Why Rejection of Final Causes in Spinoza's
Philosophy was Discussed
چرا در مورد رد علت غایی در فلسفه اسپینوزا بحث شد
The first edition of a paper in English about rejection of final causes by Spinoza was written 35 years ago in Fall 1983 and a Persian translation was published in 2005 (1). Spinoza's explanation of final causes is very simple. He writes:
"If a stone falls from the roof on somebody's head and kills him, by this method of arguing, they will prove that the stone fell in order to kill the man; for if it had not fallen for this purpose by the will of God, how could so many circumstances (and there are often many coinciding circumstances) have chanced to concur? Perhaps you will reply that the event occurred because the wind was blowing and the man was walking that way. But they will persist in asking why the wind blew...And so they will go on and on asking the causes of causes until you take refuge in the will of God -- that is, the sanctuary of ignorance. [Spinoza, Baruch, Ethics, Part I, Appendix, E&SL, P.60]"
The reason for this fundamental research into Spinoza's philosophy was to find an answer to an inquiry into the Western Rationalism, which rejected the final causes in Aristotelian philosophy, whereas in the Eastern philosophy, even Al-Farabi and Avicenna who were considered the masters of Aristotelian philosophy to a degree that even Farabi was called the Second Teacher, and more importantly Avicenna was a founder of modern medicine and sciences before the Renaissance, nonetheless they never arrived at rejection of final causes, and more than that, in the East, for mystics and in Sufism (2), following Al-Ghazali, it was the final causes that found precedence over the efficient causes and not the reverse; whereas in Western philosophy, Spinoza was the one who clearly threw out final causes as sanctuary of ignorance and even explained it away in the four causes of Aristotle by efficient causes. In fact, all Modern science in the West followed Spinoza's route although did not necessarily announce it.
Hoping for a democratic and secular futurist republic in Iran,
November 8, 2018
1. Spinoza's Refutation of Teleology
اسپینوزا در رد علت غائی
2. صوفیگری و تقدیر گرائی- یک یادداشت کوتاه
Sufism and Fatalism - A Brief Note