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Ethics [Paperback]

Benedict de Spinoza , R. H.M. Elwes
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 Feb 2013
Ethics By Benedict de Spinoza, R. H.M. Elwes (Translated by)

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Ethics + Critique of Pure Reason (Penguin Modern Classics) + Beyond Good and Evil (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Brown (21 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613824262
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613824269
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 17.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,005,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers ... ethically he is supreme. (Bertrand Russell)" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Benedict de Spinoza was born in Amsterdam in 1632, where his orthodox Jewish family had fled from persecution in Portugal. Spinoza was expelled from the synagogue for his heterodox philosophy, and earned his living as an optical-lens grinder. He identified God with nature and denied the possibility of an act of creation. Ethics was published in 1677 after his death and explored a doctrine which inspired the Romantic poets.

Edwin Curley is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan and editor and translator of Spinoza's Collected Works.

Stuart Hampshire was elected a Fellow of All Souls in 1936 and was a tutor in philosophy. He has held numerous presitigious academic posts.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed brilliance 17 Dec 2007
It seems almost impertinent of me to review Spinoza's masterpiece. I would give it ten stars if I could.

In this age of theological chop-logic and political spin, Spinoza's Euclidean method of arguing for God-or-Nature as the self-causing, single, infinite substance conceived under infinite attributes (or aspects) of which we humans have knowledge only of two (thought and matter), soars far above the heads of most contemporary academics and bewilders first year philosophy students, who are routinely advised to leave Spinoza well alone and settle down with Descartes instead. What a great deal they miss!

The book is in five parts: 1. Of God; 2. Of the Nature and Origin of the Mind; 3. Of the Origin and Nature of the Affects; 4.Of Human Bondage, or the Power of the Affects; 5. Of the Power of the Intellect, or On Human Freedom.

It is not easy reading, but studying it with an open mind will pay huge dividends.

Spinoza takes us step by logical step, from basic axioms via propositions, demonstrations and explanations, to a world view which inspired Einstein to formulate his theories of relativity, which started the romanticist movement, and which provided the foundations for modern existentialism.

Spinoza was excommunicated by the Catholic Church, booted out by the Quakers and expelled from the synagogue; he was cursed, reviled, and anathematized. Matthew Arnold begins his essay 'Spinoza and the Bible' with the full force of the rabbinic vehemence, "By the sentence of the angels, by the decree of the saints, we anathematize, cut off, curse, and execrate Baruch Spinoza...cursed be he by day, and cursed by night...the Lord pardon him never, the wrath and fury of the Lord burn upon this man.... The Lord blot out his name under heaven....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why waste time reading this? Hit 'buy now'! 3 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Penguin edition is good, as Penguin editions generally are.

As for the text itself; yes, it is, as one reviewer has pointed out, rather hard going. It is, however, well worth persevering with the text, particularly if you are fond of arguing, debates, exploring logic etc.

Whatever you may think of Spinoza's conclusions, Ethics is certainly a better read than any modern nonsense which the general buying public praise as 'profound.'
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic 19 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I needed as a help and reference to research and writing several papers. Penguin Classics is for sure an excellent collection.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Premier thinker 13 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Some gems of deductive thinking, and well worth the read as we travel through God, why we are here, the capabilities of the human mind etc. The first chapter is excellent but as it goes on you fell this is ground already covered and the points made are hidden among pages of not-very-interesting stuff. Still recommended for the serious or serial arguer.
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2 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One for the fact fans 26 May 2011
By Darran
I haven't read this yet though I mean to one day. I just thought people might be curious to know that apparently this is one of Tracey Emin's favourite books. She selected a range of books to sell at Louis Vuitton on Bond Street and her retrospective at the Hayward and this book was one of her choices.
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