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4th “Methodologies” Study Group Session, 2nd Unit

4th “Methodologies” Study Group Session, 2nd Unit

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  On June 21, 2014, at Toyo University Hakusan Campus (Building 6, Faculty of Letters Meeting Room) the fourth “Methodology” studygroup meeting (hosted by the 2nd Unit of Ircp) was held. Watanabe Hiroyuki (Ircp Visiting Researcher) gave a talk entitled “Spinoza’s ‘Methodology.’”

 The primarily philosophical aims of Spinoza’s (1632–1677) main philosophical work Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order (below, Ethics) are as follows: To show that the knowledgeof “God,” which he defines in the book’s Part One, is the highest good for the human mind. To show that “intellectual love” towards God arises in the human mind from this knowledge of God. To show that this “intellectual love” of God is part of God's love that is directed towards Himself. To show that human “Blessedness”consistsin this “love.” And so on.

  In his incomplete early work Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, he asserts that, in order to obtain this intellectual love towards God, one must learn the method for the intellect to correctly cognize things, as well as guide one’s mind and improve the intellect while following the norms that this method provides. Watanabe pointed out that there is a natural connection between this methodological conception in Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect and the fact that Spinoza adopted in his Ethics Descartes’ “geometrical manner” from Second Responseof his Meditations on First Philosophy. Watanabe said that a set of analyses relating to the “definition” found in Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect supports this interpretation.

  As Spinoza wrote his Ethics, the method of improving the intellect found in Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect faded into the background. He states in the introduction to the Part Fiveof it that this method involves “completing the intellect” and falls under the category of Logic. Watanabe suggested that Spinoza did reject his own methodology from his Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, however, he ceased to see it as the only wayto reach “Blessedness.”

  Many people took part in the post-presentation question and answer session, including center researchers and outside participants. Several questions were raised by researchers working in the same area, leading to rich discussions, for example, considering Spinoza’s philosophical methodology from a diverse set of perspectives.2