Thu Feb 11, 2016
Howison Library, 4–6 PM
Kristin Primus (Georgetown University)
The Roles of Inadequate Ideas in Adequate Cognition
Interpreters of Spinoza have tended to focus on the negative affective and epistemic consequences of having inadequate ideas. While I think it’s clear that inadequate ideas can bring discord and turmoil, I don’t think that inadequate ideas always undermine adequate cognition’s gains. In this paper, I will explain how inadequate ideas —even those highly confused, very inadequate ideas like being, thing, or something— can help a cognizer emend her intellect and get more adequate ideas. I will also explain why it’s coherent for a cognizer to have entirely adequate ideas about durationally-existing things. This is an important result, as it rescues Spinoza’s system from inconsistency.