- Paperback: 366 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press, U.S.A.; New Ed edition (10 Aug. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198752148
- ISBN-13: 978-0198752141
- Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 1.8 x 15.5 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 468,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Ethics (Oxford Philosophical Texts) Paperback – 10 Aug 2000
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'Thanks to sound methodology and fidelity to the orignal text, this will be an invaluable asset to the scholar.' Bulletin Spinoziste
About the Author
G.H.R. Parkinson was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading and is a widely known and well respected Spinoza scholar.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
- Introduction. Excellent detailed introduction to Spinoza's thought and the context within which he wrote - helpful in situating the reader.
- Glossary. A nice concise glossary, defining salient aspects of Spinoza's terminology - essential in first approaching this piece,
- Layout. Good font, size large margins,
- Summary. A concise overview of the Ethics (12 pgs), its key ideas and its trajectory,
- Translation. Although the quality has been criticized by a previous reviewer, I found it to be comparatively good and readable (That said, I have not attempted a translation from the original Latin or Dutch manuscripts). As noted, however, there is one glaring mistake early on (Part 1, Def 2), "...finite in its own kind which cannot be limited...' - should read `can' rather than `cannot'. While this error needs correction in future editions, it strikes as a typo, and is not indicative of the text's overall quality.
Overall, I highly recommend this version of the Ethics for students/readers seeking an accessible introduction to Spinoza. I look forward to using other installments of this Oxford series. On a related note, for readers new to Spinoza, Howard Ruttenburgs' Introduction to Modern Philosophy (Phil 213) audio lectures may also be helpful. The audio lectures are available on-line at no charge. Ruttenburg is a philosophy professor at City University of New York.
The 'Ethics' is a difficult work. And it is a work which aims to be rigorous in its logic, a geometry of the moral life. It reasons to an identification of the Infinite with Nature- but that Infinite and this is the heretic Spinoza is not a personal
G-d. Spinoza teaches that the human being should master emotion by mind and by seeing all from the ' eye of Eternity ' look upon the life and world with a divine calm. Perhaps it was easier the unmarried , childless Spinoza to attain such calm than it is for most ordinary family people.
The Ethics again is a difficult work and one I do not pretend to understand. Reading it one comes across unforgettable sentences solidly constructed and part of the whole edifice Spinoza has built. Those interested and capable of it will find the whole world of ' substance ' and 'modes' and ' attributes ' connecting with each other in one ethical metaphysical picture of ultimate reality. I do not understand the picture nor do I think any longer ' language of that kind' can really give us ' the whole world structure and meaning'.
I am saying in a way that this work is very rich and very great, and no doubt more so for those unlike myself who might understand it in a fundamental way.
Page 260 Endnote 1:
"Spinoza's definitions are of the kind now commonly called 'stipulative'; that is, they tell the reader how Spinoza proposes to use certain words. Spinoza is not concerned (as a Dictionary is concerned) to describe the standard uses of words. His Purpose, as he observes in the Ethics (E3:Def.XX.Expl.) is to explain, not the meaning of words, but the nature of things. One may compare what is done by scientists, when they introduce new technical terms, or give old words a new sense, with a view to explaining what it is that interests them."