The word "idea" is used by Spinoza in so many different ways that an attempt to understand it literally in terms of his definition of an idea as "a conception of the mind which the mind forms because it is a thinking thing" (E II, Df. 3) leads to nothing but confusion. Such confusion can be and needs to be avoided by making some crucial distinctions to which I wish to draw attention in this paper.
Consider, for instance, Spinoza's statement, "In God there necessarily exists the idea of His essence, and of all things which necessarily follow from His essence." (E II, P3) Here, by "idea" he does not and cannot mean straightforwardly, "conception of the mind which the mind forms because it is a thinking thing." Spinoza's God is not a thing that thinks in the sense in which a human being is a thing that thinks. When Spinoza says, "God is a thinking thing," this means no more than what he says in the same proposition, namely, "Thought is an attribute of God." (E II, Pi) Thought constitutes the essence of God, but it is not a property ascribable to God. It would be senseless to expect Thought, an attribute, to form conceptions. What sense is to be made, then, of his statement in E II, P3? It can only mean that to say 'The essence of God consists in the attribute of thought,’ is the same thing as to say ‘In God there necessarily exists the idea of His essence.’ And this latter must not be understood in such a way as to render God as an anthropomorphic entity believed, therefore, to have ideas which are conceptions of His mind. All it means is that Thought forms a necessary part of the nature of reality that is being referred to by the term 'substance' or 'God'.
The word "idea" as it occurs in E II, P3 is to be understood, in fact, in the sense in which Spinoza uses it in E II, P4, in saying, "The idea of God, from which infinite numbers of things follow in infinite ways, can be one only." The idea of God' is the same thing, that is to say, as His essence or "the necessity of the divine nature" (E I, P16), from which infinite numbers of things are said to follow in infinite ways. As the essence of God is identical with the Attributes, Spinoza wishes specify, by the use of the word "idea" in respect to God, reference to one of the attributes which constitute the nature of Substance- namely to Thought, and to no other.
Hij snijdt best duidelijke vraagpunten aan, maar door de positie in te nemen dat de idee die God volgens 2/3 heeft van zijn wezen en alles wat noodzakelijk uit dat wezen volgt - dit ‘idea Dei’ zoals het daarna wordt genoemd – dat ‘The idea of God' is the same thing, that is to say, as His essence,’ gaat hij vervolgens de mist in. Hij heeft niet gezien dat Spinoza is begonnen aan het behandelen van de natura naturata (niet in z’n geheel, maar om de menselijke geest te plaatsen). Door Kashaps uitleg gaat hij in tegen 1/17s en 1/31 die het oneindige (Gods) verstand niet tot zijn wezen, maar tot de natura naturata rekenen. Zo ontgaat hem ook hoe de ‘objective idea,’ door hem bij voorkeur aangeduid als 'tought-object', tot stand komt.Enfin, bij Kashap wordt aldus, het op zich al ingewikkelde verhaal dat over Spinoza idee-gebruik te vertellen is, nog veel ingewikkelder, de ‘confusion' nog meer 'confused.'
Zie hier tijdelijk (voor ca. een week) het PDF van 't Idea-artikel van Kashap.