but only as a part of a greater whole."
"Now we can think, and indeed ought to think, of all natural bodies in the same manner in which we have thought of this blood, for all bodies are surrounded by other bodies, and reciprocally determine and are determined by them, to exist and operate in a fixed and definite way, so as to preserve the same ratio of motion and rest in the whole universe. Hence it follows that every body, in so far as it exists under a certain definite modification, ought to be considered as merely a part of the whole universe which agrees with its whole, and thereby is in intimate union with all the other parts; and since the nature of the universe is not limited like that of the blood, but absolutely infinite, it is clear that by this nature, with its infinite powers, the parts are modified in an infinite number of ways, and compelled to pass through an infinity of variations. Moreover, when I think of the universe as a substance, I conceive of a still closer union of each part with the whole; for, as I have elsewhere shown, it is the nature of substance to be infinite, and therefore every single part belongs to the nature of the corporeal substance, so that apart therefrom it neither can exist nor be conceived. And as to the human mind, I think of it also as of part of nature, for I think of nature as having in it an infinite power of thinking, which, as infinite, contains in itself the idea of all nature, and whose thoughts run parallel with all existence."
The whole dominates the parts
From this point of view it is obvious that our knowledge of things cannot be real and adequate, except in so far as it is determined by the idea of the whole, and proceeds from the whole to the parts. A knowledge that proceeds from part to part must always be imperfect; it must remain external to its object, it must deal in abstractions or mere entia rationis, which it may easily be led to mistake for realities. Hence Spinoza, like Plato, distinguishes reason whose movement is regressive (from effect to cause, from variety to unity) from scientia intuitiva, whose movement is progressive, which "proceeds from the adequate idea of certain of God's attributes to an adequate knowledge of the nature of things."  The latter alone deserves to be called science in the highest sense of the term. "For in order that our mind may correspond to the exemplar of nature, it must develop all its ideas from the idea that represents the origin and source of nature, so that that idea may appear as the source of all other ideas."  The regressive mode of knowledge has its highest value in preparing for the progressive. The knowledge of the finite, ere it can become perfectly adequate, must be absorbed and lost in the knowledge of the infinite.
In a remarkable passage in the Ethics, Spinoza declares that the defect of the common consciousness of men lies not so much in their ignorance, either of the infinite or of the finite, as in their incapacity for bringing the two thoughts together, so as to put the latter in its proper relation to the former. All are ready to confess that God is the cause both of the existence and of the nature of things created, but they do not realize what is involved in this confession - and hence they treat created things as if they were substances, that is, as if they were Gods. "Thus while they are contemplating finite things, they think of nothing less than of the divine nature; and again when they turn to consider the divine nature, they think of nothing less than of their former fictions on which they have built up the knowledge of finite things, as if these things could contribute nothing to our understanding of the divine nature. Hence it is not wonderful that they are always contradicting themselves."  As Spinoza says elsewhere, it belongs to the very nature of the human mind to know God, for unless we know God we could know nothing else. The idea of the absolute unity is involved in the idea of every particular thing, yet the generality of men, deluded by sense and imagination, are unable to bring this implication into clear consciousness, and hence their knowledge of God does not modify their view of the finite. It is the business of philosophy to correct this defect, to transform our conceptions of the finite by relating it to the infinite, to complement and complete the partial knowledge produced by individual experience by bringing it into connexion with the idea of the whole. And the vital question which Spinoza himself prompts us to ask is how far and in what way this transformation is effected in the Spinozistic philosophy.
There are two great steps in the transformation of knowledge by the idea of unity as that idea is conceived by Spinoza. The first step involves a change of the conception of individual finite things by which they lose their individuality, their character as independent substances, and come to be regarded as modes of the infinite. But secondly, this negation of the finite as such is not conceived as implying the negation of the distinction between mind and matter. Mind and matter still retain that absolute opposition which they had in the philosophy of Descartes, even after all limits have been removed. And therefore in order to reach the absolute unity, and transcend the Cartesian dualism, a second step is necessary, by which the independent substantiality of mind and matter is withdrawn, and they are reduced into attributes of the one infinite substance. Let us examine these steps successively.
Application to nature of matter
The method by which the finite is reduced into a mode of the infinite has already been partially explained. Spinoza follows to its legitimate result the metaphysical or logical principles of Descartes and Malebranche. According to the former, as we nave seen, the finite presupposes the infinite, and, indeed, so far as it is real, it is identical with the infinite. The infinite is absolute reality, because it is pure affirmation, because it is that which negationem nullam involvit. The finite is distinguished from it simply by its limit, i.e. by its wanting something which the infinite has. At this point Spinoza takes up the argument. If the infinite be the real, and the finite, so far as it is distinguished therefrom, the unreal, then the supposed substantiality or individuality of finite beings is an illusion. In itself the finite is but an abstraction, to which imagination has given an apparent independence. All limitation or determination is negative, and in order to apprehend positive reality we must abstract from limits. By denying the negative, we reach the affirmative; by annihilating finitude in our thought, and so undoing the illusory work of the imagination, we reach the indeterminate or unconditioned being which alone truly is. All division, distinction and relation are but entia rationis. Imagination and abstraction can give to them, as they can give to mere negation and nothingness, "a local habitation and a name," but they have no objective meaning, and in the highest knowledge, in the scientia intuitiva, which deals only with reality, they must entirely disappear. Hence to reach the truth as to matter, we must free ourselves from all such ideas as figure or number, measure or time, which imply the separation and relation of parts. Thus in his 50th letter, in answer to some question about figure, Spinoza says, "to prove that figure is negation, and not anything positive, we need only consider that the whole of matter conceived indefinitely, or in its infinity, can have no figure; but that figure has a place only in finite or determinate bodies. He who says that he perceives figure, says only that he has before his mind a limited thing and the manner in which it is limited. But this limitation does not pertain to a thing in its 'esse,' but contrariwise in its 'non-esse' (i.e. it signifies, not that some positive quality belongs to the thing, but that something is wanting to it). Since, then, figure is but limitation, and limitation is but negation, we cannot say that figure is anything." The same kind of reasoning is elsewhere (Epist. 29) applied to solve the difficulties connected with the divisibility of space or extension. Really, according to Spinoza, extension is indivisible, though modally it is divisible. In other words, parts ad infinitum may be taken in space by the abstracting mind, but these parts have no separate existence. You cannot rend space, or take one part of it out of its connexion with other parts. Hence arises the impossibility of asserting either that there is an infinite number of parts in space, or that there is not. The solution of the antinomy is that neither alternative is true. There are many things "quae nullo numero explicari possunt," and to understand these things we must abstract altogether from the idea of number. The contradiction arises entirely from the application of that idea to the infinite. We cannot say that space has a finite number of parts, for every finite space must be conceived as itself included in infinite space. Yet, on the other hand, an infinite number is an absurdity; it is a number which is not a number. We escape the difficulty only when we see that number is a category inapplicable to the infinite, and this to Spinoza means that it is not applicable to reality, that it is merely an abstraction, or ens imaginationis.
Nature of mind
The same method which solves the difficulties connected with the nature of matter is applied to mind. Here also we reach the reality, or thing in itself, by abstracting from all determination. All conceptions, therefore, that involve the independence of the finite, all conceptions of good, evil, freedom and responsibility disappear. When W. Blyenburg accuses Spinoza of making God the author of evil, Spinoza answers that evil is an ens rationis that has no existence for God. "Evil is not something positive, but a state of privation, and that not in relation to the divine, but simply in relation to the human intelligence. It is a conception that arises from that generalizing tendency of our minds, which leads us to bring all beings that have the external form of man under one and the same definition, and to suppose that they are all equally capable of the highest perfection we can deduce from such a definition. When, therefore, we find an individual whose works are not consistent with this perfection, straightway we judge that he is deprived of it, or that he is diverging from his own nature, - a judgment we should never make if we had not thus referred him to a general definition, and supposed him to be possessed of the nature it defines. But since God does not know things abstractly, or through such general definitions, and since there cannot be more reality in things than the divine intelligence and power bestows upon them, it manifestly follows that the defect which belongs to finite things, cannot be called a privation in relation to the intelligence of God, but only in relation to the intelligence of man."  Thus evil and good vanish when we consider things sub specie aeternitatis, because they are categories that imply a certain independence in finite beings. For the idea of a moral standard implies a relation of man to the absolute good, a relation of the finite to the infinite, in which the finite is not simply lost and absorbed in the infinite. But Spinoza can admit no such relation. In the presence of the infinite the finite disappears, for it exists only by abstraction and negation; or it seems to us to exist, not because of what is present to our thoughts, but because of what is not present to them. As we think ourselves free because we are conscious of our actions but not of their causes, so we think that we have an individual existence only because the infinite intelligence is not wholly but only partially realized in us. But as we cannot really divide space, though we can think of a part of it, so neither can we place any real division in the divine intelligence. In this way we can understand how Spinoza is able to speak of the human mind as part of the infinite thought of God, and of the human body as part of the infinite extension of God, while yet he asserts that the divine substance is simple, and not made up of parts. So far as they exist, they must be conceived as parts of the divine substance, but when we look directly at that divine substance their separate existence altogether disappears.
Soul and body
It has, however, been already mentioned that this ascending movement of abstraction does not at once and directly bring Spinoza to the absolute unity of substance. The principle that "determination is negation," and that therefore the absolute reality is to be found only in the indeterminate, would lead us to expect this conclusion; but the Cartesian dualism prevents Spinoza from reaching it. Mind and matter are so absolutely opposed, that even when we take away all limit and determination from both, they still retain their distinctness. Raised to infinity, they still refuse to be identified. We are forced, indeed, to take from them their substantial or substantive existence, for there can be no other substance but God, who includes all reality in himself. But though reduced to attributes of a common substance, the difference of thought and extension is insoluble. The independence of individual finite things disappears whenever we substitute thought for imagination, but even to pure intelligence, extension remains extension, and thought remains thought. Spinoza seems therefore reduced to a dilemma; he cannot surrender either the unity or the duality of things, yet he cannot relate them to each other. The only course left open to him is to conceive each attribute in its turn as the whole substance, and to regard their difference as the difference of expression. As the patriarch was called by the two names of Jacob and Israel, under different aspects, each of which included the whole reality of the man, so our minds apprehend the absolute substance in two ways, each of which expresses its whole nature.  In this way the extremes of absolute identity and absolute difference seem to be reconciled. There is a complete parallelism of thought and extension, "ordo et connexio idearum idem est ac ordo et connexio rerum,"  yet there is also a complete independence and absence of relation between them, for each is the whole. A thing in one expression cannot be related to itself in another expression. Hence in so far as we look at the substance under the attribute of thought, we must take no account of extension, and in so far as we look at it under the attribute of extension, we must equally refuse to take any account of thought. This parallelism may be best illustrated by Spinoza's account of the relation of the human soul and body. The soul is the idea of the body, and the body is the object of the soul, whatever is in the one really is in the other ideally; yet this relation of object and subject does not imply any connexion. The motions and changes of the body have to be accounted for partly by itself, partly by the influence of other bodies; and the thoughts of the soul in like manner have to be accounted for partly by what God thinks as constituting the individual mind, and partly by what he thinks as constituting the minds of other individuals. But to account for thought by the motions of the body, or for the motions of the body by thought, is to attempt to bridge the impassable gulf between thought and extension. It involves the double absurdity of accounting for a thing by itself, and of accounting for it by that which has nothing in common with it.
Spinoza's higher idealsim
In one point of view, this theory of Spinoza deserves the highest praise for that very characteristic which probably excited most odium against it at the time it was first published, namely, its exaitation of matter. It is the mark of an imperfect spiritualism to hide its eyes from outward nature, and to shrink from the material as impure and defiling. But its horror and fear are proofs of weakness; it flies from an enemy it cannot overcome. Spinoza's bold identification of spirit and matter, God and nature, contains in it the germ of a higher idealism than can be found in any philosophy that asserts the claims of the former at the expense of the latter. A system that begins by making nature godless, will inevitably end, as Schelling once said, in making God unnatural. The expedients by which Descartes keeps matter at a distance from God, were intended to maintain his pure spirituality; but their ultimate effect was seen in his reduction of the spiritual nature to mere will. As Christianity has its superiority over other religions in this, that it does not end with the opposition of the human to the divine, the natural to the spiritual, but ultimately reconciles them, so a true idealism must vindicate its claims by absorbing materialism into itself. It was, therefore, a true instinct of philosophy that led Spinoza to raise matter to the co-equal of spirit, and at the same time to protest against the Cartesian conception of matter as mere inert mass, moved only by impulse from without. "What were a God that only impelled the world from without?" says Goethe. "It becomes him to stir it by an inward energy, to involve nature in himself, himself in nature, so that that which lives and moves and has a being in him can never feel the want of his power or his spirit."
While, however, Spinoza thus escapes some of the inconsequences of Descartes, the contradiction that was implicit in the Cartesian system between the duality and the unity, the attributes and the substance, in his system becomes explicit. When so great emphasis is laid upon the unity of substance, it becomes more difficult to explain the difference of the attributes. The result is, that Spinoza is forced to account for it, not by the nature of substance itself, but by the nature of the intelligence to which it is revealed. "By substance," he says, "I understand that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself. By attribute I understand the same thing, nisi quod attributum dicatur respectu inteltectus substantiae certum talem naturam tribuentis."  Hence we are naturally led with J.E. Erdmann to think of the intelligence dividing the substance as a kind of prism that breaks the white light into different colours, through each of which the same world is seen, only with a different aspect. But if the intelligence in itself is but a mode of one of the attributes, how can it be itself the source of their distinction?
The key to this difficulty is that Spinoza has really, and almost in spite of his logical principles, two opposite conceptions of substance, between which he alternates without ever bringing them to a unity. On the one hand, in accordance with the principle that determination is negation, substance must be taken as that which is utterly indeterminate, like the Absolute of the Buddhist, which we can characterize only by denying of it everything that we assert of the finite. In this view, no predicate can be applied univocally to God and to the creatures; he differs from them, not only in existence, but in essence.  If we follow out this view to its legitimate result, God is withdrawn into his own absolute unity, and no difference of attributes can be ascribed to him, except in respect of something else than himself. It is owing to the defects of out intelligence that he appears under different forms or expressions; in himself he is pure being, without form or expression at all. But, on the other hand, it is to be observed, that while Spinoza really proceeds by abstraction and negation, he does not mean to do so. The abstract is to him the unreal and imaginary, and what he means by substance is not simply Being in general, the conception that remains when we omit all that distinguishes the particulars, but the absolute totality of things conceived as a unity in which all particular existence is included and subordinated. Hence at a single stroke the indeterminate passes into the most determinate Being, the Being with no attributes at all into the Being constituted by an infinite number of attributes. And while, under the former conception, the defect of our intelligence seemed to be that it divided the substance, or saw a difference of attributes in its absolute unity, under the second conception its defect lies in its apprehending only two out of the infinite multitude of these attributes.
To do justice to Spinoza, therefore, we must distinguish between the actual effect of his logic and its effect as he conceived it. The actual effect of his logic is to dissolve all in the ultimate abstraction of Being, from which we can find no way back to the concrete. But his intent was simply to relate all the parts to that absolute unity which is the presupposition of all thought and being, and so to arrive at the most concrete and complete idea of the reality of things. He failed to see what is involved in his own principle that determination is negation; for if affirmation is impossible without negation, then the attempt to divorce the two from each other, the attempt to find a purely affirmative being, must necessarily end in the barest of all abstractions being confused with the unity of all things. But even when the infinite substance is defined as the negative of the finite, the idea of the finite becomes an essential element in the conception of the infinite. Even the Pantheist, who says that God is what finite things are not, in spite of himself recognizes that God has a relation to finite things. Finite things may in his eyes have no positive relation to God, yet they have a negative relation; it is through their evanescence and transitoriness, through their nothingness, that the eternal, the infinite reality alone is revealed to him. Spinoza is quite conscious of this process, conscious that he reaches the affirmation of substance by a negation of what he conceives as the purely negative and unreal existence of finite things, but as he regards the assertion of the finite as merely an illusion due to our imagination, so he regards the correction of this illusion, the negation of the finite as a movement of reflection which belongs merely to our intelligence, and has nothing to do with the nature of substance in itself. We find the true affirmation by the negation of the negative, but in itself affirmation has no relation to negation. Hence his absolute being is the dead all-absorbing substance and not the self-revealing spirit. It is the being without determination, and not the being that determines itself. There is no reason in the nature of substance why it should have either attributes or modes; neither individual finite things nor the general distinction of mind and matter can be deduced from it. The descending movement of thought is not what Spinoza himself said it should be, an evolution, but simply an external and empirical process by which the elements dropped in the ascending movement of abstraction are taken up again with a merely nominal change. For the sole difference in the conception of mind and matter as well as in the conception of individual minds and bodies which is made by their reference to the idea of God, is that they lose their substantive character and become adjectives. Aristotle objected to Plato that his ideas were merely , that is, that his idealization of the world was merely superficial, and left the things idealized very much what they were before to the sensuous consciousness; and the same may be said of Spinoza's negation of finite things. It was an external and imperfect negation, which did not transform the idea of the finite, but merely substituted the names of attributes and modes for the names of general and individual substances.
The same defective logic, by which the movement of thought in determining the substance is regarded as altogether external to the substance itself, is seen again in Spinoza's conceptions of the relations of the attributes to each other. Adopting the Cartesian opposition of mind and matter, he does not see, any more than Descartes, that in their opposition they are correlative. Or if he did see it (as seems possible from a passage in his earliest treatise),  he regarded the correlation as merely subjective, merely belonging to our thought. They are to him only the two attributes which we happen to know out of the infinite number belonging to God. There is no necessity that the substance should manifest itself in just these attributes and no others, for abstract substance is equally receptive of all determinations, and equally indifferent to them all. Just because the unity is merely generic, the differences are accidental, and do not form by their union any complete whole. If Spinoza had seen that matter in itself is the correlative opposite of mind in itself, he need not have sought by abstracting from the difference of these elements to reach a unity which is manifested in that very difference, and his absolute would have been not substance but spirit. This idea he never reached, but we find him approximating to it in two ways. On the one hand, he condemns the Cartesian conception of matter as passive and self-external, or infinitely divisible - as, in short, the mere opposite of thought.  And sometimes he insists on the parallelism of extension and thought at the expense of their opposition in a way that almost anticipates the assertion by Leibnitz of the essential identity of mind and matter. On the other hand, he recognizes that this parallelism is not complete. Thought is not like a picture; it is conscious, and conscious not only of itself, but of extension. It transcends therefore the absolute distinction between itself and other attributes. It is only because he cannot rid himself of the phantom of an extended matter as a thing in itself, which is entirely different from the idea of it, that Spinoza is prevented from recognising in mind that unity that transcends all distinctions, even its own distinction from matter. As it is, his main reason for saying that intelligence is not an attribute of God, but merely a mode, seems to be this, that the thought of God must be conceived as producing its own object, i.e. as transcending the distinction of subject and object which is necessary to our intelligence.  But this argument of itself points to a concrete quite as much as to an abstract unity. It is as consistent with the idea of absolute spirit as with that of absolute substance. Spinoza's deliberate and formal doctrine is undoubtedly the latter; but he constantly employs expressions which imply the former, as when he speaks of God as causa sui. The higher idea inspires him, though his consciousness only embraces the lower idea.
Spinoza's ethical system
The ethical philosophy of Spinoza is determined by the same principles and embarrassed by the same difficulties as his metaphysics. In it also we find the same imperfect conception of the relation of the positive to the negative elements, and, as a consequence, the same confusion of the highest unity of thought, the affirmation that subordinates and transcends all negation with mere abstract affirmation. Or, to put the same thing in ethical language, Spinoza teaches a morality which is in every point the opposite of asceticism, a morality of self-assertion or self-seeking, and not of self-denial. The conatus sese conservandi is to him the supreme principle of virtue;  yet this self-seeking is supposed, under the guidance of reason, to identify itself with the love of man and the love of God, and to find blessedness not in the reward of virtue, but in virtue itself. It is only confusion of thought and false mysticism that could object to this result on the ground of the element of self still preserved in the amor Dei intellectualis. For it is just the power of identifyihg himself with that which is wider and higher than his individual being that makes morality possible to man. But the difficulty lies in this, that Spinoza will not admit the negative element, the element of mortification or sacrifice, into morality at all, even as a moment of transition. For him there is no dead self, by which we may rise to higher things, no losing of life that we may find it. For the negative is nothing, it is evil in the only sense in which evil exists, and cannot be the source of good. The higher affirmation of our own being, the higher seeking of ourselves which is identical with the love of God, must therefore be regarded as nothing distinct in kind from that first seeking of our natural self which in Spinoza's view belongs to us in common with the animals, and indeed in common with all beings whatever. It must be regarded merely as a direct development and extension of the same thing. The main interest of the Spinozistic ethics therefore lies in observing by what steps he accomplishes this transition, while excluding altogether the idea of a real division of the higher and the lower life, the spirit and flesh, and of a conflict in which the former is developed through the sacrifice of the latter.
Finite creatures exist only as modes of the divine substance, only so far as they partake in the infinite, or what is the same thing with Spinoza, in the purely affirmative or self-affirming nature of God. They therefore must also be self-affirming. They can never limit themselves; their limit lies in this, that they are not identified with the infinite substance which expresses itself also in other modes. In other words, the limit of any finite creature, that which makes it finite, lies without it, and its own existence, so far as it goes, must be pure self-assertion and self-seeking. "Unaquaeque res quantum in se est in suo esse perseverare conatur," and this conatus is its very essence or inmost nature.  In the animals this conatus takes the form of appetite, in man of desire, which is "appetite with the consciousness of it."  But this constitutes no essential difference between appetite and desire, for "whether a man be conscious of his appetite or no, the appetite remains one and the same thing."  Man therefore, like the animals, is purely self-asserting and self-seeking. He can neither know nor will anything but his own being, or if he knows or wills anything else, it must be something involved in his own being. If he knows other beings, or seeks their good, it must be because their existence and their good are involved in his own. If he loves and knows God it must be because he cannot know himself without knowing God, or find his supreme good anywhere but in God.
What at first makes the language difficult to us is the identification of will and intelligence. Both are represented as affirming their objects. Descartes had prepared the way for this when he treated the will as the faculty of judging or giving assent to certain combinations of ideas, and distinguished it from the purely intellectual faculties by which the ideas are apprehended. By this distinction he had, as he supposed, secured a place for human freedom. Admitting that intelligence is under a law of necessity, he claimed for the Will a certain latitude or liberty of indifference, a power of giving or withholding assent in all cases where the relations of ideas were not absolutely clear and distinct. Spinoza points out that there is no ground for such a distinction, that the acts of apprehension and judgment cannot be separated from each other. "In the mind there is no volition, i.e. no affirmation or negation which is not immediately involved in the idea it apprehends," and therefore "intellect and will are one and the same thing."  If, then, there is no freedom except the liberty of indifference, freedom is impossible. Man, like all other beings and things, is under an absolute law of necessity. All the actions of his will, as well as of his intelligence, are but different forms of the self-assertive tendency to which he cannot but yield, because it is one with his very being, or only ideally distinguishable therefrom. There is, however, another idea of liberty. Liberty as the opposite of necessity is an absurdity - it is impossible for either God or man; but liberty as the opposite of slavery is possible, and it is actually possessed by God. The divine liberty consists in this, that God acts from the necessity of his own nature alone, and is not in any way determined from without. And the great question of ethics is, How far can man partake in this liberty? At first it would seem impossible that he should partake in it. He is a finite being, whose power is infinitely surpassed by the power of other beings to which he is related. His body acts only as it is acted on, and his mind cannot therefore apprehend his body, except as affected by other things. His self-assertion and self-seeking are therefore confused with the asserting and seeking of other things, and are never pure. His thought and activity cannot be understood except through the influence of other things which lie outside of his consciousness, and upon which his will has no influence. He cannot know clearly and distinctly either himself or anything else; how then can he know his own good or determine himself by the idea of it?
The answer is the answer of Descartes, that the apprehension of any finite thing involves the adequate idea of the infinite and eternal nature of God.  This is the primary object of intelligence, in which alone is grounded the possibility of knowing either ourselves or anything else. In so far as our knowledge is determined by this idea, or by the ideas of other things, which are referred to this idea and seen in its light, in so far its action flows from an internal and not an external necessity. In so far, on the other hand, as we are determined by the affections of the body, ideas in which the nature of our own body and the nature of other things are confused together, in so far we are determined by an external necessity. Or to put the same thing in what has been shown to be merely another way of expression, in so far as we are determined by pure intelligence we are free, but in so far as we are determined by opinion and imagination we are slaves.
From these premises it is easy to see what form the opposition of reason and passion must necessarily take with Spinoza. The passions belong to our nature as finite; they are grounded on, or rather are but another form of inadequate ideas; but we are free only in so far as our ideas either immediately are, or can be made, adequate. Our idea of God is adequate ex vi termini; our ideas of the affections of our body are inadequate, but can be made adequate in so far as they are referred to the idea of God. And as the idea of God is purely affirmative, this reference to the idea of God implies the elimination of the negative element from the ideas of the affections of the body, "for nothing that is positive in a false idea is removed by the presence of truth as such."  Brought into contact with the idea of God, all ideas become true and adequate, by the removal of the negative or false element in them. The idea of God is, as it were, the touchstone which distinguishes the gold from the dross. It enables us to detect the higher spiritual element in the natural passions, and to sever the element belonging to that pure love of self which is identical with the love of perfection from the elements belonging to that impure love of our own finite individuality as such which is identical with the love of evil.
The imperfection in Spinoza's development of this principle has already been indicated. It is in fact the same imperfection which runs through his whole system. Just as he supposed that the ideas of finite things were at once made consistent with the idea of the infinite when he had named them modes, so here his conception of the change through which selfish natural desire must pass in order to become spiritual is far too superficial and external. Hence he has no sympathy with asceticism, but treats it, like Bentham, as a torva el tristis superstitio. Joy is the "transition from less to greater perfection," and cannot be but good; pain is the "transition from greater to less perfection," and cannot be but evil. The revolt against the medieval opposition of the nature and spirit is visible in many of his sayings. "No Deity who is not envious can delight in my weakness or hurts, or can regard as virtues those fears and sighs and tears which are the signs of the mind's weakness; but contrariwise, the greater is our joy, the greater is our progress to perfection, and our participation in the divine nature."  "A free man thinks of nothing less than death, his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life."  The same idea, combining with the idea of necessity, leads him to condemn repentance and pity, as well as pride and humility. Unconsciously, Spinoza reproduces the principle of asceticism, while in words he utterly rejects it. For though he tells us that pure self-complacency is the highest thing we can hope, yet from this self-complacency all regard to the finite individuality of the subject is eliminated. "Qui Deum amat, conari non potest ut Deus ipsum contra amet." In like manner, he absolutely condemns all hatred, envy, rivalry and ambition, as springing out of an over-estimate of those finite things which one only can possess, while the highest good is that which is enjoyed the more easily and fully the greater the number of participants. Yet Spinoza's exaltation of the social life, and of the love that binds it together, is too like the Buddhist's universal charity that embraces all creatures, and all creatures equally. Both are based on an abstraction from all that is individual, only the Buddhist's abstraction goes a step further, and erases even the distinction between man and the animals. Spinoza felt the pressure of this all-levelling logic when he said, "I confess I cannot understand how spirits express God more than the other creatures, for I know that between the finite and the infinite there is no proportion, and that the distinction between God and the most excellent of created things differs not a whit from the distinction between him and the lowest and meanest of them."  As Pope said, God is "as full and perfect in a hair as a heart"; in all finite things there is a ray of divinity, and in nothing more than a ray. Yet in another epistle Spinoza contradicts this view, and declares that, while he does not consider it necessary to "know Christ after the flesh, he does think it is necessary to know the eternal Son of God, i.e. God's eternal wisdom, which is manifested in all things, but chiefly in the mind of man, and most of all in Christ Jesus."  In the Ethics the distinction of man and the animals is treated as an absolute distinction, and it is asserted with doubtful consistency that the human soul cannot all be destroyed along with the body, for that there is something of it which is eternal. Yet from this eternity we must, of course, eliminate all notion of the consciousness of the finite self as such. At this point, in short, the two opposite streams of Spinoza's thought, the positive method he intends to pursue, and the negative or abstracting method he really does pursue, meet in irreconcilable contradiction. The finite must be related to the infinite so as to preserve all that is in it of reality; and therefore its limit or the negative element in it must be abstracted from. But it turns out that, with this abstraction from a negative element involved in the existence of the finite, the positive also disappears, and God is all in all in a sense that absolutely excludes the existence of the finite. "The mind's intellectual love of God," says Spinoza, "is the very love wherewith God loves himself, not in so far as he is infinite, but in so far as he can be expressed by the essence of the human mind, considered under the form of eternity; i.e. the mind's intellectual love of God is part of the infinite love wherewith God loves himself."  This double "in so far," which returns so frequently in Spinoza, just conceals for a moment the contradiction of two streams of thought, one of which must be swallowed up by the other, if they are once allowed to meet.
General importance of the Cartesian school
We have now reviewed the main points of the system, which was the ultimate result of the principles of Descartes. The importance of this first movement of modern philosophy lies in its assertion and exhibition of the unity of the intelligible world with itself and with the mind of man. In this point of view, it was the philosophical counterpart of Protestantism; but, like Protestantism in its earliest phase, it passed rapidly from the doctrine that God is, without priest or authority, present to man's spirit, to the doctrine that man's spirit is as nothing before God. The object was too powerful for the subject, who effaced himself before God that he might be strong towards men. But in this natural movement of feeling and thought it was forgotten that God who effaced the world and the finite spirit by his presence could not be a living God. Spinoza gives the ultimate expression to this tendency, and at the same time marks its limit, when he says that whatever reality is in the finite is of the infinite. But he is unsuccessful in showing that, on the principles on which he starts, there can be any reality in the finite at all. Yet even if the finite be an illusion, still more if it be better than an illusion, it requires to be accounted for. Spinoza accounts for it neither as illusory nor as real. It was reserved for the following generation of philosophers to assert, in different ways, the reality of the finite, the value of experience and the futility of abstractions. Spinoza had declared that true knowledge consists in seeing things under the form of eternity, but it is impossible that things can be seen under the form of eternity unless they have been first seen under the form of time. The one-sided assertion of individuality and difference in the schools of Locke and Leibnitz was the natural complement of the one-sided assertion of universality and unity in the Cartesian school. But when the individualistic tendency of the 18th century had exhausted itself, and produced its own refutation in the works of Kant, it was inevitable that the minds of men should again turn to the great philosopher, who, with almost perfect insight working through imperfect logic, first formulated the idea of a unity presupposed in and transcending the difference of matter and mind, subject and object.
See the Histories of Philosophy, especially those by Hegel, Feuerbach, Erdmann and Fischer; F. Bouillier, Histoire de la philosophie cartésienne (1854); Ollé-Laprune, Philosophie de Malebranche; E. Saisset, Précurseurs et disciples de Descartes (1862). The German treatises on Spinoza are too numerous to mention. Jacobi's Letters on Spinoza, which were the beginning of a true interpretation of his philosophy, are still worth reading. We may also mention C. Schaarschmidt, Descartes und Spinoza (1850); C. Sigwart, Spinozas neuentdeckter Tractat von Gott, dem Menschen, und dessen Glückseligkeit (1866). Both these writers have published German translations of the Tractatus de Deo. See also Trendelenburg, Historische Beiträge zur Philosophie (1867); R. Avenarius, Uber die beiden ersten Phasen des spinozischen Pantheismus (1868); M. Joël, Zur Genesis der Lehre Spinozas (1871); R. Willis, Benedict de Spinoza: his Ethics, Life and Influence on Modern Religious Thought (1870); F. Pollock, Spinoza, his Life and Philosophy (1880); J. Martineau, Types of Ethical Theory (1885); J. Caird, Spinoza (in Blackwood's Philosophical Series); H.H. Joachim, A Study of the Ethics of Spinoza (1901); R. Adamson, The Development of Modern Philosophy (1903); also articles Descartes, Malebranche, and Spinoza.
 For biographical details see Descartes; Malebranche; Spinoza.
 Resp. ad secundas objectiones, p. 74, - quoting from the Elzevir edition.
 Resp. ad tertias object, p. 94.
 Meditatio tertia, p. 21.
 Resp. quartae, p. 234.
 Meditatio quarta, p. 26.
 Resp. ad sec. object. p. 75.
 Resp. ad sec. object. pp. 72-73.
 Resp. Sextae, 160-163.
 Principia, i. 35.
 Notae in Programma, p. 184.
 Epistolae, i. 110.
 Resp. Sextae, pp. 165-166.
 Epist. i. 66, 67.
 Princ. i. 60.
 Morale, i. I, §2.
 Recherche, iii. pt. ii. ch. vi.
 Recherche, ch. vii.
 Recherche, ch. i.
 Morale, i. 2, § 5.
 Entretien. i. § 5.
 Recherche, iii. pt. ii ch. vii., § 4.
 Recherche, ch. ix.
 Recherche, i. pt. i. ch. i.
 Recherche, i. pt. i. ch. iv.
 Recherche, iv. ch. i.
 Entretien, iv.
 Recherche, v. ch. iv.
 Recherche, iv. ch. i.
 Morale, pt. i. ch. i. § 9.
 Recherche, iv. ch. v.
 Eth. ii. schol. 7.
 Eth. i. schol. 29.
 De Emend. viii. § 38.
 Eth. ii. lemma, 7 schol.
 Eth. iv. 3.
 Eth. ii. 40, schol. 2.
 De Emend. vii. § 42.
 Eth. ii. schol. 10.
 Epist. 32.
 Epist. 27.
 Eth. ii. 7.
 Epist. 27.
 Eth. i. schol. 17.
 Tractatus de Deo et homine. ii. 19.
 Epist. 29, 70.
 Eth. i. schol. 17.
 Eth. iv. schol. 22.
 Eth. iii. 6, 7.
 Eth. iii. 9.
 Eth. iii. Def. Affect. 1.
 Eth. ii. 49.
 Eth. ii. 45.
 Eth. iv. 1.
 Eth. iv. schol. 45.
 Eth. iv. 67.
 Epist. 57.
 Epist. 21.
 Eth. v. 36.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)