Voor Martin Berendt & Julius Friedländer was Spinoza de filosoof par excelence

Ja, zelfs dé filosoof van alle tijden . Zij schreven:  

Martin Berendt & Julius Friedländer, Spinoza's Erkenntnislehre in ihrer Beziehung zur modernen Naturwissenschaft und Philosophie: allgemeinverständlich dargestellt . Berlin: Mayer & Müller, 1891 - XIX, 315 pp.

Verder vond ik nog dat de tweede schreef

Julius Friedländer, Spinoza: ein Meister der Ethik: Nach einem Vortrage gehalten in der Deutschen Gesellschaft für ethische Kultur in Berlin (Berlin: Verlag C.R. Dreher, 1985) in-8. 30 pp [daar ik het zo'n fraaie titel vind, laat ik hem vet oplichten]

….. Der Mechanismus des Bewusstseins, in-8. Leipzig, Fack

Over beiden heb ik geen enkele biografische informatie kunnen vinden, maar uit de kop van de bespreking door F. Picavet in Revue Philosophique de la France et de l'Étranger [T. 44 (JUILLET A DÉCEMBRE 1897), pp. 320-323] is te zien dat Julius Friedländer blijkbaar medicus was. Die bespreking heeft in de kop:

Dr. Martin Berendt et Dr. med. Julius Friedländer. Spinoza's Erkenntnisslehre in ihrer Beziehung zur modernen Philosophie. Berlin, Mayer et Müller. La théorie de la connaissance chez Spinoza dans son rapport avec la philosophie et la science de la nature. xx-316 pages.

Behalve deze vond ik nog twee uitgebreide besprekingen van

• J. E. Creighton in The Philosophical Review, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Mar., 1892), pp. 202-205. Little attention has, hitherto, been devoted to Spinoza‘s theory of knowledge. I.t.t. wat steeds gemeend werd willen zij laten zien dat Spinzoa is the philosopher of experience (Auschamungsphilosoph) par excellence en show its wonderful correspondence with the results of modern natural science. De bespreker mist intussen een table of contents en stoort zich aan de vele typographical errors. Hij is het niet eens that by ratio Spinoza understands knowledge of the natural sciences; zij rekken de notiones communes  ver op. Waar Spinoza in 2/29s aangeeft hoe de geest bij het van binnenuit i.e. by the fact of regarding several things at once to understand their 'points of agreement, difference, and contrast tot klare en onderscheiden kennis komt, beweren de schrijvers dat dat precies de natuurwetenschappelijke methode is. Wat de intuitie betreft hebben de schrijvers volgens de reviewer een strange speculation, n.l. dat there must remain the eternal essence as a permanent element in all changes of phenomena (p. 151): The essence of Achilles reappears many times in history in Alexander, in Cromwell, and even in Prince Bismarck… Niettemin: the book is extremely valuable and suggestive. They apply Spinoza's philosophy (which is also their own) to many of the problems of our time, and if they do not succeed in finding any new solutions, the old truths are nevertheless put with a new emphasis. Philosophical students will await with interest the appearance of their promised expositions of the metaphysi- cal and ethical systems of Spinoza.

• W. R. Sorley in Mind, New Series, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan., 1892), pp. 132-136. De auteurs komen met iets nieuws. Sorley is – m.u.v. de vele misprints - nogal content: „know of no other discussion which can compare for thoroughness with that of the present writers.“ Zij zien Spinoza in touch with all the problems of our time, and in complete agreement with the results of modern science, the fundamental principles of which he anticipated. Voor hen is Spinoza the true intuitive philosopher. De reviewer vat hun samenvatting van de kennisleer nog eens samen in: Imaginationi is the knowledge of every-day life; Reason, the method of science; and Intuition, the exercise of scientific and philosophical genius, of artistic insight and creation. Met hun behandeling dat Spinoza met ratio de moderne wetenschappelijke methode zou bedoelen gaat de reviewer uitgebreid in discussie; hij betwijfelt het. Nog meer in discussie gaat hij met hun gelijkstelling van Intuitie met wetenschappelijke of filosofische genius. Hij geeft dit citaat:

"Whilst the object of rational knowledge is the mechanical movements of the material world and its laws, on the other hand, the object of intuitive knowledge is the essence of things, the real content of nature and its creatures-which receives expression in these mechanical movements. This content we have recognised to be in Spinoza's view Desire (Cupiditas), the will of beings and their impulse to self-preservation" (p. 99).

That the essence of a thing is its tendency to persist in its being, daarmee is de reviewer akkoord, maar niet met hun uitwerking, n.l. dat het daarbij gaat om his character; which is accordingly free and independent.

Een recente behandeling van hun werk is te vinden in

Tracie Matysik, “Spinozist Monism. Perspectives from within en without te Monist Movement” [in: Todd H. Weir, Monism: Science, Philosophy, Religion, and the History of a Worldview. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012 – books,google]   *)

Zij beschouwt Martin Berendt & Julius Friedländer, Spinoza’s Erkenntnislehre etc. als:

the most sustained effort of the nineteenth century to demonstrate the remarkable compatibility of Spinoza's thought with recent developments in the natural sciences. They also happened to be acolytes of Ernst Haeckel and enthusiasts for the monist movement. However, their interpretation of Spinoza's thought evinced a much more vitalist tendency than did Grunwald's, one that stuck to the idea of the parallelism of the attributes but managed to give it a teleological twist.

For Berendt and Friedlander, Spinoza's thought was particularly important because it offered a useful corrective to contemporary materialism, a position they found to be philosophically unsound. In particular, they explained, modern materialism wanted to understand all phenomena as products of physical and chemical processes, or of "moving energy" (bewegte Energie). But with such a starting point, they claimed, it stumbled in trying to make sense of things like consciousness, will, and desire: it could not explain how or why atoms, energy, and movement would ever produce something like mind or mental phenomena. Spinoza alone, they argued, understood this problem from the outset and had preempted it with his conception of God or substance as singular and as manifesting itself in parallel attributes. In his system, neither mind nor matter bears the burden of having to produce the other, as both are already presupposed.

Tot zover waren de auteurs like typical Spinozists. Zij gingen afwijken in Spinoza's kennisleer. En vooral w.b. de derde kennissoort, de intuïtie, geven zij een „especially idiosyncratic definition. They followed Spinoza in defining intuitive knowledge as knowledge of the "particular essence of things," but they understood that "particular essence" as consisting in the drive for self-preservation and desire and equated that drive with an individual's will. In their account, then, intuitive knowledge came to be the form of knowledge that understands the will (both organic and inorganic), and it was in this move that Berendt and Friedlander introduced what could be called a teleological dimension to their reading of Spinoza. Not only does the will operate for Berendt and Friedlander much like the world-soul or spirit that Dilthey associated with vitalist pantheism and presented as in opposition to mechanistic parallelism; it also was supposed to participate in a process that mobilized entities to strive for higher organization.“ Zij legden Darwins evolutheorie zo uit da teer een streven is niet alelen om in het bestaan te volharden, maar ook om te ontwikkelen in "higher species." Alleen zo’n originary will‘ maakte volgens hen de evolutie begrijpelijk en zij zagen in Spinoza de voorloper van deze wetenschap: via rationele kennis werden de mechanische wetten gekend die organismen bestuurden, terwijl met intuitieve kennis  de will of de "original striving" begrepen werd.

Wat de ethiek betreft worstelden ze nogal met de relatie van individuen tot de collectiviteit wat volgens hen was: "the fundamental problem of all philosophy in our time."

Hier op dit punt een citaat uit het al genoemde Julius Friedländer, Spinoza: ein Meister der Ethik:

"Individualism realizes itself fully and rationally in collectivism, discharges itself necessarily in collectivism, because it reaches its own real and truly conceived goal—the enduring happiness of individuals—only in collectivism, in the community of all. That is the awesome and at the same time infinitely simple moral principle of Spinoza."

Berendt and Friedlander thus found in Spinozist monism—or their idiosyncratic interpretation of it—a philosophical framework that not only coincided well with developments in natural science but also one that served their distinct combination of liberal individualism and social solidarity.


*) Ik noteer hier even dat Tracie M. Matysik, Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Department of History, is working on a book manuscript provisionally entitled "Spinoza Matters: Pantheism, Materialism, and Alternative Enlightenment Legacies in Nineteenth-Century Europe." [cf.] Op een andere pagina wordt het boek aangeduid als: “When Spinoza Met Marx: A Star-crossed Historical Love Story." Op die pagina wordt verwezen naar een gesprek met Dr. Tracie Matysik and Dr. Gene Garver op 3 maart 2016 V&B – Spinoza Today - nog te beluisteren.