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The Ethics: Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect and Selected Letters Library Binding – 1 Sep 1992

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Product details

  • Library Binding: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co, Inc; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 Sep 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872201317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872201316
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,425,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Professor Shirley has provided a translation which is fluent, eminently readable, and responsive to current research into Spinoza's thought. Where a particular passage is difficult or obscure, Shirley never attempts to interpose himself between the reader and Spinoza, nor to side with one or another competing school of interpretation. This makes his translation not just an ideal introduction for the reader new to Spinoza, but also a trustworthy source of insight for the more advanced reader. --Lee C. Rice, Marquette University

About the Author

Samuel Shirley, (1912-2006), was Classics Exhibitioner of Balliol College, Oxford, and Latin Lecturer at Cardiff University.

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First Sentence
If Socrates' execution was the key event in Plato's life that shaped his subsequent career in philosophy, Spinoza's excommunication from the Jewish community of Amsterdam in 1656 at the age of twenty-four was similarly the critical episode in his life and thought. Read the first page
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marcolorenzo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Jan 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jonathan Bennett, the Spinoza expert says of this edition that, "it improves on all of its predecessors, and is thoroughly usable for low pressure study of the work; but for serious scholarly or philosophical research the version in E.M Curley's "The Collected Works of Spinoza", vol.1 (Princeton U. press, 1985) is indispensable (and I might add very expensive). That edition is however less fluent and pleasing than this one, but is the standard of accuracy - a real mirroring of the Latin in English - to which this edition does not aspire". This edition is not only pleasing and fluent, but is also a very carefully considered translation. There are detailed notes on the translation decisions taken and a very useful glossary of terms. That this edition also includes the "Emendation of the Intellect", Spinoza's treatise on ways of acquiring knowledge and also the essential letters necessary to understand Spinoza's meaning on various issues considered in "The Ethics" are very important additions. The version by Elwes, and the edition by White and Shirley are both highly defective and should not be used. This edition is therefore highly recommended and the one of choice for most general uses.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
A fine translation of the Ethics. 10 Jun 2000
By John S. Ryan - Published on
Format: Library Binding
This volume is a fine translation of Spinoza's _Ethics_ together with some other writings that help to illuminate it -- namely, the _Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect_ and some well-chosen passages from Spinoza's correspondence.
Aside from its presentation of Samuel Shirley's clear and readable translation, this volume includes two additional helpful features. Seymour Feldman's workmanlike twenty-page introduction provides an overview of Spinoza's thought and of the main themes of the _Ethics_; and a translator's preface includes a list of twenty-four possibly confusing features of Spinoza's terminology with short explanations/clarifications. The TIE is of interest in its own right, and the items from Spinoza's correspondence are well selected to illustrate or elaborate some of the features of his more formal wriitngs.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
For Spinoza Fans. 14 Mar 1999
By Joseph B. Yesselman - Published on
Format: Paperback
Invaluable are the Introduction by Seymour Feldman and also, the Translator's Preface by Translator Samuel Shirley which gives lucid explanations of key Spinoza termsone of which is:
From Page 23, Note 5  G-D(Deus)
"Although Spinoza gives repeated warnings that his "Deus" is far from the anthropomorphic conception of God prevalent in the theology of his time, the reader will find it difficult to bear this constantly in mind. It is not until Ethics 1, Prop.14, that God, by definition, is shown to be identical with the infinite, all-inclusive, unique Substance, and thereafter it is all too easy to lose sight of this, as the religious overtones of the word "God" keep asserting themselves. So Spinoza's frequent use of the phrase "Deus sive Natura"God, or Natureis intended as a salutary corrective. For Spinoza God is all Being, all Reality, in all its aspects and in all its infinite richness."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
the standard edition of spinoza 16 Jun 2014
By drollere - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the spinoza translations by samuel shirley are considered the best, if not standard, english versions of his works, and while a hardback edition is available which comprises everything that survives of what spinoza wrote, this paperback selected edition is perhaps superior and is certainly the most convenient. spinoza's major work (the "ethics") is included entire, as is the most important surviving fragment (the "emendation of the intellect"), with a judicious selection of the letters exchanged between spinoza and the few friends asking for clarification of his philosophical ideas.

a considerable added attraction is the translator's preface, which is an extremely helpful dictionary of spinoza's key concepts, and the introduction by editor seymour feldman, which is a synopsis of a seminar on spinoza's philosophy. almost by itself worth the price of the book is the single paragraph explicating the difference between "natura naturans" and "natura naturata", spinoza's terms for the dual attributes of "substance" (which spinoza radically reinterpreted as the lawful and physical "god in nature") and the lawfulness and interpretability of what we would today informally call "reality".

my single complaint is that the book i received is printed on high quality newsprint paper, which makes the volume less durable to time and treatment and to the reader's highlighting or marginal notes. if that might be an issue, get the hardback complete works.
Five Stars 25 Aug 2014
By Howard F. Mandel - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The best and most important book I have ever read.
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