Ethics by Benedictus De Spinoza (Benedict Spinoza)
(Wordsworth Classics of World Literature)

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Benedict de Spinoza lived a life of blameless simplicity as a lens-grinder in Holland. And yet in his lifetime he was expelled from the Jewish community in Amsterdam as a heretic, and after his death his works were first banned by the Christian authorities as atheistic, then hailed by humanists as the gospel of Pantheism. His Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order shows us the reality behind this enigmatic figure. First published by his friends after his premature death at the age of forty-four, the Ethics uses the methods of Euclid to describe a single entity, properly called both 'God' and 'Nature', of which mind and matter are two manifestations. From this follow, in ways that are strikingly modern, the identity of mind and body, the necessary causation of events and actions, and the illusory nature of free will.

About Benedictus De Spinoza (Benedict Spinoza)

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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.
Published January 15, 1991 by Everyman Paperbacks. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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This shift derives, in part, from Smith's studies of Spinoza's earlier treatises, which highlight Spinoza's democratic intentions.

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