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Spinoza (S'Rie: "Les Grands Philosophes") Mass Market Paperback – 2 Oct 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Contemporary French Fiction (2 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English, French
  • ISBN-10: 2020374676
  • ISBN-13: 978-2020374675
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.8 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,968,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
A very short introduction to this great 17th century rationalist philosopher was always going to be a tall order. In the preface, author and philosopher Roger Scruton acknowledges as much when he admits he has been unable to make Spinoza's theory of substance fully accessible, and that chapter 3 will need to be read twice if it is to be understood. As a beginner, I have to say I struggled through parts, but overall found it to be a fairly absorbing and well-structured analysis of Spinoza's key ideas.

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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I first came across Spinoza after reading a century of wisdom, and what a true find. Scruton is my new god of explaining the complex man, a fascinating book that again will make you think think think. Read it slowly and totally relish it
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This is a very clearly written book for someone new to the subject. I was pleasantly surprised given that my previous experience with Scruton was a book on wine that left me scratching my head wondering what he was on about... This one on Spinoza hits the target for me. The newcomer to the subject may still find some aspects abstract and difficult, but in my opinion the explanation is lucid. I particularly liked the summary at the end where Spinoza's take on things is related to our modern world view. I personally found it enlightening and helpful.
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Reading Spinoza alone is quite difficult to decipher, but this introduction really helped me understand what he was saying, and why he was saying it. Ideas such as free will and determinism were clearly explained, which helped me a lot. It would have been good if the book included some details about Hermeticism, which I think would have been one of Spinoza's influences. It was very entertaining to read about Spinoza's life story, which is given in the first part of the book. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to get to grips with his ideas.
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By A Customer on 30 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a useful short book for philosophy students or those interested in Spinoza'a philosophy. Although the book lacks Scruton's own criticism of Spinoza's Ethics, he presents the concepts in a fresh and lively way.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I thoroughly enjoyed Roger Scruton's stimulating introduction to the thought of Benedict de Spinoza.

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.
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Hard read.
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My favourite philosopher and favourite philosophy writer. Spinoza's complex thoughts are so simply explained it makes you wonder why you never thought of them yourself.
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