Spinoza, Ethics, De Dei, Propositio 15, Scholium:

Ego saltem satis clare meo quidem judicio demonstravi ...

meo judicio is dative or ablative? I cant recognize that it is Ablative of Specification or Dative of Reference.

Secondary question: Likely both saltem and quidem mean at least. How can I translate them?


As for your 1st question, meo judicio is clearly ablative (cf. also meā sententiā). And, yes, you're right: this use is often referred to in Latin grammars as "Ablative of specification".

As for your 2nd question, the particle quidem has recently been analyzed as a marker of emphatic affirmative polarity. This issue seems to be more complex than I expected (e.g., see the interesting comment by cnread below). It also seems to be case that meo quidem iudicio can be put in parallel with meo quidem animo, where quidem also stresses that the uttered state of affairs should not be interpreted as a fact, but as the speaker’s opinion, leaving room for disagreement. For example, I've just seen that meo quidem animo is translated as 'to my mind at any rate'.

I agree with cnread's remark below that "the difference from saltem may be that saltem limits the whole clause, whereas quidem limits meo specifically (as word order also suggests)". I also buy cnread's translation: "At any rate, in my judgment, I have shown clearly enough...". Note that the emphasis on "my" already captures the emphatic affirmative meaning of quidem, whereby it is not necessary to translate it (cf. the stilted transl. "At any rate, at least in my judgment, I have shown...").

  • 2
    In fact, as J. Solodow has demonstrated in his monograph The Latin particle quidem, it too can have the force of 'at least' (what Solodow calls 'Limiting quidem'). In this case, the difference from saltem may be that saltem limits the whole clause, whereas quidem limits meo specifically (as word order also suggests). Or Spinoza may have meant the quidem here to be more generally emphatic, the equivalent of italic font in writing or vocal stress in speaking. (Solodow concedes that the 2 uses overlap.) 'At any rate, in my judgment (even if in no one else's), I have shown clearly enough....'
    – cnread
    Aug 12 '19 at 17:17
  • Thanks for your comment. I didn't know about this classic work by Solodow. I've just seen that it has recently been criticized by Lieven Danckaert (see the link above for his work: "In sum, it seems that Solodow's account is not satisfactory either"). Unfortunately, this topic is outside of my area of expertise, whereby I cannot give a founded opinion on this debate.
    – Mitomino
    Aug 12 '19 at 20:48
  • 1
    It's surprisingly readable. I agree that it is, in some ways, 'unsatisfactory': S. starts by criticizing previous approaches that create discrete categories of uses, but in the end he too resorts to categories. Still, he does enunciate a kind of underlying, unified meaning/function behind the categories, and that's very useful and has worked in every instance where I've applied it. At any rate, S. confirmed many of my own thoughts about quidem, derived over years of reading. Perhaps the criticism of this work after 40+ years means we can expect a new treatise at some point. Fingers crossed.
    – cnread
    Aug 12 '19 at 21:53
  • Ok! Thanks for sharing your positive experience with this book.
    – Mitomino
    Aug 12 '19 at 22:59

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