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Spinoza, metaphysical themes

s. barbone what counts as individual in Spinoza

5 What Counts as an Individual for Spinoza? show abstracts and keywords Steven Barbone The appearance in 1969 of Alexandre Matheron's monumental classic in Spinoza studies, Individu et communaut chez Spinoza, 1 continues to have much impact on contemporary interpretation and scholarship. Indeed, this naturalist interpretation is widely accepted. 2 A contrary interpretation, that is, that the political state does not possess the metaphysical status of an individual, has been argued, but it has not been as widely accepted as the naturalist position. 3 This latter reading of Spinoza would hold that the political state or society is a quasi-individual. It does not deny that the state seems to act or to operate, nor that the state is a powerful influence on the lives of the people who find themselves in it; it simply denies the status of an individual to the state, and along with that status, the right and power the state would have possessed had it been an individual. 4 It may seem that not much hinges on whether the political state is considered an individual. After all, it still acts on us and affects us in many ways. It seems important, nevertheless, to give this question careful consideration and to determine exactly what constitutes an individual for Spinoza. 1. Individuals in General Perhaps the surest way to understand what Spinoza means by individual is to look at how he himself uses the word. Individuum or one of its cognates is used fifty-three times in the Ethica, eight times in the TTP, and a scant three times each in the TP and the Correspondence. 5 Of these sixty-seven uses, Spinoza often employs the word in an informal, as opposed to systematic, manner; for example, insofar as we are a part of nature, [a part] which through itself cannot adequately be conceived without other individuals (4app1). When Spinoza uses the word individuum in a systematic sense, however, he means to signal to his readers not merely a thing or a collection of things, but a unified being with a particular essence, which exists (or did or will exist). When Spinoza does not want to express this systematic notion of end p.89 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved individual, he has recourse to the word res, which does appear several hundred times in his works. 6 This is not to say, however, that there exists in Spinoza's works an explicit and clearly delineated theory of individuation. The texts, however, intimate that such a theory is present and underlies much of what he says about bodies, minds, and the human condition. Since the great majority of occurrences of the word individuum are in the Ethica, we begin our examination there. The only occurrence of this term in the first part of the Ethica is early in a scholium where Spinoza argues that the definition of something never implies the number of its instantiations; for example, the definition of a triangle does not contain in it a certain number of triangles (1p8s). 7 The only information concerning individuals in this passage, then, is that every single thing (and every individual inasmuch as individuals are a subset of things) must have a certain cause to be this or that thing (or this or that individual). 8 Accordingly we must look elsewhere to determine what Spinoza means by individual. Perhaps more promising is part 2 of the Ethica, where the term occurs thirty-four times, mostly within the discussion of one proposition (p13). As is his custom, and as one would expect from an exposition ordine geometrico, Spinoza begins part 2 of the Ethica with several definitions, and in one he refers

explicitly to individuals: If many individuals [individua] concur in one action so that simultaneously they cause one effect, to that extent do I consider them to be a single thing [rem singularem] (2d7). But from this definition, all we learn about individuals is that, if they exist and act simultaneously to produce a single effect, they can be considered to that extent (eatenus) to be a single thing. So far, then, all we can infer is that there may be some things that are composed of individuals. Perhaps Spinoza is thinking, for example, of a flash flood with its mass of debris; the various rocks, plants, animals, as well as the water itself and other materials caught up by the flood's force are the individuals that act simultaneously for a single effect (the flattening of whatever is in its way), and the flood itself is to be counted as a single thing, but not necessarily another individual (rem singularem, not individuum). We have still not learned what precisely individuals are, but we do know that they might together compose things to the extent that their combined actions have one effect. The next occurrence, at 2a3, tells us that affects (affectus) can occur only if an individual has an idea of the object of that affect. 9 A definition of individual is yet to be given, but from this axiom we know that individuals may be subject to an affect if the individuals have an idea of a thing that causes the affect (although the idea does not necessarily have to be correct). This is the same use of the word individual found in 2p11d, which happens to have 2a3 as its logical antecedent. Ethics 2p13 is important for Spinoza. Here he begins to expound his understanding of the mind/body union 10 and announces that this may be understood only through a proper comprehension of the body. 11 The term individual is used twenty times. It is here that we finally acquire a firmer grip on what an individual is. In fact, a provisional definition is given after 2p13le3a2d. When many bodies of the same or diverse size form close contact with one another through the pressure of other bodies upon them, or if they are moving at the end p.90 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved same or different rates of speed so that their motions share in a certain pattern [ratione] among themselves, we say that these bodies are united to each other and that they compose one body, that is, an individual [sive Individuum], which is distinguished from other things through this union of bodies. An individual, then, is that which is composed of various bodies (of varying or the same sizes) that maintain an unvarying relationship with each other. Note that this definition states that an individual is one body separated from other bodies. Spinoza's sive in the Ethica can be read as that is rather than the traditional or of many translators. 12 Sive functions, then, to equate explicitly a connection between two terms or ideas that earlier was only implied (for example, one body and individual). To interpret sive this way allows the argumentation to flow more mathematically. 13 Besides, Spinoza does use the terms vel and aut often, which are translated as or. We will need to recall this definition in later sections. The four lemmata that follow this extraordinary definition instruct us further about individuals. 14 Ethics 2p13le3 deals with the nature of solidity of composite bodies or (vel) individuals. Solid bodies are entities whose particles maintain close contact at the surface, while liquids are bodies whose particles are always in a constant flux relative to one another. This shows how the same individual can take on different shapes. Ethics 2p13le47, however, concern the continuous identity of an individual. Ethics 2p13le4 and its demonstration note that a body composed of other bodies, that is, an individual, maintains the same nature as an individual if any or all of its parts are replaced simultaneously by other parts of the same nature. Moreover, lemma 5 states that an individual composed of parts remains the same individual even if its parts increase or decrease in size, provided that they preserve their mutual relation of motion and rest. In 2p13le6 and 7 it is asserted that an individual composed of bodies maintains its identity despite changes in direction of motion or in motion itself (that is, from motion to rest or vice versa), provided that the mutual relation of motion and rest of

the parts remain constant. 15 In a formula reminiscent of Aristotle, Spinoza intimates that the unvarying relation of motion and rest of the parts be considered as the form (forma) of the individual. 16 Thus, if this relation remains uniform, there is no change in form (2p13le4, 5, 6). 17 These few statements, then, outline a theory of individuals which accounts for metabolic change, growth and diminution, change of posture, and locomotion. They also strongly suggest that some sort of form or structure is a necessary component of the concept of an individual. There are still other uses of individual in Spinoza's discussion at 2p13; 2p13le7s is a treasure trove of information concerning individuals in Spinoza. Here we learn that there are different levels of being an individual: Thus we see how a composite individual can be affected in many ways and nevertheless preserve its nature. Until now we have conceived only of an individual composed of bodies distinguished from one another only by motion and rest and speed of movement; that is, an individual composed of the simplest bodies. If we now conceive another [individual (aliud)] composed of several individuals of end p.91 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved different natures, we shall find that this can be affected in many other ways while still preserving its nature. . . . Now if we go on to conceive a third kind of individual composed of this second kind, we shall find that it can be affected in many other ways without any change of form. If we thus continue to infinity, we easily shall conceive the whole of nature to be one individual whose parts, i.e., all bodies, vary in infinite ways without any change in the individual as a whole To begin with, there are individuals composed of simple bodies. Spinoza writes ex corporibus simplicissimis componitur; thus it would be an error to understand him to mean that there are individuals that are only single simple bodies. Rather, individuals may be composed of these simple bodies. The scholium also mentions that there are different levels or kinds of individuals (tertium Individuorum genus, ex his secundis compositum) and that the process of conceiving greater and greater individuals continues infinitely and terminates only (if Spinoza's concept of infinity includes a limit) 18 at the whole of nature itself, which is also infinite. Different ideas as to what these higher order individuals might be come to mind. Is Spinoza speaking of, for example, a blood cell's relation to the bloodstream and the bloodstream's relation to the whole animal? Could he mean the relationship between members and a club, citizens and a country, men and humanity? Is there another order that might include person, ecosystem, planet, solar system, and so on? These questions will be set aside for now but explored as other passages that include individuum are examined. The postulates of 2p13 are not nearly as rich as one may hope. In all three uses of individuum there, it is stated that individuals of diverse natures (2p13p01) make up the human body. This is similiar to the use of individual already found at 2d7, 2p15d, 2p24d, and 4app1. Likewise, 4pref is not especially informative, inasmuch as all it tells us is that all individuals can be classified as being (ens). Ethics 2p49s asserts merely that the term universal may refer to one, many, or an infinite number of individuals. Ethics 2p25d comments that there may be some individuals external to a human body which are also individuals. Ethics 4app7 and 4app9 both refer to an individual's being with other like-natured individuals or other individuals of the same species (reliqua ejusdum speciei individua [4app9]). Ethics 4app10 mentions only that the more powerful a person is, the more fear is inspired. From these passages, all we can gather is that human beings are made up of individual parts, that individuals are beings, that there exist individuals outside the human body, that an individual can be with other individuals of the same kind, and that a powerful person is to be more feared than other individuals. In this last passage, it is weakly implied that human beings may be counted as individuals. A weak implication might not suffice, however, if there were no other texts to support such an idea, and so it is now to these texts that we turn. 2. The Human Individual

Ethics 2p21s is important. There Spinoza declares that an individual is at once a mind and a body, conceived under an attribute either of thought or of extension. 19 end p.92 Spinoza does not say here that an individual has a mind or that it has a body, but that it is both of these and that thinking and extension are actually one and the same thing conceived in different ways. 20 This text is followed by the inference that human bodies are individuals. And inasmuch as [quatenus] the human body is an individual, it can be affected in many ways (2p17d). A human body, then, and a human mind by 2p21s, is to be counted as an individual. (It is worth restating that these are not two individuals, but one.) Up until this point, the only individual Spinoza has named is the whole of nature (the universe); in fact, human beings and the universe are the only entities that Spinoza does specifically identify as individuals. But to return to the text at hand, quatenus should give us pause. This term often denotes a counterfactual, a condition that does not hold. Can Spinoza be saying that a person really is not an individual but is merely an individual-like thing? Strong arguments support the reading that people are in fact individuals and that quatenus here does not indicate a counterfactual. The first consideration is grammatical; Spinoza uses the indicative mood (est), not the subjunctive (sit) which more commonly signals a counterfactual condition. Furthermore, Spinoza has already mentioned that there are levels of individuals (2p13le7s), and so he could be understood to mean that people are to be counted as individuals on a certain level but that they would not be counted as a higher order individual in which they are mere parts. So, inasmuch as human bodies are conceived as separate entities, they are individuals; inasmuch as these same bodies form another individual of a different level, they are not individuals. This interpretation is supported by 2p24d: The component parts of the human body do not pertain to the essence of this body itself except inasmuch [quatenus] as they share an unchanging pattern of motion with each other (see definition after 2p13le3), and they cannot be considered to be individuals considered apart from their relation to the human body. Indeed the parts of the human body are composed of individuals (by 2p13po1) whose parts (by 2p13le4) can be separated from the human body without impairing the nature or form of that human body, and they can share their motions in another relationship with other bodies. The parts that form a human body (although Spinoza does not say what these parts arecells, organs, systems?) are individuals considered in themselves, but they are not individuals if considered as parts of the body that they compose. Notice also that in this passage quatenus occurs in an indicative construction. That Spinoza maintains that any individual may be conceived as being both a mind and a body, that people may be counted as individuals in some way (or at some level), that higher order individuals are composed of other individuals, and that the human body is something composed of such individuals, all suggest that Spinoza means that a human being is a kind of individual that exists both as a mind and a body. This concludes the discussion of the passages from the second part of the Ethica; only a few remain from parts 3 and 4. In fact, in part 3 of the Ethica, all uses of individuum occur in a discussion of the same proposition, including its demonstration and scholium. Ethics 3p57 states, Inasmuch as the essence of one individual differs end p.93 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved from that of another, to that extent the affects of the one differ from the affects of the other. This is repeated nearly verbatim in the demonstration, and although Spinoza's scholia are usually very informative, the scholium here adds nothing to our understanding of individuals other than to emphasize that while Spinoza is writing for a human audience, he does not limit himself to speaking about people. The scholium certainly refers to human individuals, but it also refers to other entities

that are explicitly listed: horses, insects, fishes, and birds. From this proposition, we learn that individuals (presumably of the same level) may differ in essence. 21 Except for one, all the passages from part 4 of the Ethica have been treated in the preceding discussion. Much ink has been spilled over the remaining one: If, for example, two individuals with a completely identical nature [prorsus naturae] join, they compose a single individual twice as powerful as either one singly (4p18s). Unlike the previous passages in which individual parts of different natures (for example, 2p24d) combine to make another individual, here Spinoza says that if individual parts that have an identical nature are joined, then the newly constructed individual will be twice as powerful as either of its two components. Some commentators have concluded that this passage allows for the construction of common universal natures (for example, Humanity), 22 while others have denied such a reading. 23 Despite the various commentaries, in this passage Spinoza is speaking of two individuals with numerically identical (not merely similar or even extremely similar) natures that are joined, and, as we shall see, this condition (of identity) can never hold. 3. The Political Texts Although not yet fully expanded, an outline of Spinozistic individuals becomes evident from these passages. For the sake of completeness, however, we must also look at the relevant passages from the political treatises, which, in comparison to those in the Ethica, are relatively few. Except once (TTP17/15), every use of individuum in these tracts appears in those sections in which Spinoza attempts to provide some metaphysical underpinnings for his political ideas. We find the consistent application of the term not only to human beings, but also to every other entity that qualifies for the status of an individual. Thus it should be clear that for Spinoza, people are to be counted as only so much furniture found in a universe full of other individual furnishings. The texts make this clear: The word law, taken in the absolute sense, means that according to which any individual [unumquodque individuum]either all of them or those of the same typeact by a certain one and determined manner [ratione]. (TTP4/1, 134) By right [Jus] and order [Institutum] of nature I mean nothing other than the rules of nature for any individual [uniuscujusque individui] according to which we conceive it to be naturally determined to exist and to operate in a certain way [ad certo modo existendum et operandum]. . . . [S]ince the power [potentia] end p.94 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved of all of nature is nothing other than the power [potentiam] of all individuals [omnium individuorum] taken simultaneously, it follows that any individual [unumquodque individuum] has the highest right to do all that it can do, that is, its right extends as far as its determined power extends. . . . [I]t follows that any individual [unumquodque individuum] has the highest right (as I said) to exist and to operate [ad existendum et operandum] as is naturally determined. Nor here do we acknowledge any difference between people and nature's other individuals. (TTP16/2, 258) [A]nd so natural right of all of nature, and consequently any individual [uniuscujusque individui] extends as far as its power [potentia]. (TP2/4) Nobody can deny that a person, like other individuals, strives to preserve himself as much as he can. (TP2/7) [T]he laws of the whole of nature, of which mankind is a tiny part, respect an eternal order, and it is by this order alone that all individuals [omnia individua] necessarily are determined to exist and to operate in a certain way [certo modo determinantur ad existendum et operandum]. (TP2/8) The unumquodque (any or each) signals that Spinoza is speaking very generally, while the occasional omne (all) reinforces this notion. That he includes people as a subset of individual things is evident. It is also important that individuals are things that exist and operate according to certain laws determined by nature itself and that individuals have as much right (jus) as they have power (potentia).

The final passage from the TTP, while it does not say very much concerning the metaphysical status of an individual, does have much to say about what is not an individual: [A]nd what about nature? Nature certainly does not create nations, but individuals, which are not distinguished by nationalities [in nationes] but by the diversity of language, laws, and accepted mores [TTP17/15, 284] For the present, we need not make much of this point; however, we will see that this passage is important for understanding Spinoza. At this point, suffice it to say that in this passage Spinoza is not only speaking of merely a nation (natio), but of peoples or races (gens) or the political state (imperium). 24 4. Introductory Analysis The mere listing of passages in which Spinoza uses the term individuum provides, however, only an outline for determining his theory of individuals. Although knowing how and when he uses this term will be useful later, what we need now is an explication to complete the sketch. One might think that such an explanation of the notion of an individual should begin with a study of the Ethica, but a better end p.95 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved beginning is the two political treatises. Spinoza certainly did not expound all of his metaphysical or psychological theories in these, but Edwin Curley has suggested: The TTP is a prolegomenon to the Ethics, not only in the sense that it is an attempt to remove a prejudice standing in the way of an appreciation of the philosophical argument of the Ethics . . . but also in the sense that it is an attempt to present, in a less forbidding, non-geometrical form . . . many teachings of the Ethics. 25 But we can go beyond Curley's suggestion and include also the TP as well in our search for Spinoza's theory of individuals; after all, Spinoza does refer to individuals in both treatises. While we shall follow Curley's lead, we must also admit that no study of individuals in Spinoza can afford to neglect Matheron's classic, Individu et communaut chez Spinoza. 26 Right or wrong, it is a sturdy foundation for our understanding of the notion of an individual in Spinoza. We begin our explication, then, with the texts themselves. The greater part of the texts dealing with individuals are in the sixteenth chapter of the TTP and in the second of the TP. In these chapters Spinoza clarifies precisely what he means by nature (considered not only as the whole universe, but as the nature of each individual thing) and the right that each individual has, inasmuch as it is an individual, to preserve that nature. As noted earlier, Spinoza holds that the right of each individual is commensurate with its own nature; one could even say that an individual's right is its modus operandi (recall TTP16/2, 258; cf. TP2/4). Fishes, to use Spinoza's example, have the right to live in water because living in water belongs to their defined nature. Simply put, to be a fish means (among other things) to live in water. For something to be a fish, it must exist and operate as a fish; for something to be an x, it must exist and operate as an x. 27 This is nearly tautological, but Spinoza makes much use of this simple truth. The nature of each individual determines the way it exists and operates (ad certo modo existendum et operandum). 28 According to this passage, then, an individual is a particular individual precisely because it exists and operates as that individual. If its existence or its operations were changed, then the individual would cease to be that individual. For example, a tuna fish cannot become a sardine and keep its tuna nature, nor can it remain a tuna if it does not swim (an operation of a tuna fish). Each individual, thus, is obliged by its definition to exist and to operate according to its defined nature. We see here that Spinoza's formula, existere et operari [my emphasis], expresses more than just the concept of being: it also demonstrates a strong connection between existence and operation. Not to operate as a certain individual is, in the final analysis, no longer to be that individual, that is, no longer to be. 29 It may seem circular and uninformative to claim that to be individual x, it is necessary to operate as x. Matheron, however,

has shown that there is no circularity in identifying what individual x does and what individual x is, because for Spinoza operating and existing, even if conceptually distinct, are equivalent: Every individual consequently really ought to present itself under two complementary and reciprocal aspects: a productive activity (analogically, the turning end p.96 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved half-circle) and the result of this activity (the volume enclosed by this turning half-circle). The result is nothing other that the activity itself: the result is only the structure which the activity provides by its own actions. 30 The last proposition of the first part of the Ethica announces this equivalence: Nihil existit ex cujus natura aliquis effectus non sequatur (1p36). Nothing exists from whose nature some effect does not follow, and this effect is that thing's operation, the force it exerts on its environment in maintaining its existence as it is itself nudged and prodded by many and various external forces. 31 Jonathan Bennett explains this through his famous field-metaphysic analogy, in which each individual is thought of as a force that operates on, and is in turn operated on by, all other surrounding forces. 32 Such an operation is, furthermore, the basis of every natural right the individual has. 33 We thus return to the idea of the natural right of the individual. In sum, the being of each individual is nothing other than the operation of that individual. Its being an individual is its maintaining its existence as itself, and all the operations that keep it in existence by its own power immediately translate into the individual's natural right. Consequently, by natural right, each individual operates by the rules of its particular nature; it could no more cede this right and remain in existence than it could cease to exist by its own essence. 34 Every individual preserves its natural right while it exists and operates. This natural right belongs, therefore, to the individual as an essential and necessary property without which the individual cannot be that particular individual. Since physical existence and operation are what is in question, this right is, as Matheron reasons, a physical quality attached to the individual (human or non-human) in virtue of which it can effectively have or do certain things. 35 These operations, as demonstrated by Charles Ramond, define the individual, since a thing's effects are what define it rather than the thing's defining the effects. 36 5. Matheron's Analysis Although it may be very tempting at this point to explain this right and the way Spinoza derives it, 37 the important thing in this context is the individual and its operations. It is clear that each individual has a singular nature by which it must operate in a certain fashion as dictated by this nature. 38 For now, let us call this particular nature the essence of the individual. At this point it pays to follow Matheron's explication of individuals more closely. Because everything can be comprehended under the attribute of extension (2p21s), 39 one can follow Matheron in employing a physical model to understand Spinoza's theory of individuals. 40 Recalling 2p13 and its lemmata, Matheron notes that the definition of an individual is in effect nothing but the singular and unique pattern of movement and rest in the individual. 41 It is very important that this global rapport not be understood as any one of the specific relations of movement and of rest among various component parts of the individual, but as the one overarching and global rapport that unites all the parts' movements and rest. There is, then, only one pattern that defines genetically the singular nature (or essence) of each individual. 42 One specific relationship of motion and rest makes this individual, a relation that could be expressed mathematically. This pattern can even be imagined as a blueprint, that is, a construction guide by which to arrange the necessary parts to form the individual. Because the identity of the individual boils down to this specific relation, for Spinoza, a singular essence can be reduced to a mathematical equation describing the physical activities, that is, the operations, of that individual.

Matheron suggests that to grasp this concept better, two elements of an individual must be distinguished: material and formal elements. 43 The material element refers to the actual physical components of the individual. As I have noted earlier, whatever should be these parts which make up the individual, any can be exchanged for another of a similar nature provided that this modification does not change the global relationship of movement and rest (2p13le4). 44 Likewise, as noted, the same individual can grow larger or smaller, move about, change posture, and so on, and remain the same individual as long as the same overarching pattern of movement and rest of the parts remain constant (2p13le57). Common sense seems to indicate as much: a pile of stones, inasmuch as it might be an individual, remains the same pile of stones even if each stone is replaced by another stone just like it, as long as the pile as a whole be not changed. An organ transplant recipient remains the same individual before and after surgery. Likewise for the duke of Wellington as infant and as adult, or any other person through his or her lifetimeone remains the same person, so long as the unique proportion that defines the movement and rest of one's parts remain intact. 45 Here some may object that this is not quite Spinoza's view, for Spinoza does indeed relate the story of the Spanish poet who, after a bout of amnesia, no longer remained the same individual (4p39s). There was no apparent change in the singular pattern of motion and rest, and yet Spinoza claims that the Spanish poet must be a different person before and after. He adds, furthermore, And if this [the story of the Spanish poet] seems incredible, what can we say about children? An aged man believes his nature to be so different from their nature that he could not be persuaded that he had been a child except that he conjecture from other cases (4p39s). 46 It has already been argued elsewhere, however, that this seeming counterexample does not undermine the notion of an individual conceived as a unique pattern of motion and rest. 47 It could be argued, furthermore, that in the poet example, the physical alteration of the pattern of motion and rest in the verse maker's brain accounts for the change in the individual, while the example of the child's changing into an adult only serves to confirm Spinoza's account: as incredible as it seems, the child and the adult are the same individual, because the proportion of motion/rest is sustained throughout that person's life.
48

Can an individual be defined, then, as any grouping of things that, even by chance, find themselves, even momentarily, related to each other by a certain and quantifiable relation of motion and rest among themselves? Consider again the pile of stones mentioned earlier. There is a global pattern of motion/rest among all the parts. If one accepts this, however, then one would have to grant that any grouping of things is an individual, because any collection whatsoever would qualify as an end p.98 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved individual: an example might be the individual composed of the Eiffel Tower, the San Diego Chargers, and the orange eaten at lunch today or any other collection that one might care to imagine. 49 Clearly, Spinoza's concept of an individual imposes more constraints than this. Matheron is correct, then, to note that there is a second element needed to classify something as an individual, and this he calls the formal element. 50 It gives unity and unicity to an individual. According to Matheron, this element is needed to explain the difference between a simple aggregate of things and an individual that has a defined formal structure. This formal element is that by which the individual sustains its unity and its unicity as the individual that it is. It is this formal element that manifests itself as the required pattern of motion and rest of all the parts taken in their totality; an individual, then, because of its formal constitution, is a precise and organized system of movement. 51 Matheron concludes, therefore, that an individual is nothing other than the totality of its parts (material element) expressed according to a certain unifying formula (formal element). From any individual, then, one can derive each of these two elements and, contrariwise, if one begins with the material parts and the formal principle, one can (re)construct the individual. 52 Recall the

blueprint model suggested earlier. Because Spinoza holds that the material and formal elements can be distinguished in an individual, one can pick out individuals from things that are mere collections. An individual has a unifying principle by which it strives to preserve and to keep itself (not necessarily its parts) intact; in fact, the individual is this effort to preserve itself. 53 What in the final analysis is this formal element, the structuring pattern that regulates the pattern of movement and rest among the individual's parts? This pattern turns out to be the source of the individual's operations and that by which the individual strives to sustain its existence. Here it must again be stressed that this formal principle is a property of the individual as an individual and not of its parts or even of the sum of its parts. Recall 2p13le47; the individual can easily gain or lose its parts without ceasing to exist as the individual it is. The effort by which the individual strives to persevere in existence is called its conatus: Conatus, by which a thing [res] strives to persevere in its own being is nothing but the actual essence of the thing [rei] itself (3p7). 54 An individual's conatus, no matter how the agent possessing it conceives it to be, is, says Spinoza, the individual's very essence. 55 The individual's essence or conatus is also equated to the individual's power to act and to operate: The power [potentia], that is, the conatus, by which something strives to persevere in its own being is nothing but the given, actual essence of the thing [rei] (3p7dem). 56 In its most general form, the essence of each individual is to exert force upon its environment (1p36), that is, to have a tendency to continue in existence, and this force is the individual's defining operations by which it maintains its existence. The more powerful the conatus is, the more capable the individual is of sustaining its specific nature, that is, its very existence (4p4d; TP2/2, TP2/4). We recall here what is the natural right of each individual: the power to operate in order to preserve its existence, which is precisely defined and determined by its essence. Matheron states this point very clearly: effectiveness of the conatus = power to act = the individual s aptitude to do that which follows only from the laws of its nature. 57 The defining end p.99 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved characteristic of each individual, then, is its singular conatus, which is its power to exist and to operate as that individual. 58 Matheron's explanation of an individual as a being that has both a material and a formal element allows the term individual a larger extension than does common parlance. As Matheron says: Such a definition authorizes us to consider as individuals all sorts of very different things: a corpus simplicissimum, . . . a Cartesian vortex, the solar system, the planet earth, a cyclone, a stone, a biological organism, etc. It equally applies to the whole universe: . . . the Facies Totius Universi. 59 Each object mentioned by Matheron is an individual in the proper sense, because each possesses its own conatus that determines it to have a certain defined operation and existence. To speak grossly, however, it must be noted that conatus is a force found inside each individual, or, perhaps better still, the conatus is the individual itself. 60 At any rate, it can never be something external to the individual. Each person, from childhood to adulthoodthe duke of Wellington or a transplant recipientremains the same individual because each constantly maintains the same conatus, that is, the same essence. The same is true of the objects listed by Matheron; each exists and operates as it does by a certain unifying and actualizing force. Only entities that both exist and operate by a principle that functions as a conatus can be understood to be individuals. A pile of stones is not an individual, since there is nothing essential to it, nothing internal to it to function as a formal element to make it the pile of stones it is. No unifying force can be found within it which cannot be explained by external forces that form it. The same is true of the individual composed of the Eiffel Tower, the Chargers, and the orange; such a collection of things has no special conatus by which it itself strives to maintain its own existence and operation as that defined collection. To make the point clearer, imagine a school of fish. The fish gather together in a group not so much for the individual group itself, but because of the nature of each

particular fish considered in itself. By joining in a school, each fish maximizes its chances of survival, but it does this so that it might better exist and operate as the particular fish it is, not at all so that the school as a group might better exist and operate. As a collection, the school as a school makes no effort to maintain itself in existence; there is no global conatus anywhere in the school. 6. Individuum Recast Returning to the Ethica, we see now more precisely what Spinoza says an individual is. Reconsider 2d7: If many individuals [individua] concur in one action so that simultaneously they cause one effect, to that extent do I consider them to be a single thing [rem singularem]. Given the above explanation of what an individual is, Spinoza could very easily talk about things, such as the school of fish, without end p.100 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved implying that they are individuals. 61 Spinoza is speaking in this passage of a simple collection of things such as workers who all push together to move a large rock. No one would say that the collection of workers is an individual. (The flash flood example used earlier could, however, count metaphysically as an individual, since one could find in it both a material and formal element, indeed, its own proper conatus.) And leaving aside the Eiffel Tower and today's orange, we cannot properly identify the Chargers as an individual, but only as a single thing. But what about 4p18s? Here Spinoza explicitly states that if two (or perhaps more) individuals of the same nature join forces, then they become another individual. But can such an event possibly occur? What two individuals can possibly have the same nature? We saw earlier that an individual is defined by its conatus, that is, its tendency to exist and to operate as this particular individual. There cannot be numerically more than one such nature per individual, no matter how similar the individuals are to each other. 62 Furthermore, if we again consider the material and the formal element of each individual, it is obvious that no two individuals can be identical, for if they were both composed of the same material element, they would be the same individual, not two. Even if the conditions suggested in 4p18s are impossible, this does not trivialize what Spinoza says in this scholium, where he discusses people who live by reason and are thus very much alike indeed, as much alike as any people ever will be. Still, it is abundantly evident that even those individual people who maximally resemble each other do not form another individual. The text is revealing: Nothing is more useful to a person than people. I repeat, people can choose nothing better for preserving their own beings than that they all should agree in all things so that all minds and bodies composed [componant], as if were [quasi], one mind and one body, and that all together, inasmuch as they can, strive to preserve their own being, with everyone simultaneously looking for what is most useful to everyone. The quasi in the text, along with the subjunctive componant, makes it clear that Spinoza is again employing a counterfactual conditional. This is what would occur if it were possible, but it is not possible. It is thus quite clear that different people can never form another individual, which could explain why Spinoza never says that any society, or any human organization, or any political state or nation, is an individual. The whole of the universe, yes; individual human beings, yes. At this point, however, I shall not draw the strong conclusion that human organizations are not individuals. Instead, I will accept P.-F. Moreau's very generous rule: The simple textual absence of an expression could be used as a clue, but it cannot alone constitute a proof that goes against the logic of the system. 63 We are then left to examine 2p13le7s, to determine what Spinoza meant by individuals of higher or lower levels (tertium Individuorum genus, ex his secundis compositum). Here, one of Spinoza's letters is an invaluable resource in helping to clarify his meaning. In Ep 32, Spinoza asks his correspondent to imagine a worm (vermiculum) living in the bloodstream. 64 This worm, says Spinoza, is to the end p.101

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved blood-stream as a person is to our part the universe (nos in hac parte universi). For the worm, the bloodstream itself is a complete system replete with individuals that compose it: chyle, corpuscles, fluid, and so on, and all these individuals retain among themselves a certain pattern of motion and rest which defines this bloodstream as this particular bloodstream. The bloodstream, however, is part of an organism, so that the bloodstream is simultaneously both an individual (from the worm's perspective) and also a single thing that, together with other things, makes up yet another individual (recall 2p24d). We, likewise, exist in our part of the universe, and though we might be counted as individuals on our level, there are other levels at which we are mere parts of a more inclusive individual. These levels of individuals are infinitely nested one in another, until one reaches the whole of the universe. We thus have an idea of what Spinoza might have meant by different levels of individualsdifferent systems starting at the most simple level of individuals and reaching up to the universe itself. 65 Spinoza's theory of individuals can be applied to many types of individual. In describing individuals as precise patterns of motion and rest, he is clearly indicating, not that he interests himself only in physics, but at the least that he bases his theory of individuals, if not his philosophy (since the Ethica is designed for individuals), on physics. Individuals are composed of matter that operates on their environments. Conatus, or the essence of each individual, is equated with the amount of power that each possesses to operate and to exist. There can be no doubt that Spinoza uses physics as a model for his philosophy and can, therefore, properly be labeled as a physicalist. In using physics as his model, Spinoza explains that an individual's right can be understood as a function of its power to operate. Indeed, if Spinoza is really to succeed at using a physical model, his explanation of power must also be founded on a physicalist understanding of individuals. We have already found the grounds for this assertion in the brief discussion of conatus. We now explore further the notion of power. 7. The Role of Power The notion of power has already appeared in the discussion of individuals as that by which the individual exists and operates as a particular individual; power and essence are one and the same. While this is neither the time nor the place to review how and when Spinoza speaks of power (as in the review earlier of his use of individuum), much can be learned from looking at his use of the term power, especially in the political writings. A first consideration is to distinguish among different kinds of power, since Spinoza uses several Latin terms that are all commonly rendered as power in English. Accordingly, we look briefly at the passages in which we find the terms potentia and potestas. 66 Without going into detail, we notice that when Spinoza speaks of potestas, he is almost always speaking of something's controlling something else or someone's having authority over another. 67 Examples which especially illustrate this point include end p.102

those passages in which Spinoza notes that human beings are in God's control as clay is in the potter's control [TTPn.34, 328, TP2/22; Ep 75, Ep 78], that the mind has no control while sleeping to think freely [Ep 58], that all depends on God's control (1p33s2, 1p35, 2p3d), that the mind should have control to move the body or hold the tongue (3p2s), that the mind has some control over the affects (5p3c, 5p10, 5p10d, 5p10s, 5p39d), that humans are in control of fortune (4pref), and so on. Potentia, on the other hand, is more intimately connected to the thing that has it; it is more a capacity, referring more to the individual itself rather than some relationship between the individual and an external thing (as potestas more connotes the control of the one who has it over something else). 68 It can be the individual's essence (5p9d), its nature (5p25d), its conatus (5p25d), a force

(vis) possessed by the individual (4p60d; TTP1/19, 104), virtue (3p55cd, 4d8, 4p20d, 4p35c, 4p37s1 and 2, 4app25, 5p25d; TTP1/19, 104, TTP6/2, 158), or it may be tied to the individual's very existence (1p11d2 and 3, 1p34, 1p34d, 1p36, 3p8d, 4p3, 4p4d, 4p5; Ep 35, Ep 40). In general, we see that potentia most often refers to the individual itself. Even in sentences or passages where Spinoza uses both terms, there seems to be a distinction between them. 5p10d, for example, shows just this. Spinoza writes: Therefore for as long as we are not bothered by affects which are contrary to our nature, the power [potentia] of the mind, by which it strives to understand things (by 4p26), is not impeded, and thus it has control [potestatem] to form clear and distinct ideas and to deduce some from other [ideas] (2p40s2 and 2p47). Consequently, we have the control [potestatem] to order and associate the affects of the body according to the order of intellect. The mind has the capacity (potentia) to strive to know things; this is what the mind does. The mind has this capacity as long as it is not overcome with affects contrary to it. So the mind has control (potestas) to form clear and distinct ideas and to arrange affects of the body according to the order of the intellect. The mind's potestas depends on the mind's potentia. The former refers to a relationship between the mind and things external to it; the latter is an essential property of the mind itself, that is, the mind's operations, and this accounts for the former. Again, we see a similar connection between potentia and potestas in TTP16/7, 264: When someone to another transfers the right, which was under his or her control [potestate], to live as he or she sees fit, that is, his or her liberty and power [potentiam] of self-defense, this person is held now to live only under the reason of the other and to be held to relying on the other for selfdefense. This passage seems to resist the proposed interpretation, but a careful reading shows that it is in fact in line with it. The potentia of self-defense is a capacity of the individual; it is by this capacity that the individual might have the control over (potestas) living as he or she pleases. In other words, a person has as much authority (potestas) to live as he or she pleases only to the extent that he or she can actually do as he or she pleases and defend those actions; this being able to do what one wants is one's end p.103 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved power (potentia). In the civil state, the right of an individual is related to how much control (potestas) over his or her own life he or she is allowed by the state. How much of this latter the citizen has is a function of his or her own power (potentia) of existing and operating as he or she does (what else would self-defense be?). Potestas again is derived from potentia. Indeed, this is what we find consistently: potestas is a function of the potentia of the individual(s) involved. In any case, it does not seem that one could argue that potentia is equivalent to potestas. These words simply signify different concepts. While it may be interesting to explore further the difference between these terms, we must be careful not to strain Spinoza's texts nor to demand too much from his writing. It could be merely this interpretation that forces a possible significance on the difference between these terms. Yet is it not tempting to draw some conclusion from the fact that when Spinoza repeatedly notes that an individual's right extends as far as his or her potentia, he is always speaking of individuals in nature or of individual citizens, and that he never speaks of a state's potentia? 69 He does, however, note that the right of a state does not extend as far as its potestas, but only as far as the citizens obey it. 70 Furthermore, even if we did decide not to read too much into Spinoza's use of these terms, is there something to the fact that his use of the term potentia is restricted to individuals (citizens, God, individual objects) and that he does not refer to the potentia of the state? 71 The whole point of this necessarily too short digression is this: individuals are the only things that have potentia; other things do not. People do have potentia; the state does not. Again, we can accept Moreau's generous rule and not conclude that the absence of a text, while providing important clues

to Spinoza's thought, provides a proof. 72 One might be hard-pressed, however, to find a passage wherein Spinoza does address the metaphysical status of the state. If this is true, then we must rely on what Spinoza does not say about the state, and it seems that all is in place for more than a hint of its metaphysical statusthe civil state is not an individual. But is there really enough evidence to draw so strong a conclusion, or are there passages that do support this reading? I believe that there are, and it is to these I now call our attention. 8. The State as an Individual? Section 2 noted that an individual is something that can be conceived both as a mind and as a body. In short, we can say that every individual, no matter how simple or complex, has an idea of its body, and this idea is its very mind. Do we find that Spinoza ever mentions the mind of the imperium? The answer to this question is no. Spinoza often writes that the state may act as if it had a mind, but this is always in the sense of a counterfactual statement. Here are some exemplary passages: On the other hand, since reason teaches the exercise of piety and the having of a good and tranquil mindthis condition can only be met in a political stateand furthermore since it cannot occur that the multitude be led as it were [veluti] end p.104 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved by one mindas this is a requirement of the political stateunless there should be rights [jura] instituted from the prescription of reason. (TP2/21) [C]ontrariwise, since the body of the political state [imperii corpus] should be guided as if [veluti] by one mind, and consequently the will of the commonwealth be considered the will of all, what the commonwealth decides as just and good must be taken to be just and good for all. (TP3/5) The right of the sovereign power, which is determined by its power [potentia], (as was shown in the previous chapter), we saw to consist primarily in this: that all should be led by, as it were [veluti] the political state's mind. (TP4/1) Nevertheless, since the sovereign power is vested in the council as a whole and not as individual members, . . . it is therefore necessary that the patricians should be bounded together by laws so that they compose, as it were [veluti] one body led by one mind. [TP8/19] Nothing is more useful to a person than people. I repeat, people can choose nothing better for preserving their own beings than that they all should agree in all things so that all minds and bodies composed [componant], as it were [quasi], one mind and one body . . . (4p18s) 73 In each and every case, Spinoza signals counterfactuality with either veluti or quasi and often with the subjunctive mood. It is clear that the imperium or the multitude does not have a mind. Citizens may be led as if by one mind; the community or government may act as if it were one mind or body, but it remains that this is not the case. Commenting on these passages, Martial Gueroult notes: It would seem as though civil societies should be counted among higher-order individuals . . . . We notice as it were [veluti]. It is, therefore, a simple analogy. Further, it [the question of whether a society is an individual] is not a matter of fact, but a dictamen Rationis. 74 Though Gueroult underlines the importance of veluti or quasi to deny the metaphysical status of individual to the state, some may object that there do exist some passages in which Spinoza actually refers to the mind or the body of the state without signaling a counterfactual condition. Two of these passages follow: [T]he right of the state or [seu] the sovereign power is nothing other than very right itself of nature, which is determined by power [potentia], not of any one person, but by the multitude led as it were [veluti] by one mind; that is, as with anyone in the natural state who has as much right as power [potentia], so too with the body and mind of the entire political state. (TP3/2) [A]nd so by this the mind [mente] of the political state or commonwealth remain always one and constant. (TP7/3)

end p.105 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved The third passage is TP3/5, cited previously. These passages, however, do not affect the proposed reading. Taking them in reverse order, we see first that in the third passage Spinoza speaks of the body of the imperium, but this is nothing more than the mass of individuals that constitute it. As such a body or mass, it has, as the passage makes clear, no mind; there is little difference between the example of the pile of stones and the state. The second passage must be taken in its full context. Spinoza is here addressing a king's relations to his councilors. As the king is the imperium, it does, of course, make sense to speak of the king's mind being one and constant. Moreau, furthermore, notes that in this passage one may understand mente not as mind, but as opinion or mindset. 75 The first passage is more problematic on the surface, but here Spinoza says that the state's right is nothing other than the power (potentia) of the masses as if they were led by one mind. So, while we might consider that the state has as much right as the masses have power (potentia), we are still not forced to agree that the state have the status of an individual. Finally, the body and the mind of the imperium which we find in this passage are only the same body and same mind that the multitude possesses as if this multitude comprised a real body and had a real mind (the reason for veluti). Again, with reference to the pile of stones or the school of fish, there is no difference between these individuals and the state. Other passages also exist to support this reading. One is already cited in section 3, but it is worth repeating here. [A]nd what about nature? Nature certainly does not create nations, but individuals, which are not distinguished by nationalities [in nationes] but by the diversity of language, laws, and accepted mores. (TTP17/15, 284) 76 Nations are clearly contrasted with individuals. It is individuals that group themselves into nations, but this grouping does not therefore qualify the nation as an individual. We need think merely of the school of fish mentioned in section 5, and in so thinking, we may remark that just as the school of fish has no conatus of its own by which it strives to maintain itself, so with the state; certainly if Spinoza thinks otherwise, he is silent about it. 77 Finally, recall 4p18s, which was cited in sections 2 and 6. Some commentators read this passage to mean that human individuals, inasmuch as they are alike, do join to form higher order individuals such as a society. 78 This passage mentions only a counterfactual condition: inasmuch as individuals are identical (which they are not), they could join together to form something like a quasiindividual. Besides, this Humanity 79 reading relies on 2p13le7s (cited in section 1) which notes that individuals of different natures may be joined in such a way to form a higher order individual. Clearly, one cannot use these two conditionsthat the lower order individuals be of different (by 2p13le7s) yet identical (by 4p18s) naturesto form a higher order individual. Stated differently, those who see some universal human nature that unites all people as an individual are mistaken: Spinoza clearly remarks that individuals of diverse natures may join together to form higher order individuals, not individuals with an identical nature. Besides, if one were to insist that the political state or nation were such a higher order individual, one would be faced end p.106 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved with this puzzle. If a person, who is an individual, is destroyed, then all the individual parts that composed him or her also become nonviable. If the political state or society is destroyed, we cannot assume that all the individual citizens who putatively compose it would become nonviable. 80 It would be more fruitful to consider 2p13le3a2d and 2p13le7s's references to different orders of individuals in the lines of human, ecosystem, planet, solar system, and so on. Notice, too, that this reading nicely accounts for Spinoza's celebrated worm in the bloodstream example (Ep 32), but in

no way does it allow for a club, association, or organized state to count as a metaphysical individual. 9. Concluding Remarks The examination of what is an individual for Spinoza has been long, and perhaps to some it has digressed in focusing in part on the political state. The distinction between individuals and quasiindividuals is, however, of great importance. If the Ethica teaches us anything, it is that a person is most free and most virtuous when he or she exercises the most right over other individuals. The more powerful the individual, the more right it has. It has been remarked before, and it bears repeating here: relationships are the interplay of powers 81 and each person acts more virtuously the more he or she enhances his or her own power. 82 It would be very difficult to deny cogently that Spinoza's philosophy is individualistic and egoistic. Human beings everywhere and at all times find themselves living in societies and political states. Questions over the nature of the right of the political state over the individual cannot be asked until one has first determined the nature of the political state. That Spinoza thinks that the political state is a nonindividual that more or less contains the individuals who live in it tells us much about its relationship to us. If it is true that for Spinoza the individual is first and foremost, it only follows that political institutions take second place in importance to the individuals joined in them. 83 Individuals are obliged by the power (potentia) of true higher order individuals that contain them (for example, no one can break the law of gravity), but the seeming control (potestas) of the political state now seems much less daunting (one can, for example, break the civil law by exceeding the speed limit). Obviously, for Spinoza, the state exists for the benefit of each individual who finds him or herself in it, and it cannot be the case that an individual exist for the benefit of the state. Notes A note of thanks is due to Lee Rice (Marquette University) and my colleagues (San Diego State University) Angelo Corlett, Robert Francescotti, Lois Richards, and Mark Wheeler for their helpful reading and criticisms of earlier drafts of this chapter. 1. Matheron (1969). This book is considered one of the most influential commentaries on Spinoza (Rice [1991, 296]). 2. The naturalist interpretation is defended by A. Matheron and holds that the political state is an individual in the physical sense of the term. It has, therefore, a mind and a conatus (Moreau 1994, 442) [my 3. Den Uyl (1983); McShea (1969); Rice (1990). 4. Spinoza himself writes of the power and the right of individuals; one would be hard-pressed to find him using either of these words in its plural form. I follow his lead. 5. 1p8s2 (4 times), 2d7, 2a3, 2p11d, 2p13s, 2p13le3a2d, 2p13le3a3 (2 times), 2p13le4 (2 times); 2p13le4d (2 times), 2p13le5 (2 times), 2p13le6 (2 times), 2p13le7, 2p13le7s (6 times), 2p13p01, 2p13p02, 2p13p03, 2p15d (2 times), 2p21s, 2p24d (3 times), 2p25d, 2p27d, 2p49s, 3p57, 3p57d (2 times), 3p57s (2 times), 4pref (4 times), 4p18s (2 times), 4app1, 4app7, 4app9, 4app10; TTP4/1, 134, TTP16/2, 259 (5 times), TTP16/4, 259, TTP17/15, 284, TP2/4, TP2/7, TP2/8, Ep 34 (3 times). (I note here that the very helpful and meticulous Lexicon Spinozanum compiled by Boscherini [1970] is not unfailingly accurate; for example, individuum is entered under 4app4 where what is wanted is 4app1 [555].) Translations from the Latin text of Spinoza, where given, are my own, but they have been checked against others' works. I use the Van Vloten and Land edition (Spinoza 1914) of TTP. For reasons to prefer this edition to Gebhardt's, see Akkerman (1977); Steenbakkers (1989); Steenbakkers (1994a); Steenbakkers (1994b). TTP16/4, 259, for example, refers to the fourth paragraph of chapter 16 of TTP, page 259 of the Van Vloten and Land edition. 6. See Boscherini (1970, 92851). In addition to simply res, there are separate entries for such phrases as res cogitans, res humana, res extensa, and so on.

7. Ep 34, the only letter in which the term individuum occurs, appears to be a reply to John Hudde's question on Spinoza's proof of the existence of one and only one God. While this letter is not a verbatim copy of the scholium (or vice versa), the two are very similar. 8. It must be noted that for each existing thing there is some certain cause by which the thing exists (1p8s2). 9. Modes of thinking, such as love, desire or whatever affects of the mind are designated by name, do not occur except that there occur in the same individual the idea of the thing loved, desired, etc. (2a3). 10. From this we understand not only that the human mind is united to the body, but also what is understood by the union of the mind and body. (2p13s) 11. Nobody can really understand this union adequately, that is, [sive] distinctly, unless he first understands the nature of our body (2p13s). Not a few commentators take this as evidence of Spinoza's physicalism, that is, that for Spinoza an understanding of psychology and even of ethics requires an understanding of physical science. See Bennett (1984, for example, 107), or I am implying that [Spinoza's] metaphysical thinking was grounded in the physical world, and there is ample evidence that it was (81); Klever (1992), Ethics is nothing other than a special physics in which the theorems of general physics are applied and specified (31) [my translation]; Klever (1996); Gabbey (1996); Misrahi (Spinoza 1990); Temkine (1994). Others, however, reject the idea that Spinoza was a physicalist. See Gueroult (1974, 47173); Moreau (1994, 28287). 12. Here I follow Misrahi (Spinoza 1990) and Shirley (Spinoza 1982 and 1992) who see the use of sive as that is as part and parcel of Spinoza's geometric method. 13. Misrahi (Spinoza 1990, 319); Shirley (Spinoza 1982, 24). 14. Notice that this is the only definition given in the Spinozistic physics, and it concerns the concept of individual and its reality (Misrahi in Spinoza 1990, 383) [my translation]. 15. Bennett (1984, 10612) is probably correct in suggesting that the unitary phrase motus et quies (motion and rest) is a placeholder for a more refined, but unavailable to Spinoza, concept of energy. See also Lachterman (1978) and Bidney (1962, 36970). 16. For the significance of forma in Spinoza, see Ablondi and Barbone (1994, 8084). 17. Bennett (1984) comments that Spinoza purposely means to recall here an Aristotelian notion of substance and its predicates (5556, 231). 18. See Rice (1996) for a discussion of the application of the Cantorean notion of a limit to Spinoza's notion of the infinite. Rice argues that the position of the material following end p.108 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved 2p12 indicates that for Spinoza the finite must be constructed out of the infinite series taken as a primitive, which is the reverse of the contemporary notion of an infinite series as the limit of a function or operation. 19. [I]ndeed we showed that the idea of the body and the body, i.e., the mind and body (by 2p13) are one and the same individual, now conceived under the attribute of thought, now under the attribute of extension. Curiously, neither Bennett (1984) nor Misrahi (Spinoza 1990) comments on this passage. 20. See Wartofsky (1973, 334). 21. For example, Adam's existence is distinguished from the existence of another man precisely by the same characteristics which distinguish Adam's essence from any other essence (Rivaud 1906, 54 [my translation]). Implied in such a statement is a nominalism, since what differentiates the essence of a particular person from that of any other person is exactly the same thing that differentiates the person from any other thing, say, for example, a fish. On Spinoza's nominalism, see the preface to PPC and Rice (1994). 22. We ask ourselves, then, if the opposite is not true: is it not the case that individuals that possess common traits tend (if it is not already accomplished) to group themselves into a unique individual?

We now know, in the case of human beings, that the answer is affirmative: from the sole fact that people resemble each other, Humanity [sic] is held to exist (Matheron 1969, 155 [my translation]). See also Gueroult (1974, 527). 23. See Bidney (1962, 14647). Rice (1994, 2930) argues against such an interpretation but does not deal explicitly with this passage. See Rivaud (1906, 11834) for additional passages. 24. See the lines preceding and following the passage quoted. 25. Curley (1990a, 113); cf. Klever (1996, 39). 26. Matheron (1969). 27. Any individual is therefore a totality whose structure is a unique operation (Misrahi in Spinoza 1990, 369 [my translation]). 28. The formula existendum et operandum is used not only in TTP16/2, 258, but also in several other places: TTP16/3, 259; TTP16/4, 259; TTP20/4, 306; TP2/2, 3, 7, 8. Notice that in the political treatises, Spinoza almost always uses the verb operor/operari conjointly with existo/existere. 29. On this point, see Ablondi and Barbone (1994); Barbone and Rice (1994); Bennett (1984, esp. 23740); Matson (1977). 30. Matheron (1969, 12 [my translation]). Cf. ibid., 22: An individual is nothing other than the activity . . . inasmuch as this activity provides for itself a determined structure [my translation]. See also Matheron (1984, 78). 31. See 1p28. 32. Bennett (1984, 91106); Bennett (1996, 63ff.). 33. See, for example, TP2/3: [I]t follows that any natural thing has as much right from nature as it has power [potentiae] to exist and operate [ad existendum et operandum]. Cf. TTP16/2, 258. See Matheron (1969, 23). 34. For Spinoza, no thing can be the cause of its own nonexistence (3p4, 4p20s). Cf. Matheron (1969, 24549); Barbone and Rice (1994). 35. Matheron (1984, 79 [my translation]). 36. Ramond (1995, 212 [my translation]). 37. Many other commentators have had much to say on this subject. See, for example, Den Uyl (1985); Harris (1985, 11124); Madanes (1992); Matheron (1984; 1985b). The discussions of Den Uyl and Matheron (1984) are most to the point. 38. TTP16/2, 258; TP2/4,5. 39. Admittedly there are nonmaterial beings, for example, ideas, but any nonextended being exists somehow as an extended being. end p.109 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved 40. Cf. Bennett (1984, 94). 41. I take Spinoza's ratio to mean pattern, rapport, relation, relationship, or proportion. 42. Matheron uses the term gntiquement early in his explanation of the individual (1969, 11, 38). On the singular nature or essence of an individual, see 2p13d, 2p13le46, 2p13le7s; Ablondi and Barbone (1994); Bouveresse (1988, 4344); Jonas (1973, esp. 26567); Matheron (1969, 4042). 43. Matheron (1969, 38). 44. Jonas (1973, 267) also comments on this notion: [T]he preservation of that identity through time rests with the preservation of the pattern rather than the particular collection presently embodying it. The identity of a whole is thus compatible with a change of parts: and such a change may even be the very means by which the identity of certain individuals is sustained. 45. The Duke of Wellington example is, of course, Goodman's (1966, 2731). 46. Cf. 5p39s. 47. See Ablondi and Barbone (1994, 8487). 48. Both Rice (1990) and Matson (1977) believe that Spinoza's remark expresses his belief that the child and the adult are in fact formally different individuals. The reader is again referred to Ablondi

and Barbone (1994) for arguments supporting the notion that the child and adult are the same individual. Which view is correct does not, however, affect the general account of individuals developed here. 49. Lee Rice has suggested to me that if this definition of individual were acceptable, there is no reason that it should not be used diachronically as well as synchronically. An individual, then, could be conceived as being composed of Julius Caesar, Spinoza, and Hillary Clinton. This is in fact the case for nominalistic calculi today, which accept any collection of individuals, whether located in time or in space: see Goodman (1966, 1528). Rice (1994) argues that Spinoza's conception of an individual is nominalistic from a formalistic perspective, but that the criterion of selection of individuals (primitive and composite) for Spinoza is ontological rather than characterized by axiomatic simplicity. 50. Matheron (1969, 3843). 51. Zac (1963, 100101). 52. Matheron (1969, 42). 53. Della Rocca (1996b, 2078); Zac (1963, 99). 54. Spinoza here uses the word res and not individuum. But as noted above, all individuals are things. 55. Cf. TP2/78; Carvajal (1992, 298); Haddad-Chamakh (1980, 3135); Matheron (1969, 4351). 56. While Spinoza here speaks of a thing (res), we can infer that he is speaking of human individuals. The later parts of the Ethica do, after all, concern these, their affects, and their freedom. Spinoza elsewhere equates conatus with potentia: cf. 3p4d, 3p28d, Ep64. 57. Matheron (1969, 4950 [my translation]). 58. In effect, a person's virtue is his or her own essence, inasmuch as this is the capacity to achieve what he or she can understand only through the laws of his or her nature; or said in another way: a person's virtue or essence is his or her conatus or power [potentia]. (Carvajal 1992, 298 [my translation]). 59. Matheron (1969, 42 [my translation]). 60. Zac (1963, 99). 61. It is unfortunate that what is arguably the best English translation of Spinoza's Ethica (Spinoza 1982 and 1992) does not make this distinction. There we find, I consider them all, in that respect, as one individual. end p.110 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved 62. Carvajal (1992, 289); Matheron (1994, 48587). In the latter work, Matheron addresses the problem of identical twins raised as much as possible in the same environments and concludes that they must necessarily have different essences. Rice (1990; 1991) would disagree, suggesting instead that monozygotic twins would be individuals with the same nature. In this he follows Matson (1977). 63. Moreau (1994, 445) [my translation]. 64. Today we would probably say micro-organism. 65. Rice (1991); Sacksteder (1978); Ramond (1995, 20330). 66. The term summa potestas will not be treated here, as it seems clear that Spinoza uses this phrase to refer always to the governing authority. It may be significant, however, that Spinoza did choose summa potestas and almost never uses summa potentia unless he is referring to God and is speaking of God's omnipotence (PPC1p6s; PPC1p13d; CM2/13; and TTP1/9, 116). The treatment here of the two terms translated as power is not meant to be exhaustive. For a slightly different reading on the distinction between potentia and potestas, see Terpstra (1993; 1994). 67. CM2/12; 1p17s, 1p33s2, 1p35, 1p35d, 2p3d, 2p3s, 2p49s, 3p2s, 4pref, 4d8, 4p36s 4p37s2 4app32, 5p3c, 5p4s, 5p10, 5p10d, 5p10s, 5p29d, 5p39d, 5p42d; TTPpref/5, 9091, TTP1/17, 101, TTP2/1, 107, TTP7/6, 179, TTP16/6, 264, TTP16/7, 264, TTP16/8, 268, TTP17/1, 270, TTP17/2,

271, TTP17/3, 272, TTP17/5, 275, TTP18/2, 289, TTP19/2, 300301, TTP20/4, 306307, TTPn.34, 328, TP2/6, TP2/7, TP2/8, TP2/9, TP2/10, TP2/12, TP2/22, TP2/23, TP3/3, TP3/8, TP3/10, TP3/16, TP4/4, TP6/4, TP7/1, TP7/3, TP7/14, TP7/19, TP7/29, TP7/30, TP8/2, TP8/17, TP8/20, TP8/27, TP8/44, TP10/1, TP11/3, TP11/4; Ep 19, Ep 21, Ep 50, Ep 58, Ep 75, Ep 78. In this and in the next note (68), I do not claim a complete or exhaustive list. Indeed, I have not included references to cognates (e.g., impotentia for potentia), nor do I offer a list of occurrences of summa potestas. I do claim, however, that the listings found here are as complete, if not more so, than those found in Boscherini (1970, 85057). 68. PPC1p6s, PPC1p13d; CM1/1, CM1/2, CM2/3, CM2/11, CM2/12, CM2/13; 1p11d3, 1p11s, 1p15s, 1p17s, 1p31s, 1p33s2, 1p34, 1p34d, 1p36d, 1app, 2p3s, 2p7c, 2p17s, 2p49s, 3pref, 3d3, 3p01, 3p6d, 3p7d, 3p8d, 3p11, 3p11s, 3p12, 3p12d, 3p13, 3p13d, 3p15d, 3p15cd, 3p19d, 3p20d, 3p26s, 3p28d, 3p37d, 3p53, 3p53d, 3p54, 3p54d, 3p55d, 3p55s, 3p55cd, 3p56s, 3p58d, 3p59d, 3aff3d, 3aff25, 3aff26, 3aff38, 3aff48, 3aff-generalis definitio, 4pref, 4d8, 4a, 4p1s, 4p3, 4p4d, 4p5, 4p5d, 4p6, 4p6d, 4p7d, 4p8d, 4p15d, 4p17d, 4p18d, 4p20d, 4p29, 4p29d, 4p30d, 4p32d, 4p32s, 4p33d, 4p35c2, 4p37s1, 4p37s2, 4p41d, 4p42d, 4p43d, 4p45s, 4p52d, 4p53d, 4p57s, 4p59d, 4p60d, 4p68s, 4app2, 4app3, 4app7, 4app13, 4app25, 4app32, 5caput, 5pref, 5a2, 5p4s, 5p6, 5p6s, 5p7d, 5p9d, 5p10d, 5p20s, 5p23s, 5p25d, 5p29d, 5p42d, 5p42s; TTPpref/5, 91, TTP1/4, 94, TTP1/17, 101102, TTP1/19, 104, TTP1/21, 106, TTP2/1, 107, TTP2/9, 116, TTP2/11, 120, TTP3/1, 122, TTP3/3, 123, TTP3/4, 123, TTP4/1, 134, TTP4/2, 135, TTP6/1, 156, TTP6/2, 158, TTP6/3, 159 161, TTP13/2, 240, TTP15/1, 254, TTP16/2, 258, TTP16/3, 259, TTP16/5, 260262, TTP16/6, 262263, TTP16/7, 264, TTP17/1, 269270, TTP17/2, 271, TTP17/4, 273274, TTP19/2, 301, TTP20/2, 305, TTPn.34, 328; TP2/2, TP2/3, TP2/4, TP2/5, TP2/8, TP2/11, TP2/15, TP2/17, TP3/2, TP3/3, TP3/6, TP3/7, TP3/8, TP3/9, TP3/13, TP4/1, TP4/4, TP5/1, TP6/5, TP7/12, TP7/16, TP7/18, TP7/25, TP7/27, TP7/30, TP7/31, TP8/1, TP8/3, TP8/7, TP8/9, TP8/11, TP8/20, TP8/39, TP8/44, TP9/4, TP11/4; Ep 19, Ep 21, Ep 32, Ep 35, Ep 37, Ep 40, Ep 58, Ep 64, Ep 75, Ep 78. 69. TTP16/2, 258, TP2/4, TP2/5, TP2/15, TP3/2, TP3/6, TP4/1, TP7/6, TP7/20. 70. TTP17/1, 270. 71. There is one possible exception: in the unfinished TP7/16, Spinoza writes,Moreover cities which need another's power [potentia] to survive do not have equal right with this other, but are subject to the other's right insofar as they need the end p.111 PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003-2010. All Rights Reserved other's power [potentia]. For right is defined as power [potentia] alone (as we showed in chapter 2). Some may understand Spinoza to be speaking about one city's relationship to another city; in that case, one city could be said to have power [potentia] and right. However, the Latin text is unclear as to the exact nature of who or what this other is. The other could well be a person, citizen or not, of that city. This likely is closer to what Spinoza means since in the sentences just before this one, Spinoza does mention the citizens [cives] of a city who do what they can to make their city more impervious to attack. 72. Moreau (1994, 445). 73. Cf. TP2/16, TP3/2, TP3/7, TP6/1. 74. Gueroult (1974, 17on.78 [my translation]). 75. Moreau (1994, 445n.1). 76. Cf. TTP3/5, 124, TP5/2. 77. See Moreau's remarks on the absence of conatus in the political tractates (Moreau 1994, 445). 78. This reading is exemplified best by Matheron (1969) and Moreau (1994). 79. Matheron (1969, 155). 80. See Rice (1990). 81. Barbone and Rice (1996). 82. Barbone (1993).

83. For the case that the political state is not necessarily needed for a person's salvation (salus), see Beyssade (1994).