The Ethics of Benedict de Spinoza

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009 - Literary Collections - 196 pages
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: i Ethics. V. I understand by mode an ajTection of substance,, or that which is in some other thing, by or through which it is also conceived. VI. I understand by God the Absolutely Infinite Being; that is to say, substance constituted by an infinity of attributes, each of which expresses an eternal and infinite essence. Explanation.?I say absolutely infinite?not infinite in its kind; for that which is only infinite in its kind may be denied infinity of attributes; but to the essence of the absolutely infinite belongs whatsoever expresses essence and involves no negation. VII. A thing is said to be free which exists by the sole necessity of its own nature, and is determined to action by itself alone. A thing is necessary, or rather constrained, which is determined by some other thing to exist and to act in a certain determinate manner. VIII. By eternity I understand existence itself, as it is conceivecTasfollowing necessarily from the very definition of the thing eternal. Expl.?For such existence as is conceived as an eternal verity is the very essence of the thing eternal; and therefore it cannot be explained by duration or time, even though duration may be conceived as having neither beginning nor end. AXIOMS. I. "Whatever is, is in itself or in some other thing. II. A thing which cannot be conceived by another thing must be conceived by itself. III. A determinate cause being given, an effect necessarily follows; and on the contrary, if no determinate cause be given, it is impossible for an effect +o follow. IV. Knowledge of an effect depends upon knowledge of its cause, and involves it. V. Things which have nothing in common with each other cannot be understood the one by the other; or. in other words, the conception of one does not inv...

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About the author (2009)

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.

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