Spinoza: The Way to Wisdom
Purdue University Press, 1996 - Philosophy - 291 pages
The philosophy of Baruch Spinoza (1632-77) is an unusual,highly original, and influential reaction to the transition of Western cultureto the modern age. According to Spinoza, modern scientific thinking, if thoughtthrough, leads to a denial of humanity as the center of creation, willed by apersonal God. It is Spinoza who first formulated a philosophy which shows thatmodern scientific thinking, and the modern metaphysical view of humanity andthe world that it gives rise to, does not have to lead to despair. He understoodthat engaging seriously in detached philosophical thinking could lead to anunexpected form of intellectual salvation.
De Dijn's comprehensive introduction to Spinoza's philosophyis based on two key texts. He first provides an in-depth analysis of Spinoza's Treatise on the Improvement of theUnderstanding, which De Dijn characterizes as his introduction tophilosophy. This notoriously difficult text is here made accessible, even inits details. This analysis is followed by a comprehensive survey of Spinoza'smetaphysics as presented in his famous Ethics. De Dijn demonstrates howSpinoza's central philosophical project as introduced in the Treatise - thelinkage of knowledge and salvation - is perfectly realized in the Ethics. In thisway the unity of Spinoza's thought is shown to consist in his preoccupationwith the ethical question of salvation. The book also containsintroductory chapters on Spinoza's life and work, the original Latin text ofthe Treatise and its new English translation by Edwin Curley, and an annotatedbibliography on the secondary literature.
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