This week we will discuss a problem we’ve been dealing with only obliquely thus far, namely, whether commitment to an unrestricted application of the PSR results in a position according to which one has to deny the existence of finite beings. This is the so-called “acosmism problem”. We’ll look at a brief statement of it by Maimon, who coined the term “acosmism”, as well as Hegel’s critical discussion of the problem as it arises (or so Hegel contends) in Spinoza’s work.
- Maimon: The Autobiography of Solomon Maimon, ch. 15 (focus on pp. 62-5)
- For an overview of Maimon’s life see his SEP entry
- Lectures on the History of Philosophy (excerpt), pp. 151-65
- Encyclopedia Logic (excerpt), §50, §§86-98, §151 (focus on the discussions of determinacy, infinity, and Spinoza)
- (Optional) Science of Logic (excerpt), chs. 1-2; pp. 59-125 (these cover the derivation of
<existence>in the Encyclopedia in greater depth)
- Newlands: “Hegel’s Idealist Reading of Spinoza”