SPINOZA’S BUNDLE ANALYSIS OF SUBSTANCES HAVING ATTRIBUTES
Michael A. Istvan Jr.
Considered in its absolute nature, Spinoza’s God is nothing more than the total collection of self-sufficient attributes. God is nothing more than the total collection of selfsufficient attributes in the sense that no attribute is a function of anything ontologically prior to it, and whatever may be in excess to the attributes is entirely a function of the attributes themselves. My bundle interpretation of the substance-attribute relationship in Spinoza’s thought harmonizes, so I argue in this paper, with various Spinozistic positions said to be in tension with it: God’s simplicity and nonderivativeness, the «sameness» of God’s attributes, the unity of parallel modes of different attributes, our being able to know God by knowing just one of his attributes, and so on. Through the help of mapping out how God’s attributes relate to one another in terms of Suárez’s famous taxonomy of distinctions, I explain, moreover, how my interpretation provides solutions to certain famous criticisms of Spinoza’s philosophy, perhaps most importantly Leibniz’s objection to Spinoza’s ontological argument and Tschirnhaus’s puzzlement over Spinoza’s claim that Thought is the same as any other attribute even though it is more replete than any other attribute.