A Spinoza Reader: The Ethics and Other Works

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Princeton University Press, 1994 - Philosophy - 280 pages
9 Reviews

This anthology of the work of Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677) presents the text of Spinoza's masterwork, the Ethics, in what is now the standard translation by Edwin Curley. Also included are selections from other works by Spinoza, chosen by Curley to make the Ethics easier to understand, and a substantial introduction that gives an overview of Spinoza's life and the main themes of his philosophy. Perfect for course use, the Spinoza Reader is a practical tool with which to approach one of the world's greatest but most difficult thinkers, a passionate seeker of the truth who has been viewed by some as an atheist and by others as a religious mystic.

The anthology begins with the opening section of the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, which has always moved readers by its description of the young Spinoza's spiritual quest, his dissatisfaction with the things people ordinarily strive for--wealth, honor, and sensual pleasure--and his hope that the pursuit of knowledge would lead him to discover the true good. The emphasis throughout these selections is on metaphysical, epistemological, and religious issues: the existence and nature of God, his relation to the world, the nature of the human mind and its relation to the body, and the theory of demonstration, axioms, and definitions. For each of these topics, the editor supplements the rigorous discussions in the Ethics with informal treatments from Spinoza's other works.

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Review: A Spinoza Reader: The Ethics and Other Works

User Review  - Jennifer - Goodreads

It does provide and interesting view in to the minds of the creators of our eduction system. Read full review

Review: A Spinoza Reader: The Ethics and Other Works

User Review  - Luis - Goodreads

Think of the most difficult and at the same time worthy thing you have done in your life. This book will not be read or understood by 99.999 percent of the human population; still, it is worth reading ... Read full review

About the author (1994)

Baruch Spinoza was born in Amsterdam, the son of Portuguese Jewish refugees who had fled from the persecution of the Spanish Inquisition. Although reared in the Jewish community, he rebelled against its religious views and practices, and in 1656 was formally excommunicated from the Portuguese-Spanish Synagogue of Amsterdam and was thus effectively cast out of the Jewish world. He joined a group of nonconfessional Christians (although he never became a Christian), the Collegiants, who professed no creeds or practices but shared a spiritual brotherhood. He was also apparently involved with the Quaker mission in Amsterdam. Spinoza eventually settled in The Hague, where he lived quietly, studying philosophy, science, and theology, discussing his ideas with a small circle of independent thinkers, and earning his living as a lens grinder. He corresponded with some of the leading philosophers and scientists of his time and was visited by Leibniz and many others. He is said to have refused offers to teach at Heidelberg or to be court philosopher for the Prince of Conde. During his lifetime he published only two works, The Principles of Descartes' Philosophy (1666) and the Theological Political Tractatus (1670). In the first his own theory began to emerge as the consistent consequence of that of Descartes (see also Vol. 5). In the second, he gave his reasons for rejecting the claims of religious knowledge and elaborated his theory of the independence of the state from all religious factions. After his death (probably caused by consumption resulting from glass dust), his major work, the Ethics, appeared in his Opera Posthuma, and presented the full metaphysical basis of his pantheistic view. Spinoza's influence on the Enlightenment, on the Romantic Age, and on modern secularism has been tremendous.

Benedict de Spinoza (16321677) was born in Amsterdam, where his orthodox Jewish family had fled from persecution in Portugal. Expelled from the synagogue for his heterodox philosophy, he identified God with nature and denied the possibility of an act of creation.
Edwin Curley is professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan and editor and translator of Spinozas Collected Works.
Stuart Hampshire has taught at University College London, Oxford, Princeton, and Stanford.

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