Università degli Studi Roma Tre
Abstract: This article aims at analysing together Spinoza’s third kind of knowledge and Proust’s art conception. Both intuitive science and art outline an existence characterised by full activity. Imagination has a fundamental role: in Spinoza, it links the affections following the order established by the intellect thanks to the adequate ideas it possesses; in Proust, it is imagination itself that, within the arts, presents the impressions to intelligence. Both intuitive science and art lead to the knowledge of essences: in order to deepen the meaning of Spinoza’s sub specie aeternitatis vision, I will analyse the text of Le temps retrouvé that describes the big party at Guermantes Palace. Moreover, intuitive science and art correspond to an actual experience of eternity: in order to highlight some relevant and common traits of the two authors, I will consider the excerpt narrating Bergotte’s death. Since the experience of eternity happens within temporality, this text is substantial as it allows to take into account the meaning of both eternity and caducity. In fact, for Spinoza and Proust, it is exclusively during the indefinite duration of bodily existence that it is possible to be active, exercise one’s eternal essence and thus make experience of one’s eternity.
Keywords: Activity, Art, Essence, Eternity, Third kind of knowledge.