Volume 94, Issue 4, October 2017
The Nature and Scope of Spinoza's "One and the Same" Relation
I argue that we should rethink the nature and scope of Spinoza’s “one and the same” relation (E2p7s). Contrary to the standard reading, the nature of this relation is not identity but a union, and its scope includes all idea-object pairs, even God and the idea of God. A crucial reason we should adopt this dual picture is that the idea of God must be one and the same as something found when Nature is conceived under each of the other attributes. If “one and the same” is interpreted as a relation of identity, this requirement cannot be met. However, maintaining that God and the idea of God are one and the same not only fulfills this requirement, but also is independently motivated. I also briefly consider how the thesis that God and the idea of God are one and the same affords us with positive insights concerning the nature of this relation.