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Subject: Re: Why Spinoza Had No Aesthetics
From: Ken Wilson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Ken Wilson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 22 Nov 2016 15:52:39 -0500

text/plain (49 lines)

-----Original Message----- 
From: Genevieve Castle Room

> Spinoza's moral
rationalism means that the emotions, which are linked to the imagination
and senses, are the source of unfreedom, vice, and unhappiness. This
implies that the good life is possible only if the passions are mastered;
and this, Spinoza holds, can only be done by reason and the intellect. <

Hmm, I wonder how well that little project worked for Spinoza. I relate more 
to St. Paul: "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would 
not, that I do." Reason can tell us what's right, or at least, depending on 
one's view, help us to know it, but knowing what's right doesn't give us the 
strength to do it. The 12-steppers testify to that, but they're just the 
rest of us, in one aspect of our lives or another, writ large.

Obligatory semi-opera-related content:

> I see Spinoza's rationalism and materialism favorably and I like his
abstract, non-religious views of God.... But this intellectual appreciation
for his positions does not include subscribing to the impact that taking
rationalism to an extreme has on aesthetics because I'm more on the
Epicurean side, obviously!! <

Not to put you on the spot - and thanks for the stimulating post - but 
doesn't Spinoza's "indifference to art and beauty" logically follow from his 
rationalism and materialism? How can you admire the philosophy and justify 
valuing an art form?

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