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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed brilliance, 17 Dec 2007
By 
Charles Gidley Wheeler (Kempsford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ethics (Penguin Classics) (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.... There shall no man speak to him, no man write to him, no man show him any kindness, no man stay under the same roof with him."

This cheap penguin edition is nicely produced with an attractive cover, though it's a pity the proof reader didn't spot that Spinoza's name is spelt `Spinza' on the copyright page.

Stuart Hampshire's introduction is very helpful, and Edwin Curley's translation is superb.
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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
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This review is from: Ethics (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars but the footnotes are very useful., 3 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Ethics (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 19 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Ethics (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
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
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This review is from: Ethics (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
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 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One for the fact fans, 26 May 2011
This review is from: Ethics (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
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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Ethics (Penguin Classics)
Ethics (Penguin Classics) by Benedict Spinoza (Paperback - 27 Jun 1996)
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