Spinoza, the "Very Untranscendental"

Ernst Blochs Interpretation of Spinoza 

(See: Arshinow, Fuchs (ed.): Causality, Emergence, Self-Organisation. Moscow 2003, pp. 259-286.)

Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677) has always been considered as one of the great philosophers by Ernst Bloch, great philosophers being those whose works are connected to the time they live in. Bloch told his students in Leipzig that whereas the problems of a greengrocer today were not much different at the times of Perikles, the problems of a philosopher had vastly changed. "Zeitung und Traktat" ("Journal/Tidings and Treatise"), an essay written in 1923 and published in Logos of Matter (Bloch 2000), is an expression of contemporary thinking, a motive that is recurring throughout Bloch´s works:

Bloch says that only the creative thinker does even in bourgeois times have the strength to be connected to his time. He is a speaker of acting from within, his own thinking transforms itself into the thinking and consciousness of the actors, it informs them about themselves. He continues to say that there has never been a pure philosopher in the sense of only observing, this would be a bourgeois concept applicable only to the abstract irrelevance of bourgeois actions. Concrete publicity would be the dimension characteristic for great philosophers, feeling the sound of the whole world in every detail. For Bloch, Platon, Spinoza, Kant and Hegel were always masters of the lively time they lived in, masters of the philosophical-political treatise. (Bloch 2000, pp 18f.)

Bloch devotes two chapters of "Das Materialismusproblem, seine Geschichte und Substanz" (The Problem of Materialism, its History and Substance) to Spinoza. In the first course, where Bloch deals with "Die Lehren vom Einzelnen - Allgemeinen, den Stoff angehend" ("Doctrines of the Individual - the Universal, concerning Matter"), he mentions Spinoza together with Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Leibniz, Hume and Kant as the representatives of the pure general intellectual forms. He discusses the specific limits of these forms, also with regards to the contents. In the second course which is on "Die Lehren von der Materie, die Bahnungen ihrer Finalität und Offenheit" ("The Theories of Matter, its Finality and Openness"), Bloch considers Spinoza and Malebranche as representatives of a conception that considers matter as a representation and an expansion-attribute of God. In his Leipzig Lectures (Bloch 1985, pp 54-117) Bloch deals in more extensive way than in the book on materialism with Spinoza. In chapter 41 of the Principle of Hope there is a passage on "Bruno und das unendliche Kunstwerk; Spinoza und die Welt als Kristall" (Bruno and the infinite work of art; Spinoza and the world as a crystal) (Bloch 1977, pp 993-1000). Spinoza is also mentioned sporadically in other parts of Bloch´s works.

Because of Rainer E. Zimmermannís emphasis on the importance of Spinoza´s philosophy for Ernst Bloch in various publications during the last years, I will explain Bloch´s relationship to Spinoza by a detailed literary exegesis because others as e.g. Jens Scheer see Bloch as part of a specific line of thought, but they exclude Spinoza. Scheer says that Bloch in his ideas on nature and matter referred to the tradition of the "Aristotelian left", from Ibn Sina (Avicenna) to lbn Ruschd (Averroes) and Giordano Bruno, finally Schelling and also Marx.

Spinoza passim in the Works of Bloch

As far as I know, Spinoza is not mentioned in the first edition of "Geist der Utopie" ("Spirit of Utopia"), but in the second one. Bloch moves the chapter about the "Alexanderzug" ("Alexander Crusade") to the part entitled "Die Gestalt der unkonstruierbaren Frage" ("The Form of the Unconstructable Question") and substitutes the introductory cultural-geographic remarks by an ethical and religious diagnosis of the time. He says that maybe Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Spinoza, more geometrico, believed enough in what they were saying, but what they all were missing was deep involvement; and he mentions that the day of Damaskus can`t be displaced (Bloch 1977, Vol. 3: 212)

One can interpret a passage from Bloch´s work on Thomas Münzer as a indirect reference to Spinoza. There he says that in essence the fields of Christ, the Unconditioned, and the spaces of the last ratio lie in dawn and in the inner light that still remains contingent; and he mentions that everything that is crystal-like breaks into pieces in view of this and becomes frivolity (Bloch 1977, Vol 2: 182). One can assume an indirect reference to Spinoza here, because Bloch again and again associates Spinoza with the crystal-metaphor. E.g. in the book on Materialism he says that the relationship of the divine attributes with the cabbalistic scope-categories of "Sephirot" is obvious, that oriental mysticism together with a philosophy believing in science gives a unique style to Spinozism, that the world is a crystal and the light of God is at the zenith in it (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 51). Fifteen years after the book on Münzer, Bloch already sympathises with Spinoza´s "outwardness" that he prefers to quixotic internalism (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 52). The passage on the crystal in the Leipzig Lectures fifteen years later shows a continued rapprochement to Spinoza because depth is mentioned as a counterbalance to the crystal. In this passage Bloch describes chill and glow as corresponding to immeasurable, vertiginous depth and a crystal. He says himself that this is a strange combination that has never been mentioned in philosophy (Bloch 1985, Vol. 3: 57)

Spinoza is also mentioned at a place where one wouldn´t expect it, in the last section of the chapter "Ungleichzeitigkeit und Berauschung" ("Non-Simultaneity and Intoxication") in "Erbschaft dieser Zeit" ("Heritage of the Time"). In his sharp critique of the behaviour of the Christian churches concerning National Socialism Bloch refers to Spinoza. Bloch says that this church serving after all in a Protestant manner and concordating after all in a Catholic manner, is founded on the bible which is characterised by the new "Leader" ("Führer") in the following words: "Jewry has always been a nation of a definite racial character and never differentiated merely by the fact of belonging to a certain religion. At a very early date, urged on by the desire to make their way in the world, the Jews began to cast about for a means whereby they might distract such attention as might prove inconvenient for them" (Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 335). Bloch continues satirically that this must mean that the Jews have had no religion, the Greek no art, the Romans no state and that hence the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ, the early Christians and Spinoza are done for, their destination is settled - what remains is the Hitler church, it doesn´t diffuse the displeasing interest concerning its members. Bloch writes that religion has always involved much deception, but never so much nasty insanity and so much bloody farce. The combination of the New Testament, the Nibelungenlied and the Horst-Wessel-song would be Satanism, but a very poor one (Bloch 1977, Vol. 4: 102).

It´s notable how Spinozaís works are categorised: He is considered as one of the highest Jewish-Christian authorities; Bloch mentions him together with the prophets, the apostles, Jesus Christ and the early Christians. In his Bloch-biography, Arno Münster shows that Bloch appraised Spinoza not only as systems thinker and philosopher of nature, but also as philosopher of law and religion:

"Cette predilection d´Ernst Bloch pour une lecture "subversive" de la bible renoue bien sur volontairement avec une tradition philosophique dej inauguree par Baruch Spinoza dont le Traite Theologico-Politique (TPP) propose dej une lecture autre, critique, des Ecritures, ... consistait  mettre les propheties de l´Ancien Testament au service de l´encouragement  la revolte des opprimes contre leurs oppresseurs." (Münster 2001: 305)

´This preference of Ernst Bloch for a "subversive" reading of the Bible could in a way be seen as the continuation of Baruch Spinoza´s attempt in his Theological-Political Treatise from the 17th century to found another reading of the Bible that is extremely critical of the theological dogmas ... and according to which itís up to devote the prophecies of the Old Testament to the encouragement of the oppressed in their revolt against their oppressors´.

In Bloch´s book on natural law we first find Spinoza in the chapter on "Nochmals rationalistisches Naturrecht, sein Bezug zur mathematischen Konstruktion und zur Naturreligion" ("Again Rational Natural Law, its Relationship to Mathematical Construction and Natural Religion"). Bloch there says that humanism has connected the Epicurean contract theory about the origin of the state to the Stoa which holds that the right legal- and state-order is deduced from man´s nature and must be in accordance with world reason (Bloch 1977, Vol. 6: 68). In the doctrine of natural law of the 17th and 18th century that was significantly influenced by Spinozism the believe in an immaculate nature, in "natura immaculata", was considered as a natural idea that is opposed to the nature of pure natural laws as well as to "artificiality". Bloch says that the conformity to law remained to nature, it was utilised by Spinozism in order to prove natural perfection. However the nature of laws more and more becomes a reservoir of an atmosphere of contemporary critique that is even superior to law: the crystal of mathematical physics appears at the same time as Stone of Justness, as a panacea that shall guarantee happiness. The latter would emphasise the not quite rational and at least overreaching assumptions on which the doctrine of natural law was based, but which nonetheless would have had great effects and would have went off after Rousseau (Bloch 1977, Vol. 6.: 72). One can´t miss Bloch´s critical undertone concerning the suitability of the crystal-nature as an ethical system of orientation, a panacea and magical bullet resulting in fairness and happiness. After this appraisal follows a critique of pantheism that has already been mentioned in Bloch´s interpretation of Giordano Bruno. The universal religion that is naturally common to all human beings and that had already been proclaimed by the Stoa and the Arabic scholastics, was revitalised in the 17th and 18th century, e.g. by the English deist John Toland who considered "all-nature" as a divine unit. Highly visible is the reference to Spinoza when Bloch refers to Toland by saying that it is this "all-nature" that gave not only the anthropological innateness to natural law, but also the most important feature that God becomes nature and deism becomes pantheism. So by the way of natura immaculata Spinoza reappears as the most pronounced representation of the deus sive natura (Bloch 1977, Vol. 6: 74). Whereas rationalistic natural law is based on the compatibility of regularity to law and the immaculate character of nature, Bloch here reclaims a "latterly difference" that denotes his own position.

He says that the regularity to law of nature served the calm bourgeois need for calculation, whereas the pathos natura immaculata served a revolutionary, anti-feudal and at last even anti-capitalist need; that this difference which can also be seen as one between the ideal of calculus and the impressive ideal of nature can be found in one of the main books of this epoche, Holbach´s and Diderot´s Systeme de la nature (1770); that in this work Spinoza and Rousseau clash in a very instructional manner, this clash could also be seen as one between the value-free regularity to law of nature and the deduction of all values from nature. This would also be reflected in the contrast between the main part of the work and the closing words - in the main part everything that is anthropomorphic and even everything that is valuing is disclaimed and it is at last even hold that order and disorder donít belong to nature, whereas in the closing part which was written by Diderot there is a focus on nature and its code is considered as the essential source and schoolbook of human rights (Bloch 1977, Vol. 6: 74f).

Spinoza is also mentioned in the chapter on concepts of freedom (freedom to choose, freedom of action, ethical freedom and religious freedom). Ethical freedom concerns the ultimate immanent level of independence (Bloch 1977, Vol. 6: 180) - the concept of immanence referring instantly to Spinoza and one shouldn´t forget that in the sense of a further enhancement religious freedom follows with reference to Kant and Hegel. The ethically free human being dominates passion and impertinence. Bloch says that in the works of Sokrates and Spinoza this ethical will is coined by an idiosyncratic intellectualism: Sokrates says that a right understanding of virtue is liberating, in this context Spinoza teaches that "will and understanding are one and the same" (Ethics II, prop. 49, corollary). This would mean that adequate ideas alone should result in the liberation from the enslavement by inadequate instincts and inadequate circumstances and that they guarantee homo liber in an ethical sense. The topos of this ethical freedom that is unbribable and distant from all quietism is the public realm, not the private one. Bloch says that Spinoza´s homo liber who is absolutely theologically-politically mauling, is in his public steeliness in opposition to privacy and this would latterly mean understanding as will and not just the other way round (Bloch 1977, Vol. 6: 180f.). The last important passage concerning Spinoza can be found in the book on natural law under the heading "Illusionen im bürgerlichen Naturrecht" ("Illusions in Bourgeois Natural Law"). Bloch is here dealing with the equivocations of the concept of natural law following the phenomenological semantic analysis of Spiegelberg. The latter distinguishes three epistemological concepts of natural law: the naturally innate (naturangeboren), the naturally insightful (natureinsichtig) and the naturally revealed law (naturoffenbart). Ontological concepts of natural law are the naturally permanent one (naturbeständig), the one that accords to a natural state (naturzuständlich), the one given by nature (naturgegeben), the one valid to nature (naturgültig), the one that is given grounds for by nature (naturbegründet) and at last the law that is according to nature (naturgemäß). Spinoza´s works are connected with the concept of law that is given grounds for by nature.

Bloch says that law that is given grounds for by nature is not given by nature and is not valid to nature, but it has in nature its objective cause and can epistemologically be deduced from the concept of nature that corresponds to it. Here the concept of nature would run from the "essence or the nature" of a thing to the complexity of a panlogistic emanation. Deductions of "nature" from rent, bargain, despotism, casus, modus and culpa could already be found in Roman law. Deductions from the world logic and its highest principle could be found during the whole Enlightenment, most of all in the works of the leading behemoths of rationalism Spinoza and Hegel (Bloch 1977, Vol. 6: 211).

In Bloch´s work Subjekt-Objekt. Erläuterungen zu Hegel the two "leading behemoths of rationalism" come across occasionally, they are not only connected by this label of Bloch because he says that for a long time both were considered as "dead dogs" ("tote Hunde"). In one of many passages Bloch points to the "vitalistic misunderstandig" of Spinoza by the romantic-historical school (Bloch 1977, Vol. 8: 66f.). The already familiar topics along with the ambivalent assessment are again mentioned. In his interpretation of Hegel´s Science of Logic, Bloch mentions the identity of essence and appearance in Spinoza´s works. He says that the tension between essence and appearance could remain uneclectic due to an excess of dualism and of the disruption of the worldly and essential world as in the works of Platon; or that the tension could be attenuated harmonically due to a connection that was too narrow as e.g. in the works of Aristotle, Thomas who connected the world and God ("Supreme Being") hierarchically and also Hegel. In Spinoza´s works the whole world of appearance would be in the upright light of essence that he calls substance (Bloch 1977, Vol. 8: 168).

Again there is a clear critical undertone. When even Hegel in his Philosophy of Nature starts raging rationally (Bloch 1977, Vol. 8: 212) and his concept doesn´t live up to the myth of nature and to the poetry of nature, the chunkings into negativity don´t bother Spinoza. Bloch says that in his dialectical system, Hegel had to assume natural qualities in order to explain organic-psychological development from physical nature and the vast world of ciphers that physical nature provides or provided for the experience of landscapes, art, the myth of nature, chiliastic hopes and anxieties. Hegel would have had to assume that such qualifications can´t be dismissed even with Spinozian inadequate ideas (Bloch 1977, Vol. 8: 214f.).
In the third part of Subject-Object, "Hegels Tod und Leben" ("Hegel´s Death and Life"), Bloch´s pros and cons ad Spinoza are very significant. He says that the latterly statics is without salvation for Marx as even not only the procession of ghosts, but also the process were true. It would renew all disadvantages of Platonism and of Spinozism without the advantages of a non-spiritual substratum that is contained in Spinozism (Bloch 1977, Vol. 8: 388), which is static, but material. Hence: pro non-spiritual, material substratum, contra statics.
Also in other respect Bloch preferred Spinoza to Hegel. He writes to Adolph Lowe when his appointment to the University of Leipzig was discussed how wonderful and unbeknown it is to live and work unmolested by all curiosity. Fame would come posthumous and would be due to the works, not due to a person. He says that his man and brother in philosophical life has at all times been Spinoza, not Hegel, that he will be known all over the place by going to Leipzig and that this displeases him (Bloch 1985, Second Volume: 777f.). His doubts concerning the professorship in Leipzig and the decision against seclusive work and life have with hindsight proved right.

Spinoza´s "Doctrines of the Individual - the Universal, concerning Matter"

Already the remarks on Spinoza that are scattered throughout Bloch´s works show eventually - or better: basically - an ambivalent attitude towards Spinozian philosophy. If Benjamin´s hypothesis that the Casual is an excellent source of cognition holds true here, will be shown by the explanations on Spinoza in Bloch´s book on materialism. First, we will deal with Bloch´s analysis of Spinoza´s doctrine of the relationship of the individual and the universal.

Bloch says that in the new thinking the individual gained major importance and that more than ever what was requested was the language of things instead of dark words and general concepts (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 45).

A way of thinking turning to the outside is devoted to the individual perceptible by the senses, a thinking that wants to perceive the individual by letting the individual itself get a word and by temptingly questioning the individual. Bloch´s epistemological position is that thought would have to start at the sensory perception if it doesn´t want to end up in idealism. The beginnings of this thinking were difficult, as e.g. in Bruno´s works who practised such a thinking, but never explicated it. Quite the same problems are encountered by newer representatives such as Francis Bacon (1561-1626) in his Empirical Science which has according to Bloch the right lust for the individual, but the art of finding it remains vague.

The answer to this problem actually was mathematics. Bloch says that by the methods of calculation the sensual individual was decomposed into its simplest parts (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 45). The price that had to be paid for this long awaited, finally discovered availability of the individual is well known, the qualitative individual disappeared in it just like the former recumbent, classified "form" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 45). Quality and form would have been lost in this progress towards the individual. The law, the universal of causal relationships, replaced the universality of the species or the "form". This might have been necessary and inevitable, but arguing morally this shortcoming shouldn´t have been simply superseded and forgotten. Bloch argues that Bruno got rid of the pre-eminence of the form an treated contemptibly the form that was connected to the hereafter. Autarkic would be matter that fertilises itself, that spreads out its forms towards the universe and explicates itself" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 510). This would result in the fact that one can´t really substantially distinguish matter from form. In this passage of the Bruno-interpretation of Bloch Spinoza is mentioned as a progression towards an intertwining of immanence without disruptions. Spinoza would no longer want to refer terminologically to the matter-form-relationship of Aristotle and the Aristotelian left, instead he would teach a pantheistic unity of substance-attributes (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 511).

Since Descartes the problem of categories has aggravated (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 47). What´s the severeness of this problem? Bloch is concerned with the relationship of external and internal world and of the universal and the individual, i.e. with the appropriateness of cognition. He says that Descartes started with the most well known dubito of the world, but the mathematical God that can´t trick someone would have uncovered the existence of the external world as well as of the universal concepts inherent in it (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 47). Here we find the external world as the bearer of universal concepts and this shall cover the mathematical construction. The lawlikeness and functional character of the universal is transferred also to the individual as an element of movement. The sensual perception of the individual remains qualitatively. Starting with Spinoza, what happens to this battered individual?

Bloch says that objectively the particularity as pure mode ran into the great new scope-categories of expansion and consciousness. Single bodies would be modes of expansion and would only differ quantitatively, the single spirits would be modes of consciousness and would differ by the latter´s degree. The plurality of modes although it would mainly exist quantitatively, wouldn´t be deduced, and not even the attribute-like dualism of the substances would be (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 47).

Now Bloch criticises Spinoza´s believe in intellect. In Descartes´ works which were polemically criticised by Spinoza, doubt was still present, but in Spinoza´s works doubt has disappeared. Knowledge and law rule Spinoza´s world. This results in a believe that is made up of knowledge that has never existed before and all ambiguity and volition disappeared (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 48). Spinoza unites the mysticism of the inner immersion into the All-one and the calculativity of the developing thought more geometrico (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 48). The individual is of decent, necessarily restricted importance. Bloch says that only sensual perception knows individuality, but as something that is apart from it, whereas adequate cognition only knows the regular sequence of everything due to reasonable grounds (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 48) - Bloch questions cognisable "properties" of the ground. For Spinoza, in cognition as well as the worldly process, with mathematical necessity all things result from the essence of God just like one can deduce the properties of a triangle from its definition.

´The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things".

Bloch stresses several times that Spinoza can only set up his great system because he´s missing the concepts of force and movement and hence falls behind already existing mathematical and scientific results of Galilei and Descartes.

Bloch says that the ideal ordo et connexico in the series of ideas (the sequence of grounds of knowledge) corresponds so perfectly to the ordo et connexio of the series of things (the sequence of real grounds) because both sequences of attributes (the ideal one of the cogitatio and the real one of the extensio) exist and develop themselves purely geometrically (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 48).

Bloch interprets this as impertinence of the cogitatio to the extensio, as a result the extensio would indemnify itself by the primacy of space in all types of development and according to the analogy of substance and geometric space (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 48), where space is an ethical category in calmness (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 49).

This would bring Spinoza close to the old, ancient pleasure in species and statics, but with the novum that the universal connects itself with geometric space and the individual connects itself even if not with the parts, so with the "modifications" of space. And this would result in the fact that the individual is subsumed to quantity. Bloch says that in this system there are neither independent individuals nor their intensities (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 50). Bloch anticipates possible objections to this "de-individualisation":

He says that the "homo liber" which is celebrated in the fifth book of Spinoza´s Ethics doesn´t run counter to that because human freedom would only be freedom as an adequate knowledge of necessity, as "amor fati". The concept of homo liber would have already existed in the Stoa, but even in a narrower sense than there, it would be connected to the universal world order and to patriarchalistic amor fati in Spinoza´s system. Hence it wouldn´t disrupt the unbreakable determination. Also those single things (res particulares) which are not just phantoms of fragmented perception - even the res particulaes of quantitative perception -, would not have such a relative autonomy as the modes of substance have. Bloch continues to say that this was still true for Descartes, and Descartes had many finite substances and the attributes were the most universal species forms of the substances. Spinoza in contrast knows only one single substance and the attributes are categories of scope underneath substance (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 50).

For Spinoza, the relationship of the universal and the individual, of substance and its particularisations as well as of the human being and the unconditioned can´t be determined appropriately by a mode, i.e. by a human being, but only by divine substance which containes all modes (Bartuschat 1993: 919). As a result of this one can find in Spinoza´s works a system of categories that deals with the universal and that has always been rampant in scholastic realism and that there was only circumvented by artificial definitions of the special-being (highest world-being) (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 50). This terminology already shows Bloch´s critical attitude, the latter is confirmed by his further statements ("universalism without aniam mea, without a person" etc.). But nonetheless Bloch appreciates the uniqueness of the Spinozian system, although the latter for him is an anachronistic bright light that comes too late and banks on eternity which doesnít or does not-yet or does never exist in the exhausting richness of being. This seems to be asserted by Spinozaís last sentence in his Ethics:

"And indeed it must be arduous, since it is found so rarely. For how could it happen that, if salvation were ready at hand and could be found without great labour, it is neglected by almost all? But all excellent things are as difficult as they are rare".

What are the consequences of Spinoza´s thinking concerning the relationship of the individual and the universal for human praxis, particularly concerning the desire for a happy life? The way that the relationship of the human beings and God (the substance) is seen by Spinoza, is revolutionary: God is defined in such a way that with the help of this concept the world and the human being can be fully explained. With this the traditional conception of the ëcreatio mundií is eliminated, God´s transcendence is denied and the relationship of God to the world is interpreted by making use of a causality that is not founded on the creative reason of God, but in the latter´s nature which is considered itself as a causality, i.e. as a producing power. From this power results the totality of that which is with full necessity and God isn´t concealed behind this power as a mysterious and inexplorable being, but God fulfils itself in it (Bartuschat 1993: 919). Bloch deals with this relationship in the second course and we will return to it below. What also results from the concept of substance is a new image of man.

Bloch on Spinoza´s concept: The human being as part of the world that results necessarily from the nature of God, is no longer an elected creature within the world, but it is reflexion that makes humans different from all non-human being. Hence, human being is in contrast to all other being not only as a mode of divine substance determined by the latter, but in this status of being a determinate mode, it can understand itself out of God and can now also know that what he has already always been. Only this knowledge can be a foundation of action in such a way that the human being is consistent with itself and doesnít fall for the illusion of a goal that is outside of his reach either within the world or beyond it (Bartuschat 1993: 919).

Spinoza´s "Doctrine of Matter"

In the 26th chapter of the second course in his book on materialism, Bloch analyses Spinozas concept of matter under the heading "Materie, gesehen in Gott; als Ausdehnungsattribut Gottes" ("Matter, seen in God; as an expansion-attribute of God") together with the concept of matter of Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715) who criticised Spinoza in his Meditations chretiennes (1683). Nonetheless Malebranche was already associated with Spinoza by contemporaries such as Antoine Arnauld (1612-1694): Arnauld opposed Malebranche´s position that ideas are part of God, which resulted in the position that God is embodied by the idea of intelligible expansion. Malebranche defended himself against this supposed connection of his ideas to the "detestable views of Spinoza", Bloch ties in with this controversy right at this point and considers Malebranche on the one hand as an attempted spiritual counter-movement against an irresistible pantheistic materialism (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 174f.), but the pathos of "expansion" can be found in his works as well as in those of Spinoza and this has caused Bloch´ s joint explanation of these two philosophical systems.

In Spinoza´s works we find a primacy of the attribute of expansion ñ "corporeality, matter" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 176) - opposed towards the attribute of thinking. Bloch considers the note to the second proposition in the third part of the Ethics entitled "On the Origin and Nature of the Emotions" where Spinoza says "that the mind and the body is one and the same thing which is conceived now under the attribute of thought and now under the attribute of extension". The prevalence of the mode of expansion is for Bloch a result of Spinoza´s decline of free will and the concept of purpose, the latter being a pure mode of thinking for Spinoza. Spinoza´s nature would be dominated by "geometric necessity" and "mechanistic causal nexus": there would be no place for spirits, but also for miracles (due to a prevailing purposive logic of the idea alone) (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 176).
Bloch considers the "prevalence of corporeality before all spirituality" as the only possibility for explaining the "strange mixture" of real ground and ground of knowledge in the works of Spinoza. The prevalence of corporeality is not only true for single things, it is guaranteed by divine substance itself  because the representation of the world more geometrico would be completely unthinkable, if the "expansion" in God itself were not the attribute of all attributes necessary for cognition (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 176). The expanded, corporeal-geometrisised God means such a this-life, inasmuch as he lacks passion it´s a "non-anthropomorphic this-life" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 176). Bloch mentions the doctrine of Plotin that in the sphere of the intelligible only the Platonic basic ideas (being, persisting, movement, identity, otherness) are true and if they are present in the world sphere at least "per analogiam" the sensual categories of the divine sphere would remain extrinsic (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 39). This doctrine would be the source of the ´non-anthropomorphic´ God from Maimonides until Spinoza and even in negative theology.

Humans consider themselves as being in the world with geometrically founded necessity and with the mission to comprehend themselves as a part of the world in order to organise their lives according to this. The essence of this world would be "a comprehended expression of metaphysical space". Substance is no longer considered as "birthing mother" just like in the works of Bruno, at least as "mixed ground", but as a "crystal-God", "plainly in all clarity" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 176).

On this geometric foundation, Spinoza takes up the doctrine of naturna naturans and natura naturata that can already be found in Averro´s:

"In Nature there exists nothing contingent, but all things have been determined by the necessity of the divine nature to exist and operate in a certain way."

In the notes to this proposition, the decisive explanations can be found:

"Before going any further, I wish here to explain, what we should understand by nature viewed as active (natura natarans), and nature viewed as passive (natura naturata). I say to explain, or rather call attention to it, for I think that, from what has been said, it is sufficiently clear, that by nature viewed as active we should understand that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself, or those attributes of substance, which express eternal and infinite essence, in other words ... God, in so far as he is considered as a free cause. By nature viewed as passive I understand all that which follows from the necessity of the nature of God, or of any of the attributes of God, that is, all the modes of the attributes of God, in so far as they are considered as things which are in God, and which without God cannot exist or be conceived".

Spinoza´s natura naturata is for Bloch composed of "mathematical dismissals without purpose", "dismissals"-  Bloch even avoids the term "product" which contains a development process, i.e. an active element. This natura naturata is caused by a natura naturans that is without purpose, non-teleological and pure necessity. Although Bloch objected to Spinoza that the latter doesn´t terminologically stick with the matter-form-relationship of Aristotle and the Aristotelian left and teaches a pantheistic substance-attributes-unity, he closes his Spinoza-chapter in the second course with the remark that having introduced the forming powers that were hypostasised as something divine in the past into matter, is Spinozaís merit and the "truth of Spinozism". This would have resulted in an "non-spiritual substratum" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 8: 214f.) and would have been made possible by Spinozaís overreaching emphasis on the universal at the expense of the individual, movement and force as well as by the elimination of teleological purpose. This would bring him close to the ancient passion in the species and statics (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 50).

Immanence versus Transcending without Transcendence

Without a doubt Spinoza´s and Bloch´s thinking is connected by the striving for finding the first and last cause. Adorno says in 1959 on the occasion of the publication of the extend edition of Bloch´s Spuren (Tracks) that it has always been an interest of Bloch to go beyond the border-line set by Kant´s thing-in-itself.

He mentions that one can see behind every word the will to break through the blockage that since Kant has been set up by the common sense between consciousness and thing-in-itself; the sanctioning of this border-line would be considered as being a part of ideology and an expression of the modesty of bourgeois society in a world that has been battered and has been conversed into things by this society which results in a commodified world that is a world for them. This would have been the theoretical coincidence of Bloch and Benjamin. Bloch would have torn down the boundary-posts due to an inherent desire for freedom and this would have also resulted in the dismissal of the "ontological difference" between essence and pure being that would be so common for philosophy and this country. The being-in-existence itself would by a resumption of the motives of German idealism and Aristotle become a force and potency that strives towards the absolute (Adorno 1990: 240).

Bloch´s philosophising has its beginning as well as its end in the human existence: "I am, but I don´t have myself, hence we still will have to become" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 13: 11). One could assume that Spinoza´s critique of Descartes that philosophy has to start not from the self, but from God, even though it´s concerned with the status of the human being, is also true for Bloch. Bartuschat says that Spinoza´s methodology doesn´t analyse given effects for their causes, but assumes an adequate knowledge about a final cause that results in all effects and progressing from which clear and evident knowledge about single things can be derived. These things are not considered as being caused by pure accident, but they are considered as being essentially determined by a cognised cause (Bartuschat 1993: 920). But Spinoza is paying a price for his curiosity concerning the final cause because all moments that can be comprehended don´t belong to his system of concepts (Bendszeit 1974: 906). Bloch doesn´t remove these unclear moments which are for him a sign of the unfinished character of the world from which the being-in-possibility of the world emerges. This can be considered as the knowledge of the "not-yet" of Bloch´s philosophy which is characterised by differentiated dynamics that donít correspond to Spinozian statics. Both models have anthropological and ethical consequences; at this point Bloch is critical of both Bruno and Spinoza, although the first knows with his monadology a counterbalance to the concept of maximal universe:

He says that in both philosophical systems thereís no place for human affairs in the universe, for both deus sive nature is resting in itself and has a finished character. Old astral mythology and fatalism can be found, in Spinoza´s work in a more than Stoic manner in his concept of amor fati; there is neither room for humanistic nor for dialectical materialism (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 178).

In Bloch´s book on Thomas Münzer there is an even more drastic passage where he says that essentially the fields haunted by Christ, the Unconditioned, which are the spaces of the last ratio, are in a state of dawn, in a still uncertain inner light; everything like a crystal breaks into pieces in view of this and becomes frivolity (Bloch 1977, Vol. 2: 182). The crystal-metaphor is a clear reference to Spinoza, Christ as the Son of man is mentioned, not God. Bloch´s thinking is coined by this inclination for the human being; he doesn´t expect of him Spinoza´s perfection in face of the reality of life that has become historically.

Bloch writes to Adolph Lowe that he´s writing a new chapter for the first book of The Principle of Hope entitled "Tafel der Leidenschaften, gefüllte und Erwartungsaffekte" ("Board of Passion, Filled and Affects of Expectance") and says that he again wants to take up the motive of  "definitio affectum" from Spinoza´s Ethics, but not in a rationalistic manner that ignores nothingness and drives away affects as perturbationes animae instead of illuminating them and doing justice to them by a metaphysical ratio. Besides love the most important affects for Bloch are the affects of expectation (the negative ones: anxiety, fear, fright and the negative decree: despair; the positive ones: hope and the decree that has yet to come: confidence) (Bloch 1985, Vol. 2: 760).

This again shows the ambiguity of Bloch´s relationship to Spinoza. In his Principle of Hope, Bloch has the metaphor of a marble hall for Spinoza´s Ethics, a hall to which Spinoza who was turning so extensively to thinghood (Bloch 1977, Vol. 5: 80) added a definition of affects as a sort of alien element. This insofar as - and here Bloch quotes Dilthey - Spinoza as well as Descartes in their theories of affects provide analyses from the outside along with relationships one can´t find in any inner perception (Bloch 1977, Vol. 5: 80). Existential philosophy is characterised by a proximity to affect, whereas pure object-thinking is characterised by a decline of affects, Bloch says that everything that is in affect cum ira et studio, is as "perturbatio animi" also methodological and an "asylum of ignorance" in Spinoza´s sense (Bloch 1977, Vol. 5: 80).

All together Bloch is considering Spinoza as a pathfinder of German idealism, the latter in misunderstanding Spinozism removing geometry from it and transforming Spinoza´s substance into a cosmic subject-object. Bloch says that the organic renaissance-elements one can find in Bruno as well as Spinoza were taken up, the organic thought of nature was for a last time interpreted in a bourgeois-revolutionary way. The existence of moved matter (earthly spirit, substance) would have been life, not death and in the Spinozism of Goethe and even Schelling there would have still been existence of matter. The fully untranscendental look at the world would have since Bruno and Spinoza heavily influenced and enriched existence and wouldnít have had to impoverish it (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 179).

No kind of materialism today or in the future, also no speculative materialism, can ignore the tradition of the Aristotelian left and its successors, even though the latter considers everything in a pantheistic manner as good and having already appeared: Bloch says the eschatological profoundness runs counter to subjectivism and mechanism without the non-inner conscience of Bruno and Spinoza (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 546).

But considering this one had to progress towards the dialectic of subject and object and "the revolutionary equation: substance = subject" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 7: 179) which was postulated by Hegel. Bloch says that in Hegel´s works from the postulated equation of subject and substance results a whole fulfilment-system of historical mediations in such a way that the totality of the Absolute exists not only in abstract manner or in examples and allegories, but also concretely in a permanently adjusting process of symbolic figures of being-for-itself which are becoming ever more real. No longer abstract thinking would be the place for the genesis of categories such as in mathematics and formal rationalistic systems, but the "method" would be a true one going along the path of history as the organon of concrete philosophy (Bloch 2000: 25)

Subject and Substance Today

This desire of the subject at itself could be spoiled by newer scientific results which put forward the ideas that the human species is not the final and not the only highest creature in the universe, but that a plurality of different forms of existence beyond human existence canít be precluded, that from an evolutionary point of view this in fact seems to be quite a necessity and that hence the human being is only a relatively unimportant, transitory by-product of matter (Zimmermann 2001: 58).

Starting from these scientific result which are presented in the part on philosophy of history of his recently published, illuminating work Subjekt und Existenz. Zur Systematik Blochscher Philosophie (Subject and Existence. On the Systematics of Bloch´s Philosophy), Rainer E. Zimmermann analyses the compatibility of recent scientific insight and Bloch´s philosophy of nature which from a scientific view has proved to be especially capable of dialogue and a productive instance. Zimmermann quotes one line from Bloch´s Tübinger Einleitung in die Philosophie (Tübinger Introduction to Philosophy): "The world is an experiment that this matter performs with itself by means of us" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 8: 281).

As always in the works of Bloch, he also stresses in this passage ("by means of us") the special position of the human being in the worldly process, not in the sense of a solipsistic subjectivism: The human being is the possible obstetrician of the new, the decisive "factor of innovation" in the active development, not just passive unfolding of the worldly with the purpose of an alliance of humans and nature with a prevalence of human purposes.

Zimmermann says that from today´s point of view he´s not fully satisfied with Bloch´s formulation and hence he proposes a "proper" formulation:
"The world is an experiment that substance performs with itself by means of us amongst others" (Zimmermann 2001: 58).

Noticeable is not only the new modesty ("by means of us amongst others") - it is astonishing that Bloch´s "matter" is substituted by Zimmermann´s "substance" in a Spinozian manner. Introducing his "new version" of Bloch´s sentence, Zimmermann writes that matter (according to recent results of the sciences) can´t be substance, which is one aspect of the onto-epistemic mediations of the worldly and its foundation (Zimmermann 2001: 58). Besides the fact that it´s questionable if Bloch had agreed with the view that philosophy should orient itself on the single sciences and that it hence depends on them, a short clarification of the substance-concept as it is used here is necessary.

Let´s start with the "scandal of modern philosophy" (if Bloch would have followed such a modernism remains an open question). Zimmermann says that by orienting itself on a fundamental single science (physics), i.e. by making use of "non-philosophical means", modern philosophy is reaching an elementary, philosophical decision in favour of materialism. And it would have to do so in order not to violate fundamental philosophical theorems such as the theorem of foundation and Okham´s razor (Zimmermann 2001: 152). Simple insights from physics that enforce such a decision are e.g. related to the "cosmological principle" that hold that physics is the same everywhere in the universe. History of the cosmos can be described as a history of increasing complexity. Starting with the Big Bang, during the course of development new structures emerge in the universe which are real innovations. The basic substratum of the universe (space-time-matter) doesn´t at all change during these processes, nothing emerges and nothing disappears. Only the complexity of the produced systems increases permanently. Assuming this, human cognition is nothing else than a late complex system of space-time-matter. "Cognition is a form of matter" (Zimmermann 2001: 151).

Then there is the differentiation between substance and substratum: Substratum is space-time-matter, and the latter is worldly. Bloch agrees with this: he conceives matter by referring to the Aristotelian differentiation of matter as capable of development and there is a strong emphasis on openness ("process-matter") that seems to collide with the cosmological principle which holds that nothing new emerges in the world process, but this is a little bit dampened by the concept of latency:

"matter is the real possibility for all the forms that are latent in its  bosom and are unbound by the process... Real possibility from there on [the Aristotelian "dynamei on", D.Z.] can be understood as substratum" (Bloch 1977, Vol. 5: 271).

Bloch´s starting point for the conception of the process-matter is again the human being and his history. The dialectical-materialistic moments of development such as subjective factor, mature conditions, transformation of quantity into quality, even changeableness (Bloch 1977, Vol. 5: 273) must prove themselves in matter. Based on a "block-matter" they would be without a substratum. Bloch says that the transition from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom only finds its place in incomplete process-matter and that the extremes future-nature, anticipation-matter become united in historical-dialectical materialism (Bloch 1977, Vol. 5: 273).

How does the concept of substance differ from that of substratum within the framework of the ongoing discourse? In fact, this difference can be visualized when thinking of (classical) relativity theory on the one hand, and quantum theory on the other as two aspects of the same underlying unified theory which has not been found yet. This would be a "theory of everything" (TOE) for which quantum gravity is the best candidate at the time. Hence, it is always one and the same (single) world to which we are referring, and we conjecture that it may be described in terms of one and the same (unified) theory. So the available theories are to this future theory what according to the metaphysical tradition the attributes of substance are to substance itself. Contrary to the latter which cannot be described in (scientific-)theoretical terms at all (due to the restriction of human perception) its minimal mapping in terms of a future TOE can be properly explicated. And the substratum is the physical correlate of this TOE. Hence, substratum and TOE together are the unified description of what humans can express as of substance's (only) attribute. The substance however must be conceived on one level below, it is considered in the sense of Nikolaus von Kues as "first origin" which is the "simplest and most perfect indivisibility", this indivisibility being the "cause of everything" (de Cusa 1977: 43).

For Rainer Zimmermann the solution of this problem can be found in the concept of  "pre-geometric" structures: One already searches on the level of intra-physics for an abstract structure from which the universe expressed as space-time-matter can be deduced in such a way that macroscopic and microscopic physics seem to be two different perspectives of the world (Zimmermann 1998: 152).

Of course this renewed, actualised mathematical illustration would remind Bloch of Spinoza - but it remains questionable whether the mathematisation of substance would erase his basic objections. But one can´t deny that Bloch is close to substance-metaphysics, this doesn´t result in a worldly that can be adequately explained mathematically, but in a disparate worldly that can not-yet be observed by itself and the human being. Taking a look at Bloch´s concept of substance makes clear his position.

Reading Bloch´s systematic main work shows just like his other works a thriftily usage of the term "substance". I think that this is due to the problem of integrating substance into an open system which he nonetheless tries to do. Substance as that which is in effect at the foundation and can be experienced by humans is present in latency is substantiality. Its cognisability in the what-being of a content comes into prospect, the whole world process is considered as an experiment thitherto. The already partly realisation of the what-content is considered as a temporary guarantor of this fundamental cognisability and is signified by the term "shining forth" (VorSchein).
In the chapter on the forms of moving out (Auszugsgestalten) in Experimentum Mundi there is a passage on the relationship of matter and substance. All gestalt figures, Bloch stresses, emerge from the dialectical process and from matter as developing, producing substance immanently as well as speculatively (Bloch 1977, Vol. 15: 165) So for Bloch matter is a dialectically developing, producing substance and this substance has an immanent and speculative potential.

How does Bloch define substance? Bloch´s concept of substance is qualitative-processual: He says that the reinforcement of the world question and its content by the human being opens up the transition of the world-things from a stagnant, incrusted thinghood to the fermenting just like to the questioning just like to the overarching, i.e. to the substance. And this would be process-substance which is not a category of transmission, also not a gestalt category because it hasn´t yet reached a brought out form, but rather it is germ and utopian totum of the materia ultima in the laboratory of the world (Bloch 1977, Vol. 15: 246).

For Bloch the important differentiation between substance and substantiality is due to the open system: Substance in contrast to substantiality has as an still outstanding totum no degrees and is in contrast to substantiality not fully at work, it rather stands for fulfilled work and the felicitous identity in the relationship of the That (quod/Dass) and the What (quid/Was), quidditas and quodditas. Substantiality would be its only yet present mode of being. And then the decisive explanation: Substantiality as the mode of being of substance is transformed by the logical principle of identity which hence also formulates the only liable condition of substance in ought-to-be identity (Bloch 1977, Vol. 15: 246).

As postulate substance is also included in the unnegligent principle of hope to which action is bound. Bloch says that seen like this on the process-way related to the political and mainly to totality, there is a close relationship between the principle and the scope-category of periods, the encompassing spheres (especially the ethical) as well as between substance and the gestalt categories as forms of moving out (Auszugsgestalten). Because the principle of a good At-All (überhaupt) would transform the gestalt- and even more the scope-categories into categories of an attempted moving out, into a better collective-being (Gemeinwesen), substance-being (Substanzwesen) (Bloch 1977, Vol. 15: 181).

An "all-one", already produced substance would have to express itself in all "modes"; such a qualitative difference as is conceived by Bloch with the "forms of moving out" ("Auszugsgestalten") wouldn´t be possible. Substance in Bloch´s works is not as foundation of the worldly always absolutely identical with itself in the sense of harmonious as wholeness and unity of existing infinity and eternity and in the sense of strict ideality (Zimmermann 2001: 161). Instead he is speaking of the itself-searching-searched (sich-suchend-gesuchte) category of substance (Bloch 1977, Vol. 15: 68) The That unfortunately remains evident by the theorem of foundation and even in it formal-logically unilluminated. This wouldn´t be the case, if the theorem meant with the words of Jakob Böhme the foundation as non-foundation (Bloch 1977, Vol. 15: 76). With "non-foundation" Böhme was referring to the still non-apparent absolute and conceived it as the non-initial One without a predicate where all development has its origin and about which one can positively only say that it is "Nothingness" which is addicted for Something. The will to Something is an essential necessity of the non-foundation because by it "Nothingness" gains existence (Bendszeit 1974: 906).

Hence there is a large affinity of Bloch for Böhme´s non-foundation as the source of being. He surely could also agree with Zimmermann´s figure of identity "contaminated with difference" in substance itself as the foundation of the worldly. But Bloch´s terminology is less value-free, he calls the contaminated difference the evil that can transform itself as a negative reversion into another principle (Bloch 1977, Vol. 15: 181). There is no evidence in Bloch´s works that he didn´t consider substance already in Spinoza´s writings as absolute identity, but as identity of identity and difference as reclaimed by Zimmermann. At a whole it seems like Bloch in a substance-metaphysics of the "universal" sees the danger that the worldly especially the humans and their affairs are degraded if it is considered as refuse of the One as has been done ever since Platon: Opposed to the being-for-itself (kaq`auta) which exists unrelated and absolutely (apolutwV) and is recognised, is the related-being (proV etera) which is in its being related to the being-for-itself, whereas the latter exist independently from the related-being. Based on this is the fundamental categorical differentiation between S(ubstance) (ousia) and A(ccident) (paqoV, sumbebhkoV) which can only exist as determination of substantial being and insofar as its being is related to substantial being. This graduation of the modes of being has to do with the graduation of being in ideas, mental-mathematical being and evidence in such a way that the eternal intelligible (ideas, mathematicality, souls) at a whole possesses the modes of being of the Substantial, whereas the changeable Evident at a whole has the mode of being of the Related and only wins its share of the ousia by the virtue (arete) as the realisation of the what-being so that it is no actual-what (ti), but only a qualified-by-a-what (poiouton, poion) (Schantz 1974: 497).

Due to the objectively given problems of imagining or conceiving this One or Absolute, for the time being doubts remain concerning the possibility of an all-embracing, depletive explanation as it is provided today by pre-geometry. This of course doesnít want to question the hermeneutic efficiency for certain purposes. Maybe it is also otiose to make such speculations because this doesn´t change the basic motive of Bloch´s thinking, i.e. the consideration of the worldly as intensive-logical process of tension where from a felicitous end (identity as the result of a processual identification) the origin will illuminate itself or - importantly - where the origin will remain unilluminated due to a failing denouement. The world process isnít determined by a "structurally secluded necessity" where inner and outer conditions coincide as is e.g. as Bloch mentions imagined by Spinoza in his definition of the God-nature as the causa sui, but contingency is also at play in the process, without it there would be no "richness of development". Adorno´s assessment in the essay mentioned above emphasises this aspect: Bloch´s thinking would put forward "fulfilment" according to the model of authentic hdonh and not as task or idea. Hence it would be anti-idealistic and materialistic (Adorno 1959: 241).
Bloch writes that reference points for human actions are ethical ideals of the coincidence of foundation and manifestation which can be more or less concretely anticipated and that they exist as structural possibility. This possibility would unclose the horizon of the causa sui or the felicitous identity of existence and essence as the most resolute category of salvation, it would be more or less concretely possible to anticipate reference points for human actions. The ideal point where essence and appearance coincide would always be the absolute guideline for the structural line of the humane-positive possible.

Bloch and Self-Organisation

Bloch´s philosophy of nature, as it is also present in his interpretation of Spinoza, seems to be a well-suited dialog partner for today´s theories of self-organisation. The reference of Bloch to the concept of natura naturans which conceives nature as a self-producing system, corresponds to and even anticipates fundamental ideas that have been developed by the physico-chemist Ilya Prigogine and the physicist Hermann Haken in an interdisciplinary approach. Bloch stresses resolutely the character of the openness of the world process with objective-real possibility-horizons. In addition there is the concept of a "hypothetical subject of nature" that enables a dialectical cognition of the process of nature, but also in my view tries to live up to an ontological monism: the human subject has with the hypothetical subject of nature not only a partner for "parallel actions" in the sense of an available structural resemblance, but also even a co-operation partner for alliance in order to advance human purposes which presumably are also the purposes of nature. This concept even transcends the Hegelian dialectic of chance and necessity and possibly the models of the formation of structure present in the theories of self-organisation because there is a strong teleological element constitutive for Bloch´s Experimentum Mundi.

In all that we find the idea of a production "from within" which starts from an "bottom-up"-organisation not only at the core of Ernst Bloch´s philosophy of nature, but also of his practical, political philosophy. In this sense Burghart Schmidt already wrote in 1982 in his essay "Zum Werk Ernst Blochs" ("On Ernst Bloch´s Works"):

"The determining reasons of history were no longer declared as unalterable laws by Bloch, but understood as open tendencies that can only take their direction of realisation by human beings solidary working at the creation of freedom. Purpose, goal, meaning in this are mediated with the conditional relation of a first and a second nature, so that their determinism and force must not be accepted without dissent. The connection of foundation and goal by work became the main topic of Bloch´s late main work "Experimentum Mundi" which insists that there is also liberating order, a bottom-up-order, self-organisation [emphasis added, D.Z.], and order and truth would indispensable be ordered systemically, but open in the attempt-relationships of their contents leading right through and connecting, adjourning, assembling the disciplines of knowledge, art and praxis".

The dimension of the philosophy of nature in his works, which constitutes Ernst Bloch´s exceptional position in the circle of "Western Marxists", was immediately realised and picked out as a central theme after his death. The first Ernst-Bloch-Days that took place in Tübingen 1978, dealt with "Marxismus und Naturbeherrschung" (Marxism and Domination of Nature). In 1981 the book "Andere Ansichten der Natur" (Other Views on Nature) of the "Arbeitskreises Naturqualität" (Research Group Quality of Nature) was published. Several conferences of the Ernst Bloch Association discussed philosophical topics of nature, e.g. in 1986 "Wissen/Wissenschaft und Hoffnung" (Knowledge/Science and Hope), in 1989 "Natur und Praxis" (Nature and Praxis), in 1991 "Produktive Kräfte und gesellschaftliche Synthesis. Wie gesellschaftliche Bedingungen die Produktivität von Menschen und Natur prägen" (Productive Forces and Social Synthesis. How Social Conditions and Productivity are Coined by Human Beings and Nature ), and in 2000 "Bruno - Schelling - Bloch. Elemente einer Philosophie" (Bruno - Schelling - Bloch. Elements of a Philosophy). Besides the work of Jan Robert Bloch, who as a skilled natural scientist had the question of nature permanently on his agenda, the dialog between Bloch´s philosophy of nature and theories of self-organisation was crucially influenced by the works and projects of Rainer E. Zimmermann, as in the journal "System & Struktur" (System & Structure) and the "Klymene-Project". Hence the INTAS-project stands - amongst others - in the tradition of the Bloch-discourse which hopefully will be a quite productive one.


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