mardi 3 mars 2009

# What can a body do ? a Spinozist issue.


However, no one has hitherto laid down the limits to the powers of the body, that is, no one has as yet been taught by experience what the body can accomplish solely by the laws of nature, in so far as she is regarded as extension. No one hitherto has gained such an accurate knowledge of the bodily mechanism, that he can explain all its functions; nor need I call attention to the fact that many actions are observed in the lower animals, which far transcend human sagacity, and that somnambulists do many things in their sleep, which they would not venture to do when awake: these instances are enough to show, that the body can by the sole laws of its nature do many things which the mind wonders at.
Again, no one knows how or by what means the mind moves the body, nor how many various degrees of motion it can impart to the
body, nor how quickly it can move it.

Spinoza, Ethics, Note of the Proposition II of the Part III
trad: R.H.M. Elwes

Personne, il est vrai, n’a jusqu’à présent déterminé ce que peut le Corps, c'est-à-dire l’expérience n’a enseigné à personne jusqu’à présent ce que, par les seules lois de la Nature considérée en tant seulement que corporelle, le Corps ne peut faire et ce qu’il ne peut pas faire à moins d’être déterminé par l’Ame. Personne en effet ne connaît si exactement la structure du Corps qu’il ait pu en expliquer toutes les fonctions, pour ne rien dire ici de ce que l’on observe maintes fois dans les Bêtes qui dépasse de beaucoup la sagacité humaine, et de ce que font souvent les somnambules pendant le sommeil, qu’ils n’oseraient pas pendant la veille, et ce la montre assez que le Corps peut, par les seules lois de sa nature, beaucoup de choses qui causent à son Ame de l’étonnement. Nul ne sait, en outre, en quelle condition ou par quels moyens l’Ame meut le Corps, ni combien de degrés de mouvement elle peut lui imprime et avec quelle vitesse elle peut le mouvoir.

Spinoza, Ethique, Scolie de la Proposition II de la Troisième partie

Flammarion 1965, trad :Charles Appuhn

picture: Exhibition Our body just arrived in Paris

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