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The Third Category Of Knowledge And The Rational Love Of God

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Chapter Summary

According to Spinoza, in the third category of knowledge man knows the individual and, in this knowing, experiences his own individuality in a new way, which Spinoza characterizes as the highest perfection. The affective dimension of this third category of knowledge is joy, which through God's absolute context is grounded with and in the known individual things, and thus, aside from the highest satisfaction with itself, it also includes an indestructible intellectual love for God. Our self-consciousness proves hence to be the self-consciousness of substance itself, which as such is a pure, intellectual love, which only becomes understandable under the condition of its self-modification to differentiated beings. This corresponds entirely to that theory of truth according to which all ideas are those of an infinite understanding. This is also about the structural identity of our experience with the deductions of the Ethica from which Spinoza concludes their real truth.

Keywords: Ethica; highest satisfaction; knowledge; love of God; self-consciousness; Spinoza; structural identity; theory of truth; understanding

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