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The Explainability of ExperienceRealism and Subjectivity in Spinoza's Theory of the Human Mind$
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Ursula Renz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199350162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199350162.001.0001

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The Possibility of Producing Successful Explanations

(p.223) 14 Epistemology
The Explainability of Experience

Ursula Renz

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses a handful of epistemological concepts that are crucial for the possibility of producing successful explanations. It begins by examining the distinction between truth and adequacy, which is interpreted as a prerequisite for Spinoza’s epistemic perfectionism. It continues by considering the claim that there are ideas of any idea in God. Rather than assuming that all ideas are accompanied by reflexive ideas, it is argued, Spinoza posits the possibility of forming ideas of any given idea. Next, it discusses the concept of common notions and shows that Spinoza uses it to defend a general principle for the reliable framing of concepts that allows us to obtain adequate knowledge of certain properties. Finally, the chapter examines what amounts to intuitive knowledge, arguing that it is the ultimate goal of all epistemic effort for Spinoza: to intuitively know some object is to have complete comprehension of its complete determinateness.

Keywords:   truth, adequacy, idea of idea, reflexive idea, common notion, intuitive knowledge, epistemic perfectionism

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