Paper Example on Theories of Kant and Spinoza

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1559 Words
Date:  2022-09-20

Emotions as part of bodily and mental processes

Baruch Spinoza considers human emotions as "surfaces of lines, planes or solids" (Spinoza, 1677). Just like any other modes, emotions are natural, and law governed. Spinoza claims that human emotions can be analyzed through mathematical precision. This means that the human behavior which is governed by emotions should be entirely comprehensible and understandable. Spinoza claimed that it is more productive to understand feelings than to avoid them. Spinoza categorized the body and the mind differently but described them as an aspect of the same thing. He recognized the body as a substance which has different elements. The mind manifests the body. He emphasizes the integrity and unity of human existence. Spinoza pronounced the functions of the feelings and memories. Spinoza believes that all existing things are modifications which have been brought about by God or nature.

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Human beings as part of nature

Spinoza tends to analyze the most serious challenges that he faces through the process of his naturalism. He tries to show his readers that human beings follow the order law of nature. He believes that human beings have causal natures which are similar to ordinary objects. Therefore he believes that human beings should follow the rules and order of nature. Spinoza also makes an effort to show the moral concepts. He believes that the good and evil have a basis on human psychology and just the same human beings are not different from the other elements of nature, the same way moral concepts are not different from the other concepts.

Substance of God

Spinoza addresses who God is. He believes that God is a combination of the physical and natural laws and states that is not a being or a creator that is believed by many individuals. He claims that God is a sum of substances in the Universe and hence everything is part of God/ Bodies are just attributes of God by extension (Spinoza, 1677). The most critical aspects of bodies or any other physical material are that they can be extended. This means that they can take up space. All bodies have the movement and rest traits. According to Spinoza, we tend to comprehend something fully when we are sure of what causes it and how it causes it. However, as far as philosophy is concerned, this is hard to fulfill. This is because everything is intertwined. To understand the human emotions, Spinoza uses an approach which draws a discrepancy between passivity and activity. Activity is depicted when something happens within or of us, and we are the sole cause of this. On the other hand, passivity is depicted when something happens in us which we have partially caused. When active our nature usually drives us, and when passive we are influenced by something or someone else (Roth, 2007).

Spinoza proclaims that everything tends to endure in its existence. To survive, we require power or energy. External factors may affect our ability, and hence we should seek to increase this power not only sustain it. A person's power usually changes with time, and the feelings of joy are correlated with an upsurge in power and sadness comes along when the power decreases. This means that the desire to exist is always related to the search for joy and pleasure. Whatever increases our power makes us feel good and happy.

Spinoza describes joy and sadness as the two critical emotions in a human being. He claims that all other feelings are just extensions of these emotions. These emotions are dependent on the causative agents. For example, love is connected with Joy and hatred is associated with sadness. Spinoza stresses that those feelings are governed with imagination other than reality. For example, a love that is toxic may weaken someone's spirits. The feelings of joy and sadness also can be active or passive. This depends on the awareness of the individual in regards to the feelings.

From this analogy, it is important to understand the cause of different kinds of feelings. This might result from combining several external factors flowing from us. This knowledge equips us with the ability to avoid suffering from our own emotions. Understanding our emotions will help us in our day to day activities. If a passion is driven by emotion, it stops being a passion. When the main gets aware of the emotions going through it the signals result to an upsurge of power which produces feelings of joy. From this Spinoza says that understanding our emotions results in a joyful experience.

Spinoza also believed that it is not possible to be happy without living virtuously with other people. Good people tend to be virtuous while bad people tend to be self-centered. Spinoza also believed that to be moral you have to practice self-help. As we get to understand our true nature it essential to live virtuous lives. Spinoza helps us in understanding our emotions, understanding our feelings increases our power. Therefore if everyone increases their power, they are also able to empower others. If you empower others, they become more active than passive. Passivity subjects individuals to therapy or charity. Spinoza is seen to enable his readers in this particular way. This idea of thinking is however individualistic and is specific to an individual because we all have different ways of thinking.

The priori and posteriori Capacities of the Mind According to Kant

(Edwin, 2009) Conducted research and came up with the idea that expressions priori and posteriori are used in events where a proposition is known. Any proposition known priori is not dependent on any experience. However, any proposition that is known posteriori is known out of the experience. For example, the saying that all bachelors are unmarried is a priori while the proposition that it is sunny outside is posteriori. The two terms are differentiated through justification. Priori does not require justification while posteriori requires justification. For example, to know that all bachelors are unmarried does not need one to be married but you have to prove the sunny status outside through for example consulting someone who has experience in weather (Kant, 1781).

The above examples of priori justification have a positive depiction that it arises from pure reason. Therefore, priori opens several avenues of investigation. For example, it is important to know the experiences that posteriori justification depends. Kant argues that our ability to have a priori knowledge gives us the ability to know new important truths. Kant does not, however, use the rationalists' metaphysics in emphasizing the ability of pure reason to grasp the mysteries of the Universe. Kant claims that whatever is perceived as realized is shaped by one's mind perceiving ability. According to Kant, the mind cannot receive information passively which has been provided by the senses. Preferably, the mind tries to make sense of that information. Our minds arrange sensory experiences in temporal progressions. When our mind can perceive how events cause other events, it is because our minds operate in the cause and effect manner.

Kant argues that someone wearing blue tinted glasses happens to see everything in blue color. He claims that our minds are time tinted and have causal and effect tinted glasses. Kant argues that time and space are just from pure intuitions of sensibility. The sensory experiences only make sense because our sensitivity processes it and organizes it according to our instincts of space and time. Mathematics comes from this senses. For example, the number one sense comes intuitions of time. Geometry, however, on the other hand, comes from the intuitions of space. The intuitions of space and time organize our experiences regarding perceptions like cause and effect which make up the principles of natural science.


Kant turns to metaphysics and claims that it depends on our faculty of reasoning which assists in reasoning devoid of experience. Kant claimed that metaphysicians tend to reason and attempt to reason beyond the grasp of logic this leading to confusion. Kant was able to give the distinction between analytic and synthetic practices. He associates the analytic to the priori and the synthetic to posteriori. There is a close connection between the two concepts. For example, if its terms purely determine a certain proposition, the knowledge for this proposition usually requires experience (Kant, 1781, section1/page/2.)

In other words, the proposition depends on how the world is. However, despite the connection between the two distinctions, some differences exist. For instance, the priori distinction tends to be epistemological. This means that is concerned with how a priori maybe knew or believed. The analytic distinction, on the other hand, is somewhat logical and is what makes a proposition true. However, Kant claims that there are instances in which prior justification has depicted synthetic distinction. For example, if something is green all over, it cannot be red all over. This analogy is however clearly not analytic.

It is clear that an object cannot have two qualities at the same time. If an object is green all over, it cannot be red all over. Therefore if a proposition is priori, it does not mean that it has to be analytic. Consequently, the relationship between analytic, synthetic and necessity is quite hard to differentiate. However, many philosophers believe that various distinctions overlap. It is safe to conclude that a priori and the posteriori distinction is epistemological, the analytic distinction is linguistic while the significant differe...

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