Ethics Part V. On the Power of the Understanding, or of Human Freedom.

Library of Alexandria
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Publisher
Library of Alexandria
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Pages
34
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ISBN
9781465502698
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Language
English
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Benedict de Spinoza's writings laid the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and for modern Biblical criticism. By virtue of his magnum opus, the Ethics, Spinoza is considered one of Western philosophy's definitive ethicists. Men would never be superstitious, if they could govern all their circumstances by set rules, or if they were always favoured by fortune: but being frequently driven into straits where rules are useless, and being often kept fluctuating pitiably between hope and fear by the uncertainty of fortune's greedily coveted favours, they are consequently, for the most part, very prone to credulity. The human mind is readily swayed this way or that in times of doubt, especially when hope and fear are struggling for the mastery, though usually it is boastful, over-confident, and vain. After experience had taught me that all the usual surroundings of social life are vain and futile; seeing that none of the objects of my fears contained in themselves anything either good or bad, except in so far as the mind is affected by them, I finally resolved to inquire whether there might be some real good having power to communicate itself, which would affect the mind singly, to the exclusion of all else: whether, in fact, there might be anything of which the discovery and attainment would enable me to enjoy continuous, supreme, and unending happiness. Spinoza was one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy. He helped lay the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. His correspondence helps shed light on his ethical opinions and positions. Required reading for those who wish a deeper understanding of the writings of Benedict de Spinoza.
According to Wikipedia: "Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order (Latin: Ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata), usually known as the Ethics, is a philosophical treatise written by Benedict de Spinoza. It was first published in 1677. The book closely resembles Euclid's Elements. At the beginning of Part 1, Spinoza defines key terms and lists axioms. On the basis of these and other definitions and axioms provided in the remaining four parts of the book, Spinoza offers proofs of hundreds of propositions and corollaries, such as "When the Mind imagines its own lack of power, it is saddened by it", "A free man thinks of nothing less than of death", and "The human Mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the Body, but something of it remains which is eternal." The impersonal style is frequently interrupted by stretches of informal and at times pugnacious prose, criticizing the views of philosophers such as René Descartes... Baruch or Benedict de Spinoza(November 24, 1632 – February 21, 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death. Today, he is considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy, laying the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. By virtue of his magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, in which he opposed Descartes' mind–body dualism, Spinoza is considered to be one of Western philosophy's most important philosophers. Philosopher and historian Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said of all modern philosophers, "You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all." All of Spinoza's works were listed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books) by the Roman Catholic Church. Spinoza lived quietly as a lens grinder, turning down rewards and honors throughout his life, including prestigious teaching positions, and gave his family inheritance to his sister."
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