Puzzling about Spinoza on expression (part 2)

My previous post asked some questions about Spinoza’s notion of expression. I’m particularly interested in – puzzled by, really – the expression done by attributes and modes. In that post, I asked whether it helped to think of Spinoza’s talk of expression using the model provided by Leibniz’s claim that “every effect expresses its cause” (Discourse on […]

Puzzling about Spinoza on expression (part 1)

Writing about Leibniz on expression got me thinking about other early modern talk about expression, and in particular about Spinoza, who talks several times in his Ethics about things expressing others. Some of this expressing involves language, but other cases seem not to. Thus both attributes and modes are said to express things. For example, 1p6 talks of the infinite attributes of […]

Do only minds express God?

[Cross-posted from modsquad.] As I’ve been arguing in previous posts, Leibniz in 1686 offered an argument that [A] all individual substances express God. As he put the point in the essay “Primary Truths”, “all individual created substances are different expressions of the same universe and different expressions of the same universal cause, namely God” (my italics). However Leibniz also […]

Why think that substances express their causes?

[Cross-posted from modsquad.] Leibniz thought (at least sometimes) that substances express God, because they express their causes. But why did he think that substances express their causes? In this post I briefly explore three ways in which we might try to understand his reasons for this. Version 1: expression and knowledge The late-1670s note “What is […]

Leibniz on substances’ expression of God

[Cross-posted from modsquad.] Leibniz frequently uses the notion of expression. Expression is apparently a sort of representation relation. But what, according to Leibniz, has to happen for one thing to express another? Well, what often seems clear is the requirement that there be a regular relation between the expresser and the expressed. We might understand the debates […]