Andrea Sangiacomo (University of Groningen)
This paper outlines the role of the bodily essence in Spinoza’s epistemology. Spinoza maintains in the Ethics that the power of the imagination depends on bodily affections and it explains the inadequateness of imaginative ideas. However, Spinoza also exploits the capabilities of the human body to work out his account of common notions, which grounds the adequate knowledge provided by reason. Moreover, the essentia corporis plays a crucial role in the fifth part of the Ethics. Indeed, the “eternal part” of the mind depends on the adequate idea of the eternal essence of the human body. By connecting this idea with other ideas, the mind has the power of ordering its ideas according to the intellect. Thus, the mind increases the number of the ideas it conceives of sub specie aeternitatis. In this sense, the bodily essence is not only the ground of Spinoza’s epistemology but also of Spinoza’s doctrine of the eternity of the mind.