Journal article

The greatest deception: fiction, falsity and manifestation in Spinoza’s Metaphysical Thoughts

Joe Hughes

Intellectual History Review | Informa UK Limited | Published : 2020


“The first meaning of true and false”, writes Spinoza in a neglected passage of the Metaphysical Thoughts, “seems to have had its origin in stories”. Ideas are true when they “show” us things as they are; they are false when they do not, when they are fictional. In this essay, I argue that what appears at first sight to be a simple assertion of a correspondence theory of truth in fact opens onto broad historical transformations in the nature of meaning that reshaped the very atmosphere of truth: the emergence of a new kind of fictionality, transformations in the sense of logical interpretation, and ultimately transformations in the structures and sources of the natural light, that “clarity” ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers