Adequate knowledge and bodily complexity in Spinoza’s account of consciousness

Methodus 6:77-104 (2011)
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This paper aims to discuss Spinoza’s theory of consciousness by arguing that consciousness is the expression of bodily complexity in terms of adequate knowledge. Firstly, I present the link that Spinoza built up in the second part of the Ethics between the ability of the mind to know itself and the idea ideae theory. Secondly, I present in what sense consciousness turns out to be the result of an adequate knowledge emerging from the epistemological resources of a body as complex as the human one. Thirdly, I address a possible objection that might arise in considering our daily-life experience of consciousness. I conclude that understanding consciousness in terms of adequate knowledge is coherent with both our phenomenological experience and Spinoza’s texts. Such an interpretation permits to underline the overthrow of Descartes’ account of consciousness by Spinoza.

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Andrea Sangiacomo
University of Groningen


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