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Tue Dec 20, 2011, 12:55 PM

 

Natura naturata & natura naturans

First some background from Wikipedia:

"Albert Einstein named Spinoza as the philosopher who exerted the most influence on his world view (Weltanschauung). Spinoza equated God (infinite substance) with Nature, consistent with Einstein's belief in an impersonal deity. In 1929, Einstein was asked in a telegram by Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein whether he believed in God. Einstein responded by telegram: "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.""
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Spinoza#Spinoza_in_literature

"It is a widespread belief that Spinoza equated God with the material universe. However, in a letter to Henry Oldenburg he states that: "as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken". For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world. According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote "Deus sive Natura" (God or Nature) Spinoza meant God was Natura naturans not Natura naturata, and Jaspers believed that Spinoza, in his philosophical system, did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God's transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God's immanence. Even God under the attributes of thought and extension cannot be identified strictly with our world. That world is of course "divisible"; it has parts. But Spinoza insists that "no attribute of a substance can be truly conceived from which it follows that the substance can be divided" (Which means that one cannot conceive an attribute in a way that leads to division of substance), and that "a substance which is absolutely infinite is indivisible" (Ethics, Part I, Propositions 12 and 13). Following this logic, our world should be considered as a mode under two attributes of thought and extension. Therefore the pantheist formula "One and All" would apply to Spinoza only if the "One" preserves its transcendence and the "All" were not interpreted as the totality of finite things."

Martial Guéroult suggested the term "Panentheism", rather than "Pantheism" to describe Spinoza’s view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, "in" God. Not only do finite things have God as their cause; they cannot be conceived without God. In other words, the world is a subset of God."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Spinoza#Panentheist.2C_pantheist.2C_or_atheist.3F

"Natura naturans is a Latin term coined during the Middle Ages, meaning "Nature naturing", or more loosely, "nature doing what nature does". The Latin, naturans, is the present participle of natura, indicated by the suffix "-ans" which is akin to the English suffix "-ing." naturata, is the past participle. These terms are most commonly associated with the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. For Spinoza, natura naturans refers to the self-causing activity of nature, while natura naturata refers to nature considered as a passive product of an infinite causal chain. Samuel Taylor Coleridge defined it as "Nature in the active sense" as opposed to natura naturata. The distinction is expressed in Spinoza's Ethics as follows:

"By Natura naturans we must understand what is in itself and is conceived through itself, or such attributes of substance as express an eternal and infinite essence, that is … God, insofar as he is considered as a free cause. But by Natura naturata I understand whatever follows from the necessity of God's nature, or from God's attributes, that is, all the modes of God's attributes insofar as they are considered as things which are in God, and can neither be nor be conceived without God.""
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natura_naturans

***

The distinction natura naturans and natura naturata sound analogous to distinction of quantum superposition of all possible worlds ("naturans" and decoherred (/classical) measurable world(s) ("naturata". Dynamis/potentia vs. actualized existance.

Word "God" is of course not absolutely necessary in this context, but useful if Spinoza's and Einstein's philosophies are seen as possible common philosophical ground between theists and atheists.

I've heard that Einstein was haunted by the question "Is universe a benevolent place?" My question is, what is the place for the idea/experience/practice that "God is love/compassion" in relation to Spinozan panentheistic God/Superposition/Holomovement?












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Reply Natura naturata & natura naturans (Original post)
tama Dec 2011 OP
Jim__ Dec 2011 #1
uriel1972 Dec 2011 #2
tama Dec 2011 #3
uriel1972 Dec 2011 #4
tama Dec 2011 #5
uriel1972 Dec 2011 #6
tama Dec 2011 #7
uriel1972 Dec 2011 #8
tama Dec 2011 #9
uriel1972 Dec 2011 #10
tama Dec 2011 #12
westerebus Dec 2011 #11

Response to tama (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 02:13 PM

1. Thanks for that interesting post.

One of the things that I have found when I discuss the nature of reality with religious people is that things get pretty abstract. In the end, it seems like when they are talking about God, and when I am talking about the universe, neither of us really understands "our" word. Spinoza's take on all this sounds interesting. I'll have to read his Ethics

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Response to tama (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:50 PM

2. One side believes in God/s the other doesn't

There isn't a common philosophical ground. The best you can hope for is a truce.

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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:34 PM

3. Just a word

 

with many possible meanings. So e.g. philosophy of language suggests itself as plainly evident common ground - if the controversy and emotional rewards that go with it are not more luring.

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Response to tama (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 11:32 PM

4. more than 'just a word'

The very basis of logic of each side is grounded in different assumptions. Theism posits a definite first clause "God exists" an unquestionable truth. Atheism does not, atheist logic starts with an "If"

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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 12:23 AM

5. Perhaps so

 

perhaps not. But what IF you actively forgot theist-atheist dichotomy and controversy altogether for a fleeting moment, and gave the string of letters "God" the meaning that best pleases you, what THEN?

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Response to tama (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 12:35 AM

6. Eh why would I want to do that?

What would it change in the real world? You can render any word meaningless for yourself, but that won't change the meaning for other people and the way it is engraved into society. It won't change a single thing. There are plenty of words that give me pleasure I don't need to turn 'God' into one of them just to validate your beliefs.

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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 02:14 AM

7. Just out of curiosity?

 

BTW which believes of mine are you referring to? I'm not a "theist" (nor atheist), but I've expressed the belief that it is possible to consider "God" just a word, and I can self-validate that possibility just by myself, without changing "the meaning for other people and the way it is engraved into society", except for my little part, which is also a part of larger society, no matter how insignificant part on the "grand scale of matters".

I was just inspired by what you said about logics starting with "if", and expanded on the theme. Experimentalist "if" without knowing what "then" are the most curious ifs, IMHO.

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Response to tama (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 04:34 AM

8. Look at it this way

would you give 'Rape' the meaning that best pleases you, just because I asked you too. For me 'God' is almost as vile a word. Yes 'God' is just a word as is 'Rape', but I don't pretend to believe that I can empty them and make them all better with some fairy wand imagining.

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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 08:57 AM

9. I look at it this way

 

This forum is not about rape, but theology and religion. There are people with both positive and negative connotations and emotional triggers glued to the word 'God'. I can't make the word go away, but I can discuss it without being passionate either way.

PS: long time ago I made a song beginning with the line "God is an ugly word...", fully meaning it.

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Response to tama (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 06:39 PM

10. I never said it was about the word

'Rape' I was using it as an example of an ugly word that no amount of 'redefining' would change. Maybe you can be dispassionate about it. Maybe you can empty out the word, that may make a difference to you, but it doesn't to me. The word with it's full attachments is waiting for the moment you actively stop depriving it of meaning.

When the horrors of the world come to visit, I doubt all the redefining in the world will be adequate to accommodate them.

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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:48 AM

12. Horrors of the world?

 

What is fear?

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Response to tama (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 02:31 AM

11. Who's side of the question are you inquiring into?

Spinoza would argue everything emanates from god's nature which is a good thing. Benevolence.

Einstein would counter you can't prove that by observing nature. His dilemma re benevolence.

Einstein might add, man did not create nature and the creation of nature remains hidden from our powers of observation.

That as man better understands nature, what is hidden will be revealed. The face of god, the watchmaker.

Einstein agreed with Spinoza, nature is not god.

Jasper goes one further advising that neither could think that without god. A god that plays dice. Let nature do what it does.

To which Einstein would disagree as his god was not the least bit concerned with man. God does not play dice, Einstein.

That's my take. I'm sure many will disagree.

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