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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 31, Issue 3, 2021

Do We Need a New Enlightenment for the Twenty-First Century? Part II

Ollie Koistinen
Pages 265-279

Spinoza’s Ode to Reason

In this paper, the main features of Spinoza’s conception of Reason are laid out. First, how Reason differs on the one hand from opinion and imagination and on the other hand from intuitive knowledge. After that the validation of Reason is considered. As I interpret Benedict de Spinoza, even finite subjects enjoy freedom of Reason. I will give the reasons for this doctrine which seems to be inconsistent with Spinoza’s universal determinism. One of the most fascinating aspects of Spinoza’s rationalism is that the acts of reason are intrinsically motivating in bringing joy to the thinker. I will try to make sense of that view. In the concluding section of the paper, I try to make sense of how this affective feature of reasoning as an intrinsically joyful activity leads to rational love of God which, if things go well, leads to intellectual love of God in which our blessedness or salvation lies.