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Spinoza: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 30 May 2002
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Review from previous edition 'an interesting and provocative guide' (Christian Science Monitor)
'His exposition is beautifully lucid.' (Expository Times)
About the Author
Roger Scruton was Lecturer in Philosophy 1971-79, Reader 1979-85, and Professor of Aesthetics 1985-92 at Birkbeck College, University of London.
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A final example: on p.31 where Roger is describing the influence of Descartes on Spinoza's thinking, Roger writes: "I can see from the proposition 'p and q" it follows that p, and this, too, is self-evident [...] Descartes would say that the relation between 'p and q' and 'p' is something that I perceive clearly and distinctly, or something of which I have a 'clear and distinct idea'. I hope that gives potential purchasers a foretaste of the kind of "clarification" that they would have to wade through.
Biographical details are for the most part limited to the first chapter, leaving the author free to devote the rest of the book to each theme in a more focused way - a wise decision, given the complexity of many of the areas of discussion. This book was first published in 1986 (like many in the series, it's a reprint of a 'Past Masters' title) which maybe goes some way to explaining why it may be 'Very Short' but it doesn't quite feel like an 'introduction'. That's not a major criticism though - this is still an instructive and worthwhile read.
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