Spinoza (S'Rie: "Les Grands Philosophes") Mass Market Paperback – 2 Oct 2000
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Review from previous edition 'an interesting and provocative guide' (Christian Science Monitor)
'His exposition is beautifully lucid.' (Expository Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Professor Roger Scruton is visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall Oxford and visiting Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. His other books include "Sexual Desire", "The West and the Rest", "England: An Elegy", "News from Somewhere", "Gentle Regrets" and "I Drink Therefore I Am" (all published by Continuum).
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I have yet to read Spinoza first-hand as I have been warned that it is an onerous task. I am however familiar with the work of Roger Scruton, and this guide will undoubtedly help the virgin reader familiarise himself with the challenging concepts that Spinoza wrestled with, before directly venturing into his work, as Scruton is without doubt a first-rate writer and philosopher.
The book takes in some of the very biggest themes in philosophy in a mere fifty-four pages, including free will, the existence of God and epistemological logic, so naturally there is a limitation in detail, if not scope. However, do not let the brevity of the book put you off: there is plenty of food for thought for lay readers and philosophers alike, and Scruton's writing is up to his usual lucid standard.
My overwhelming impression upon completing this work is that Spinoza is someone whom the modern reader can, surprisingly, sit with somewhat comfortably. Indeed his pantheism, if you accept that's what his work amounts to, strikes me as being finely in tune with spiritually hungry westerners, who yearn for the beautiful, the spiritual and the sacred, but who nevertheless find it difficult to sign up to the arcane and dogmatic teachings of organised religion (and who equally struggle with the cold and austere implications of modern science).
It is not clear if Scruton accepts that Spinoza's work amounts to out and out pantheism, but it is clear that he believes him to be a tonic for the modern age. A thoroughly critical appraisal of Spinoza is of course far beyond the reach of an introductory book review, particularly if, like me, you are not directly acquainted with is work.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I great introduction to the "ideas" behind Spinoza. Much easier than reading "the Ethics".Published 4 months ago by NickP
Clear account of the most relevant philosopher today - both spiritual and scientific - panentheism? Sikhism developed with similar thoughts at a similar timePublished 14 months ago by Ranvir Singh
Roger Scruton provides a well written introduction to Spinoza's Ethics. For many, this guide will suffice.Published 15 months ago by pgo