Baruch Spinoza

Spinoza, Baruch (1632-1677)
In contrast to Descartes’ separation of God, mind and matter, Baruch (Benedict in Latin) Spinoza proposed an integrated view. Not three separate entities; three aspects of one substance. Although raised in the predominantly Christian city of Amsterdam, and contrary to the teaching of his parents who were Portuguese Jews, Spinoza was basically a pantheist (God does not exist as a separate entity but is in everything). He believed that mind and body can’t be separated because matter and soul are the same thing but viewed from different points of view. Spinoza’s double-aspectism (mind-body are two sides of the same coin) was in contrast to the dualism of Descartes and others. Dualists held that the material mind and spiritual mind were independent but had to meet somewhere. Spinoza’s monism eliminated the conflict by reducing mind and matter to the same substance.

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