The third kind of knowledge: intuition

In addition to these two kinds of knowledge, there is…another, third kind, which we shall call intuitive knowledge. And this kind of knowing proceeds from an adequate idea of the formal essence of certain attributes of God to the adequate knowledge of the (NS: formal) essence of things. (Spinoza, 1994a, pp. 57, Schol. 2)

Once we have an adequate of things, we can “move up” to the third kind of knowledge which is intuition. Later on, in Chapter 5 of Ethics, Spinoza argues that this types of knowledge leads to Blessedness. Jarrett writes: “The more knowledge of this sort that we have, the less we are affected by bad emotions and the less we fear death” (Jarrett, 2007, p. 158).

We can only have this “blessedness” though if we have relevant adequate ideas. Perhaps here, we have the learner’s ultimate “goal” to attain blessedness? This is possibly problematic in the sense that the Spinozist system claims not be “teleological”, i.e. it is not the means to an end, but here we have a clear sense of an “end”; to become blessed. Or possibly this is an inadequate idea of what Spinoza means. But if one was to return to the metaphor of the “Journey into Joy” one could say that all journeys ultimately have a destination, otherwise they would not be journeys, but this destination does not necessarily have to be fixed or even known at the start of the journey, and possibly this gets to the notion of “blessedness”. It is not something that can be plotted on a map; it is conceived of in the process of developing adequate ideas, it is a natural and necessary “by-product” of the second kind of knowledge.

Advertisements