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Ethics (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 27 Jun 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (27 Jun 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140435719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140435719
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.3 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

The noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers ... ethically he is supreme. (Bertrand Russell)"

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.


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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Charles Gidley Wheeler on 17 Dec 2007
Format: Paperback
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 By UnzeitgemässeBetrachtungen on 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 1 people found the following review helpful By BW Begley on 3 Nov 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The standard English translation to date. But quite a slimmed down edition: not many footnotes.
See Curley's "Collected Works of Spinoza", which is more expensive, but the footnotes are very useful.
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