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Tag Archives: Rules For the Direction of the Mind

Descartes’ 8th Rule: A Spinoza Touchstone

Rules For the Direction of the Mind, gives clue to Spinoza’s concept of the instrumentation of knowledge

I post here Descartes’ 8th Rule from his Regulae, as a marker to important influences upon both Spinoza’s philosophy in general – it contains the seeds of his argument for Three Knowledges, for instance – and his approach to technology, as it possesses the analogy that knowledge production is like the development of blacksmithing. This is not to mention the inclusion of possible paths to the discovery of the importance of the anaclastic, significant for the subject of Spinoza’s objection to Descartes’s claim for the importance of the hyperbolic lens. I highlight the relevant places of correspondence:

Full Text of the 8th Rule with Annotations and Highlights

Rule 8: If in the series of things to be examined we come across something which our intellect is unable to intuit sufficiently well, we must stop at that point, and refrain from the superfluous task of examining the remaining items.

The three preceding Rules prescribe and explain the order to be followed; the present Rule shows when order is absolutely necessary, and when it is merely useful. It is necessary that we examine whatever constitutes an integral step in the series through which we must pass when we proceed from relative terms to something absolute or vice versa, Read more of this post