The curious case of the vermiculus. Some remarks on spinoza’s letter 32 and spinoza’s views on imagination and reason
Moving from an example created by Spinoza in letter 32 to Oldenburg (that of a little worm living in the blood in full unawareness of the constrictive tightness of its environment), the paper aims at formulating some more general remarks about Spinoza’s views on imagination and reason. Evidence against the interpretation of the little worm as a metaphorical counterpart of man is drawn from Spinoza’s silence about the vermiculus’s productive imaginative skills. In deficiency of imagination, the little worm’s “reason” (ratio) is by no means similar to human reason – if not for mere homonymy. Thus, rather than a metaphor for human knowledge, the case of the little worm proves to be a representation per absurdum of the consequences arising from a lack of imaginative power.
Keywords: Imagination, productive imagination, letter 32, Spinoza, Oldenburg