pany, it seems that the
simultaneously, has been written twice, in two
styles, in dual registers)» (Id.,
Spinoza et le problème de l’expression
, Paris, Editions
de Minuit, 1968, p. 317).
Parkinson, in his rejoinder to Savan, makes reference to Wittgenstein,
with respect to Wittgenstein’s famous alternative to stating in language, name-
ly, communicating by «showing» (p. 93). Our reading of Spinoza would seem
to indicate that Spinoza was convinced he had devised a different solution,
consisting of the expressive power of deductive logic. The fact that nowadays
formal logic is spoken of as “language” is part of a separate history of ideas.
Therefore, whenever the term “language” is used in the context of science, its
distinction from natural, “ordinary” language needs to be kept in mind, as in
Yovel’s commentary on the “language” of
: «The scientific method de-
fines, above all, the universe of discourse of the
. Language in this do-
main is to serve adequate ideas only, it takes its model from a formal deduc-
tive calculus, construed
and ideally requiring an absolute degree
of transparency. […] To understand a term we are neither allowed nor re-
quired to transcend the given linguistic system to something else – natural
language, the history and etymology of words, the linguistic habits of actual
speakers – or to consider the role of metaphor, connotation, and other se-
mantic inputs and accomplishments. The entire information necessary and
relevant to fully understand this language is supposed to reside in the system
itself, as if it were a formal-deductive calculus» (Id.,
Spinoza and Other Heretics
cit., pp. 137-138).
And we are assuming that it cannot have been anything else or less
than a deeply thought-out choice, the result of profound reflection within and
as part of his «total world view» (Fløistad, p. 113).
As a footnote in terms of the history of reception of Spinoza’s philos-
ophy of language, it would not be amiss to mention Einstein. M. Paty por-
trayed Einstein as a kindred spirit, fundamentally, and also found in him the
same view of language: «If the model, and the manner, of certainty, is mathe-
matics, what leads to it is a mental work, the description of which he does not
insist very long on, and which, indeed, does not need words. It is work on
concepts, but the latter are not necessarily expressible in words» (Id.,
Spinoza and the Sciences
, cit., pp. 267-302, p. 293).
This fundamental assessment does not preclude a nuanced Spinozan
understanding of the functionality of language otherwise, as in P.-F. Moreau,
Spinoza. L’expérience et l’éternité
, Paris, Presses Universitaire de France, 1994, pp.
307-378. Nevertheless, Moreau also acknowledges, in line with our main ar-
gument, the specific status of language (as part of the first kind of knowledge,
the realm of bodily experience) in Spinoza’s epistemic system: «Les mots sont