This is the first in a series of posts about two Early Modern Philosophers* (EMPs) called Benedict Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz. Sometimes reading Spinoza and Leibniz, one is struck by a powerful feeling: what the hell are these guys doing? Why do I care?
They seem to take some arbitrarily defined notion of ‘substance’ and then prove from it and various other implausible assumptions that everything you think is wrong, and that the truth about the world is something somewhat bizarre.
To make it worse, they seem to make very similar implausible assumptions, and then deduce apparently opposite conclusions. WTF, mate?
So in this post I want to try and put them in a context where their metaphysical craziness not only seems understandable, but moreover teaches us something actually relevant.
(this is another post liable to be mostly of interest to students of philosophy).
The broadest context for these two, and Early Modern Western Philosophy, is science. Science has appeared, along with capitalism, individualism, freedom of criticism, and philosophy is trying to come to terms with this, to express the scientific enterprise in an intellectually coherent way.