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The Divine Essence and the Conception of God in Spinoza

Sherry Deveaux
Synthese
Vol. 135, No. 3 (Jun., 2003), pp. 329-338
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20117372
Page Count: 10
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The Divine Essence and the Conception of God in Spinoza
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Abstract

I argue against a prevailing view that the essence of God is identical with the attributes. I show that given what Spinoza says in 2d2 -- Spinoza's purported definition of the essence of a thing -- the attributes cannot be identical with the essence of God (whether the essence of God is understood as the distinct attributes or as a totality of indistinct attributes). I argue that while the attributes do not satisfy the stipulations of 2d2 relative to God, absolutely infinite and eternal power does satisfy those stipulations. Hence, I conclude that absolutely infinite and eternal power is God's essence and that the attributes are expressions of that power.

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