15 Jan 2009

Spinoza's Ethics Part 1, Proposition 9, with Deleuze's commentary

[the following is quotation; my summary and commentary is in brackets. Deleuze’s commentary is at the end. The Latin text comes last.]

Spinoza, Ethics

Part I "Concerning God"

Prop. IX.

The more reality or being a thing has, the greater the number of its attributes (Def. iv.).

[Attributes express the essence of a substance. So the more attributes, the more essence. And because something's essence is its reality or being, the more essence something has, the more reality or being it has.]

Deleuze's Commentary:

When Spinoza is asked how he comes to the idea of a single substance for all attributes, he points out that he has put forward two arguments: the more reality a being has, the more attributes must be ascribed to it; and the more attributes we ascribe to a being, the more we must accord it existence.

Quand on demande à Spinoza comment il arrive à l'idée d'une seule substance pour tous les attributs, il rappelle qu' il a proposé deux argument : plus un être a de réalité, plus il faut lui reconnaître d'attributs ; plus on reconnaît d'attributs à un être, plus il faut lui accorder l'existence.

Propositions 9 and 10: The second stage: as real distinction is not numerical, distinct attributes or qualified substances together form one and the same substance having all these qualifications, that is, all the attributes. The second sequence closes in the Scholium to Proposition 10, which establishes that an absolutely infinite substance implies no contradiction, so that Definition 6 is indeed a real one.

Propositions 9 et 10, seconde étape : la distinction réelle n'étant pas numérique, les attributs distincts ou substances qualifiées forment une seule et même substance ayant toutes les qualifications, c'est-à-dire tous les attributs. Cette seconde série s'achève dans le scolie de 10 ; celui-ci constate qu'une substance absolument infinie n'implique pas contradiction. La définition 6 est donc une définition réelle.

From the Latin:

Quo plus realitatis, aut esse unaquæque res habet, eo plura attributa ipsi competunt.
Patet ex Defin. 4.


Deleuze, Gilles. Spinoza et le problème de l'expression. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1968.

Deleuze, Gilles. Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza. Trans. Martin Joughin. New York: Zone Books, 1990.

Spinoza. Ethics. Transl. Elwes. available online at:


Spinoza. Ethica. available online at:


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