One of Spinoza’s favorite examples of falsity is the illusion of free will that is so often propagated by the mutilated imagination of human beings. It is a natural prejudice of humans to assume they have liberty. Spinoza writes, “men are deceived in that they think themselves free [., they think that, of their own free will, they can either do a thing or forbear doing it], an opinion which consists only in this, that they are conscious of their actions and ignorant of the causes by which they are determined” (EIIP35S). Humans imagine they get to make choices because their knowledge is an inadequate expression of what actually determines them to do everything they do, which includes them imagining they have free will. Spinoza is a thinker of determinism and necessitarianism. Humans are necessarily determined to be prejudicial and not know why or how. It is natural law, for Spinoza, that “men are born ignorant of the causes of things” (IApp). Spinoza next notes that humans often turn their prejudicial assumption of free will into the dogma of divine choice. Humans take their imaginary freedom based on contingency and possibility and apply it to a transcendent creator of the entire universe. The human image of God is of a being with an omnipotent reservoir of choices. Because humans find such an image staggering they are terrified they may choose something (namely, a form of worship) that God either has not himself chosen or that he has deemed to be morally reprehensible. Humans thus allow their prejudicial free will to congeal into a superstitious obsession with the impenetrable and inexhaustible free will of God (IApp). All of this is grossly inadequate and false, for Spinoza, for it merely doubles the error of free will and enslaves singular beings to an almost complete irrationality.
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late 14c., from Old French interpreter (13c.) and directly from Latin interpretari "explain, expound, understand," from interpres "agent, translator," from inter- (see inter- ) + second element of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Sanskrit prath- "to spread abroad," PIE *per- (5) "to traffic in, sell" (see pornography ). Related: Interpreted ; interpreting .
François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand was a French writer,
politician, diplomat and historian, who translated Paradise Lost
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( Latin spiritus , spirare , "to breathe"; Gk. pneuma ; Fr. esprit ; Ger. Geist ). As these names show, the principle of life was often represented under ...