Gottspeil/Autospeil: Spinoza as Auto Mechanic

[Portrait of Spinoza] 0. To delineate the contours of Spinozaís rationalism, imagine Spinoza encounters a 1978 Buick transported, a la Star Trek, to the Hague, circa 1675. The fuel line is clogged, but Spinoza doesn't know this. Mutatis mutandis, how might Spinoza's investigation proceed?

1. Before we begin smashing our knuckles, letís consider a few metaphysical features of the situation. We have two options: either the car is a closed system or an open system; if closed, then by P29, itís determined to act in just this definite way, so it ainít broke. If not, then either itís an open part of a (bigger) closed system (car + environment) or not; if not, then we canít repair the car (to repair something is to intervene among the causes of dysfunction & open systems lack ultimate causes--events are either brute facts or effects of hidden variables). So, we proceed on the assumption that the overall system is closed.

2. Any explanation of the problems here must be of the form cause C brought it about that effect E -- not someone doesnít want the car to run. I.e., the possibility of auto-repair, like the possibility of science, rests on the presupposition that automotive phenomena proceeed from determinate causes of which adequate knowledge is possible.

3. Being broken is a state-description of of a closed system, so knowing how to repair a car implies knowing:

(a) that the car is broken
(b) what causal chains have gone awry
so, knowing that the fuel line is clogged is caused by knowing that the cause of the fuel lineís behavior is a particle in the line.

4. There are two causal chains here, one among ideas and one among objects (reasons and causes)

Principles of Mechanics:K1-->K2-->K3
This car's causal history:E1-->E2-->E3
5. Finis.