The first volume contains Spinoza’s single most important work, the Ethics, and four earlier works: the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, the Short Treatise on God, Man, and His Well-Being, Descartes’ "Principles of Philosophy," and Metaphysical Thoughts. Also included are Spinoza’s letters from the periods when these works were being written.
The centerpiece of the second volume is Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise, a landmark work in the history of biblical scholarship, the first argument for democracy by a major philosopher, and a forceful defense of freedom of thought and expression. This work is accompanied by Spinoza’s later correspondence, much of which responds to criticism of the Theological-Political Treatise. The volume also includes his last work, the unfinished Political Treatise, which builds on the foundations of the Theological-Political Treatise to offer plans for the organization of nontyrannical monarchies and aristocracies.
The elaborate editorial apparatus—including prefaces, notes, glossary, and indexes—assists the reader in understanding one of the world’s most fascinating, but also most difficult, philosophers. Of particular interest is the glossary-index, which provides extensive commentary on Spinoza’s technical vocabulary.
A milestone of scholarship more than forty-five years in the making, The Collected Works of Spinoza is an essential edition for anyone with a serious interest in Spinoza or the history of philosophy.