Download PDF by H. F. Hallett: Aeternitas: A Spinozistic study

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Eth. I I , xl, Sch. ) T h e motion is not, I need hardly say, even sub specie extensionis, locomotion, but real motus et quies. T h a t is to say, essence is prior to expression, ground to consequent, Substance to mode. A n d in knowledge, though for the learner or inquirer the matter o f the conclusion m ay often seem to be derived from a direct observation or from authority, and thus to be temporally prior to the premisses, which are the result o f subsequent inquiry or instruction, yet, even here, in 3 32 AETERNITAS in time from cause to effect (the Berkeleian transition from ‘sign’ to ‘thing signified’ : a description which Spinoza might so far have accepted) gives place to the procession of grounds and consequents in eternity, and in the same transvaluation Imagination, the first kind of knowledge, gives place to adequate knowledge of the second or third kinds.

The active power of the individual is confined to the present, or proceeds beyond it only through the present; it alone is actual, it alone is for action. No character of crude time is more vital than the distinction between the past that has been and no longer is, the present that is, and the future that will be but is not yet; it is the basis of the common-sense habit of ‘crowning the present, doubting of the rest’, or rather, doubting of the future as a mere idea, accepting the past as fact indeed, though beyond our cure, but regarding the present as the real living fact.

EXCU R SU S I A CO M PLETE T IM E A ttempts have sometimes been made to save the reality of time by showing how it may be regarded as whole and complete, and therefore not essentially indefinite. I select for brief comment two modern attempts in this direction— that of Mr. J. S. Mackenzie, according to which time is conceived as complete but finite, and that of Royce, which makes time infinite but nevertheless complete. (i) Mr. J. S. Mackenzie1 makes the serious suggestion that the terms ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ may have significance when applied, not merely within, but also to the time-series: that is to say that time itself may begin and end.

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Aeternitas: A Spinozistic study by H. F. Hallett

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