Ethica PDF Ú Kindle Edition

Ethica PDF Ú Kindle Edition

Ethica ❰EPUB❯ ✺ Ethica Author Baruch Spinoza – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk Ethics Ethica is an ambitious work and multifaceted Ambitious in its subject matter as critical Spinoza all traditional philosophical conceptions of God, of man and the universe Ambitious also by Spin Ethics Ethica is an ambitious work and multifaceted Ambitious in its subject matter as critical Spinoza all traditional philosophical conceptions of God, of man and the universe Ambitious also by Spinoza because his method is to demonstrate the truth about God, about nature, man, religion and the good life Indeed, Spinoza proceeds by definitions, axioms, corollaries and scholia, ie mathematicallyWhile Spinoza s Ethics covers theology, anthropology or ontology and metaphysics, he chose the term ethics because he posits that happiness comes from a liberation from superstition and passions In other words, ontology is seen as a way to demystify the world and enable man to live according to reasonEthics is indeed the best summary of Spinoza s philosophy From.


10 thoughts on “Ethica

  1. Esteban del Mal Esteban del Mal says:

    If rationality is defined as the capacity to solve problems, anticipate consequences and understand causes of events, one would be hard pressed to find itscomplete realization than in the philosophy of Benedict Spinoza Indeed, in his masterwork, Ethics, Spinoza set out to prove certain theorems which are to be deduced from axioms in the manner of Euclidean geometry Whether or not he was successful in this endeavor has been a matter for over three intervening centuries of scholarship and If rationality is defined as the capacity to solve problems, anticipate consequences and understand causes of events, one would be hard pressed to find itscomplete realization than in the philosophy of Benedict Spinoza Indeed, in his masterwork, Ethics, Spinoza set out to prove certain theorems which are to be deduced from axioms in the manner of Euclidean geometry Whether or not he was successful in this endeavor has been a matter for over three intervening centuries of scholarship and debate Yet Spinoza anticipated his detractors, if not through his philosophy, then by answering them explicitly, I do not presume to have discovered the best philosophy, but I know that I understand the true one The book is divided into five parts, each part building upon the previous Three essential aspects of his particular stripe of rational thought are first, his confidence in the ability of reason to supply us with dependable knowledge epistemology secondly, his conviction that the universe itself is governed by rational law metaphysics and lastly, his certainty that reason is the one acceptable guide to living ethics All that Spinoza asks is that we first take one small leap of ironically enough faith and submit to the notion that everything happens for a reason, what philosophers call the principle of sufficient reason and theists call God, but we ll come back to that In essence, only belief in the intelligibility of the world, ourselves included, will provide the motivation necessary for pushing through our own limitations.While the Ethics progresses in a linear manner, it is helpful to first thoroughly acquaint oneself with Spinoza s epistemology, by which he establishes his various axioms He proposes that knowledge is derived in three separate, yet progressively linked, ways knowledge acquired from sense perception is of the lowest level, and while of some value, is neither completely authentic nor consistent Knowledge at the next level is found in the rational, as scientific principles These ideas Spinoza refers to as adequate ideas, considered as such because they are logically related and one can have complete certainty about them in the same way one has complete certainty in the mathematical logic of, say, six is to three as four is to two Knowledge at the third and highest level Spinoza terms scientific intuition Knowledge at this stage is wholly contingent upon mastery of the previous stage of knowledge, the rational, which it then enables one to transcend This is the insight that enables one to see possibilities that are beyond the current realm of scientific knowledge One who possesses such intuitive knowledge understands that everything is necessary to the whole of the eternal order of things, and as such, the universe is rendered as a single absolute system that is governed by rational law.It is from such an unequivocal position that Spinoza promotes the tenets of the Ethics His epistemology is inextricably tied to his metaphysics and takes up the first three parts of the treatise, wherein he argues that the Universe is cause of itself And it is in the working out of this element of his philosophy that the most distinctive, and perhaps most remarkable, claims of Spinozism are made Living at the early dawn of the Enlightenment, Spinoza felt the need to interpret the nature of God in language sufficient to do justice to the new universe that science was explaining The problem Spinoza perceived is not to prove the existence of God, but to find what God is really like His first step was to define the existence of God in such a way as to make it incontrovertible This concept is regarded as substance monism by contemporary philosophers, in that there is only one root thing from which all other things stem And it is this root thing which Spinoza alternately calls substance, or God He maintains that a there is a substance that has every attribute b there cannot be two substances that have an attribute in common c there cannot be a substance that has no attributes, and consequently d there cannot be two substances As a result, this uniquely self determining substance, God, cannot be produced by anything other than itself As such, God is immanent in the rational order of the universe the rational order which is expressed through the natural world and in human thought If something exists other than God, it is either within and dependent upon God, in which case it is merely a finite expression of God, what Spinoza calls a mode or it is without God, in which case something exists which is not God, whereby God is limited, and therefore itself finite, which is impossible because God has been demonstrated to be infinite A necessary consequence of this claim is that the only entity exhibiting anything resembling free will in the universe is God, because everything else is necessarily dependent upon it, or, as Spinoza himself puts it, God is, and acts solely by the necessity of His own nature He is the free cause of all things As a result, everything is determined by the ultimate substance, including human behavior Or, as Spinoza would have it, men believe themselves to be free, simply because they are conscious of their actions, and unconscious of the causes whereby those actions are determined Great stuff, that While it may induce existential panic in most of my literary minded, free will sympathetic friends, I find it liberating.The determinism of Spinoza, a consequence of his claim of holism, leads into his next claim in the Ethics, that the mind and body are really the same thing conceived under the Cartesian attributes of Thought and Extension Because both Thought and Extension must be regarded as two aspects of a single reality, but cannot be demonstrated to be two distinct substances under Spinoza s rational universe, they must be two attributes of the single substance, or what I previously identified as God It therefore follows that God, the natural universe as a whole, can be conceived as simultaneously a system of extended or material things and a system of thinking or immaterial things As such, mind and body, expressions of the attributes of Thought and Extension, are nothingthan different sides of the same coin Even so, Spinoza differs with strict materialism, in that the identity of the mind doesn t reduce either mind to body or body to mind Spinoza sees the scientific knowledge of the body through reason advancing from, rather than opposed to, awareness of the body through sense and imagination His rationalism is a consequence of empiricism, not in competition with it.What is meant, then, by Spinoza s controversial statement that the mind is the idea of the body is understood as it is related to his epistemological system knowledge born of sensory experience is of a lower order than knowledge of a rational kind Still, rational knowledge is not possible without prior empirical experience as a result, the mind, as the rational, is a necessary and ascendant consequence of the body, as the empirical As such, as one ascends the levels of knowledge and one s ideas of the modifications of one s body becomelogically consistent, one can be said tofully understand the causes of these modifications Knowledge based solely on empiricism is then, strictly speaking, reactive, whereas knowledge based upon rationalism is proactive Spinoza uses the example of the sun, which one s senses tells one is a disc some few hundred feet from the earth This idea is not false if considered at merely the sensory level of knowledge, but is inadequate at the next level of knowledge, in as much as it is demonstrated that the sun is a gigantic star millions of miles away.The reason Spinoza addresses epistemological and metaphysical questions in the first place is because he feels that they are a necessary foundation for ethical questions We must first know our potentialities and our relation to Nature, otherwise our ideas about moral philosophy will simply be projections of our imaginations Spinoza understands that the rational laws of science, being comprehensive, are just as applicable to human life as they are to the physical universe Ethical behavior becomes a matter of applied psychology The virtuous man is not one who lives in accord with moral commandments imposed upon him by some external, vengeful authority, but the man who acts in accordance with his nature A nature which has been laid bare to him.Having demonstrated that a person s life is determined by forces both external and seemingly unmanageable to it, Spinoza endeavors to show in the final parts of his treatise that freedom from the bondage of determinism is really a matter of degree And it is by exercising freedom, as he defines it, that one acts in an ethical manner By acknowledging that one s life is determined, one becomes free, in that one is aware of the chain of causation that governs one s actions By achieving adequate knowledge one understands the eternal yet, one simultaneously comes to understand that one s own nature is distinguished from the whole of things because one recognizes one s separate existence is locked in this time bound conception of ours that promises only incomplete knowledge One is able to transcend this limited knowledge by replacing one s confused notions with the aforementioned adequate ideas.An example of a confused idea addressed by Spinoza is emotion Our emotions, he contends, are a result of ignorance We feel strongly because we understand dimly One s emotional reaction to another person is a result of not understanding what makes that person act as he or she does In experiencing the passions, one is reacting to external causes and one s conscious life is proceeding at the level of sense perception, not at the level of the rational If knowledge of this kind is insufficient, so muchso is a life that is based on it The free man is conscious of his compulsions and seeks to understand them This is the only freedom one can truly aspire to not escape from the necessity of one s reality, but to understand both it and oneself as a part of it.When one comes to this understanding, good and evil are seen as one s reaction to circumstance, not as the eternal nature of things Indeed, the concept of good and evil is relative and has nothing to do with that eternal nature Spinoza writes, So every man, according to his emotions, judges a thing to be good or bad, useful or useless The solution to such a dilemma is to understand one s relation to the eternal order of things and in so doing one is liberated from the perpetual anxiety of striving against it Things are neither good nor evil in and of themselves, they are just necessary to the universe as a whole Coming to this awareness is no simple task, but if one extrapolates rationalism in the manner prescribed by Spinoza, it is a necessary outgrowth It is only in comprehending the universe that man can rise above it, for as the philosopher reminds us, The intellectual love of God, which arises from the intuitive kind of knowledge, is eternal


  2. Ted Ted says:

    3 1 2 stars Spinoza s classic is contained in a book I have called The Rationalists Also included are Descartes Discourse on Method and Meditations and Leibniz s Monadology and Discourse on Metaphysics.Historical context view spoiler These thinkers are called Rationalists because to varying degrees they believed that the important facts about the world could be deduced or worked out by correct thinking, without relying much on evidence derived from the senses They form the core phalanx of 3 1 2 stars Spinoza s classic is contained in a book I have called The Rationalists Also included are Descartes Discourse on Method and Meditations and Leibniz s Monadology and Discourse on Metaphysics.Historical context view spoiler These thinkers are called Rationalists because to varying degrees they believed that the important facts about the world could be deduced or worked out by correct thinking, without relying much on evidence derived from the senses They form the core phalanx of modern rationalism, along with Kant.Descartes was the earliest of these men 1596 1650 His Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One s Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences containing the famous phrase I think therefore I am was published in 1637, his Meditations in 1641 The Discourse on Method is usually regarded as one of the earliest treatises laying the foundation for the scientific method, hence is an important document in the history of science Yes, there is a seeming contradiction between Rationalism and the scientific method which developed as time went on, which I can t explore in this review Suffice it to say that Descartes thought was wide ranging enough for him to be regarded as a seminal figure in both of these epistemological paths Leibniz 1646 1716 , born two generations later and contemporaneous with Isaac Newton 1642 1727 , is usually credited with independently inventing what we now call the calculus, along with Newton which assures his place in the history of mathematics However, apart from mathematics the so called Queen of the Sciences Leibniz played no further role in the history of science view spoiler According to Wiki , in the high Middle ages, theology was called the Queen of the Sciences I think the less said about that the better hide spoiler But Spinoza 1632 1677 is the odd man out here He plays no part in the history of either modern science or of mathematics He is a pure rationalist par excellence, as far as his epistemological and moral thinking is concerned hide spoiler Spinoza s Ethics what it is, what it isn t view spoiler The Ethics was published posthumously in Latin the same year that Spinoza died, 1677.First, what it isn t This treatise is not an essay on ethical theory, or Spinoza s views on right and wrong actions, or any of the things you may think of if you think of a modern text dealing with ethics or morality.Yes, there is a bit of that in here, but it must be dug out with pick and shovel It s backbreaking work, best left to an expert, in my opinion What it is It is in form not much different from Euclid s Elements There are five parts to the treatise Each part begins with Definitions and Axioms statements assumed to be self evidently true, requiring no proof Then follows a long sequence of Propositions, each of these followed with a Proof, and sometimes paragraphs with headings such as Corollary, Lemma, Note or Explanation.So what Spinoza is up to in the Ethics is a rather grand attempt to construct a geometry a la Euclid which will demonstrate deductively truths about God s nature, man s nature, the nature of the human mind, human psychology, and human emotions the way we are and are not in control of our desires, in what sense God and human beings are free agents and what it means to act in a way in which human freedom can be achieved This latter is what I would think comes closest to showing us what ethically right action is for humans.Thus, if you are interested in an overview of Spinoza s ethical views and system, first realize you will not get that from reading this work at least not without an enormous amount of effort.I would suggest instead perhaps starting with whatever can be found in Wiki including references to recent books and articles and Google, and then proceeding to consult an older academic book on Spinoza and his ethical views if needed The Encyclopedia of Philosophy article Ethics, History of suggests these, which are in the GoodReads data base.S Hampshire, Spinoza Harmondsworth, England, 1951 Chs 4 5 Broad, C.D Five Types of Ethical Theory London, 1930 Ch 2 hide spoiler An example of Spinoza s demonstrations view spoiler Some of Spinoza s first Definitions areI By that which is self caused, I mean that of which the essence involves existence, or that of which the nature is only conceivable as existent.II III By substance, I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.IV V By mode, I mean the modifications of substance, or that which exists in, and is conceived through, something other than itself.VI By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality The first Axiom Everything which exists, exists either in itself or in something else And the first Proposition Proof PROP I Substance is by nature prior to its modifications.Proof This is clear from Def iii And v hide spoiler I quickly found some comfort in the following method of reading this I skipped all the text under the heading Proof If Spinoza made a mistake in his proofs that I would be capable of seeing, I didn t want to know about it More to the point, I didn t care whether his logic was correct, although I assume it is, given his Definitions and Axioms No, the fact that Spinoza believed he was deducing statements about human beings and their emotions, God, the mind, etc., that had the same irrefutable truth value as mathematics, I found only curious I don t buy it.Here, a summary of the five parts of Spinoza s Ethics.Part I Concerning God view spoiler Well, naturally this part has a lot of propositions which touch on the nature of God Spinoza proves a number of unexpected things here For example, the Corollary to Prop XXV Part I states that Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner This, and several other Propositions, led me to think that Spinoza is advancing a position that is very close to pantheism And indeed, Spinoza has been described as a pantheist, or linked to pantheism to some extent or other, by several commentators Other proofs show that God does not act according to freedom of the will Corollary to Prop XXXII that the ways things are in nature is the only possible way they could have ever been brought into being by God Prop XXXIII and that the idea that nature has been designed with goals or ends in mind teleology is false Appendix to Part I.Spinoza s religious background and views view spoiler Spinoza was brought up in an orthodox Sephardic Jewish family in Amsterdam s Portuguese Jewish community In his early twenties he began to have distinctly unorthodox religious views, particularly about the authorship of the Old Testament, and was eventually branded a heretic Views such as those mentioned above have led some to declare that Spinoza was an atheist See hide spoiler hide spoiler Part II Of the Nature and Origin of the Mind view spoiler This section of the treatise explores the ramifications of the first section when applied to the subject of the human mind and body Frankly I didn t find it very interesting, aside from a couple sections Prop XLVIII seems to be a pretty clear denial of human free will In the mind there is no absolute or free will but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by another cause, and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.Another proposition XLIII states He who has a true idea, simultaneously knows that he has a true idea, and cannot doubt of the truth of the thing perceived. Now if this is true, I guess I ve never had a true idea, since I can t remember ever being absolutely certain that any idea I ve had is true Except for mathematical things I think this proposition illustrates the spurious conclusions that a man of supreme intellect can be led to when his assumptions are fouled up hide spoiler Part III On the Origin and Nature of the Emotions To me, Part III is the real highlight of the Ethics The section is an extremely interesting deductive derivation of human psychology At least that s what I perceived it as The Propositions stated seem mostly correct, perceptive, and illuminating view spoiler My guess is that Spinoza cooked the books a bit here perhaps unconsciously , was probably a very keen observer of human nature, knew what he hadto show, and so arranged the proofs, definitions, axioms, etc so as to show what he already believed to be true I don t think he was led to these insights just by thinking about God, substance, body, mind, etc view spoiler But I could be wrong hide spoiler I originally hoped to present a useful overview of this chapter It turned out to be a task beyond me, at least without spending an inordinate amount of time It seemed that no matter where I started, endless trails led back through prior definitions, Propositions, etc So many terms and words which are familiar to us in everyday discourse have specific, non traditional meanings for Spinoza He does define everything, but it is a big job to summarize things in an informative manner I gave up, both because I knew it would take so long, and because of the likelihood that no one would be that interested as to read whatever I eventually came up with.So instead I ll just talk about the way that Spinoza views and defines emotions in the chapter.First off, Spinoza believes there to be only three fundamental emotions Note to Prop XI pleasure, pain and desire This sounds sort of reasonable, or at least plausible, right But wait Let s just see how he defines these primary emotions From the same note Pleasure is a passive state wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection Pain is a passive state wherein the mind passes to a lesser perfection And, from the Note to Prop IX, Desire is appetite with consciousness thereof See what I mean Now, am I going to tell you what, a passive state is No, I m not going there And am I going to say what Spinoza s appetite means Just a hint It is a certain endeavor , referred to the mind and body in conjunction I hope that satisfies your curiosity, because I m not going any deeper into that either See, this is the really fundamental stuff that must be thoroughly understood to know what Spinoza s psychology is about, what he s saying what, that is, these propositions are proving.I m absolutely not dismissing this stuff as nonsense I m throwing up my hands and saying its too damn hard So let s bypass this initial stuff, and see where Spinoza is led Because it is interesting These three primary emotions are used in combination with mental states and dispositions, and hypothetical situations, to define and elucidate an entire gamut of human emotions There s a list of most of them that he considers in this view spoiler hatred, love sympathy confidence, despair, disappointment, fear, hope, joy approval, indignation, pity envy emulation, pride benevolence ambition honour, repentance, shame regret consternation, timidity anger, revenge cruelty savageness, thankfulness gratitude daring contempt, derision, devotion, wonder humility avarice, lust hide spoiler.All the emotions in that list are treated in two separate places in Part III They first enter the treatise in a Proposition, actually usually a Note to a Proposition then later, in the final section of Part III DEFINITIONS OF THE EMOTIONS , Spinoza treats them again in a somewhat different order, with additional comments, interpolating such observations as I think should here and there be added For example, the emotion of love is defined in the Note to Prop XIII Love is nothing else but pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external causeIn VI of the DEFINITIONS section, love is defined in the same terms, and Spinoza says, in an Explanation, that these words explain sufficiently clearly the essence of love then goes on but this is TMI on my part soview spoiler goes on to critique the statement that others have made, that love is the lover s wish to unite himself to the loved object , claiming that this formulations does not get at the essence of love, but simply expresses a property of love and then further explains that when he says that the phrase states a property of love, the import of the word wish must be clearly understood, because Spinoza denies that wish can mean a free decision of the mind , since this human freedom has been proved to be a fiction in Part II, Prop XLVIII Whew Thanks Baruch hide spoiler Just a coupleremarks on this section.Prop XL He, who conceives himself to be hated by another, and believes that he has given him no cause for hatred, will hate that other in return. A great example of how what we would think of as an observation about human nature or psychology and perhaps not even an entirely convincing one might not the counter feeling be one of puzzlement, irritation, resignation , turns into a statement that can be proved deductively in Spinoza s system.Finally Let s compare Spinoza s definition of hope with a dictionary definition.In DEFINITIONS XII, Hope is an inconstant pleasure, arising from the idea of something past or future, whereof we to a certain extent doubt the issue My dictionary Hope A wish or desire supported by some confidence of its fulfillment To me, there are significant differences here First, the dictionary definition makes hope to be an active emotion, a wish or desire Spinoza on the other hand views it as a passive thing, something which arises from an idea , not a thing which is produced by our will.Also, the dictionary clearly means to show us what the sign word signifies, by giving us a string of other signs whereas Spinoza s definition is not simply language attached to the word defined, but rather an explanation of how the thing signified by the word comes about I think these distinctions are seen pretty much throughout the definitions and comments on the emotions in Part III hide spoiler I have not read the last two Parts of the book, but I did skim them so I could make some brief comments.Part IV Of Human Bondage or the Strength of the Emotions view spoiler Shades of Somerset Maugham and yes, this is where Maugham got his title.Spinoza introduces this section as follows Human infirmity in moderating and checking the emotions I name bondage for, when a man is a prey to his emotions, he is not his own master, but lies at the mercy of fortune so much so, that he is often compelled , while seeing that which is better for him, to follow that which is worse Why this is so, and what is good or evil in the emotions, I propose to show in this part of my treatise Then, after the usual definitions, axioms, propositions, notes, etc Spinoza adds an Appendix at the end of Part IV, in which he summarizes his remarks in anatural manner than they were developed in the chain of propositions This would be a fine place for a reader to gain an overview of this section I won t try to summarize his summary hide spoiler Part V Of the Power of the Understanding, or of Human Freedom view spoiler In Part V Spinoza appears to close the loop, in a certain sense, because as in Part I and not since most of the Propositions contain God in their statement Spinoza introduces the section by saying that he will treat the power of the reason, showing how far the reason can control the emotions, and what is the nature of Mental Freedom or Blessedness He then continues,I shall treat only of the power of the mind, or of reason and I shall mainly show the extent and nature of its dominion over the emotions, for their control and moderation That we do not possess absolute dominion over them, I have already shown hide spoiler My SummaryBefore a final quote, this is what I think of Spinoza s Ethics For this modern reader, its main, though not only, interest is as a historical document The rationalist program upon which it s founded I find completely unconvincing, in our modern era of scientific understanding.The third part, wherein Spinoza lays forth what I take to be a psychology of the emotions, was is interesting, and I wish I had been able to condense and summarize it better I might return to it someday, but likely not, if I m honest with myself.Similarly, the fourth part, which I only skimmed, seems like it should be explored in conjunction with Part III.The other parts of the Ethics did not attract me, and I doubt I will ever return to them.But Spinoza was undoubtedly a great thinker, and deserves better than I ve given him here He deserves to provide his own summary This quote is the last Note in Ethics.Spinoza s Summary view spoiler I have thus completed all I wished to set forth touching the mind s power over the emotions and the mind s freedom Whence it appears, how potent is the wise man, and how much he surpasses the ignorant man, who is driven only by his lusts For the ignorant man is not only distracted in various ways by external causes without ever gaining the true acquiescence of his spirit, but over lives, as it were unwitting of himself, and of God, and of things, and as soon as he ceases to suffer, ceases also to be.Whereas the wise man, in so far as he is regarded as such, is scarcely at all disturbed in spirit, but, being conscious of himself, and of God, and of things, by a certain eternal necessity, never ceases to be, but always possesses true acquiescence of his spirit.If the way which I have pointed out as leading to this result seems exceedingly hard, it may nevertheless be discovered Needs must it be hard, since it is so seldom found How would it be possible, if salvation were ready to our hand, and could without great labour be found, that it should be by almost all men neglected But all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare hide spoiler Q.E.D. 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  3. Dario Dario says:

    And it is easy to credit Spinoza with the place of honour in the Cartesian succession except that he bulges out of that place in all directions, there is no living corpse who raises the lid of his coffin so powerfully, crying so loudly I am not one of yours Baruch Spinoza the man of joy In under 200 pages Spinoza manages to create a philosophical system that, in effect, accounts for the entirety of life as we know it More impressive still, his writing in The Ethics somehow seems as relAnd it is easy to credit Spinoza with the place of honour in the Cartesian succession except that he bulges out of that place in all directions, there is no living corpse who raises the lid of his coffin so powerfully, crying so loudly I am not one of yours Baruch Spinoza the man of joy In under 200 pages Spinoza manages to create a philosophical system that, in effect, accounts for the entirety of life as we know it More impressive still, his writing in The Ethics somehow seems as relevant today as it must have been in the mid 1600s Or perhaps it wasn t This book seems to anticipate, quite completely, so much of the Nietzschean project that was taken up a couple of hundred years later, and that we still see regarded as being our entry into the postmodern era It is not surprising to learn that Spinoza was exiled in his life by the Jewish community, that this book was placed on the Vatican s list of forbidden books, and that he was even rejected by his family on account of his radical beliefs this book is still radical Along his metaphysical journey, Spinoza, among other things, casts off the idea of transcendent good and evil, rejects the Cartesian dualism of mind vs body, denies the transcendence and anthropomorphization of God, and posits an ethical system based on joy.One substance, with an infinite number of attributes, expressed in an infinite number of modes Extension matter is an attribute of God, or, nature, as is thought ideas we can conceive of God now as ideas through thought, now as matter through extension the substance is the same The mind and body are not two separate things, but rather the same thing expressed through different attributes The decisions of the mind are exactly the determinations or appetites of the body Ideas of things are conceived through thought, while things are conceived through matter The mind is bodied and the body minded The affections of the body are exactly the ideas of the affections of the mind, but insofar as these affections necessarily involve external bodies they can be said to be inadequate, or, not fully comprehensible by our body alone These affections are passions The mind however, as a part of the divine nature expressed through thought, is blessed with the power of reasoning, that is, of forming adequate or complete ideas Through the use of reasoning the mind is able to create understanding, or understandings, of the divine nature, and through this, reach higher levels of empowerment and affirmation.An affect is an idea of an affection of the body The body is composed of many individuals, each of which is itself composed of many individuals, and so on roll the mouse wheel From this it follows that the body, and so also the mind, can be affected in a great many ways we do not yet know what a body can do All affects can be generally ascribed to three main affects joy, sadness and desire Joy can be described simply as all those affects that increase our power, that is, our power to act that empower us, bring us to a higher level of perfection, affirm usand aid our ability to act as the manifestations of the divine nature that we are Sad affects are all those that restrain us, that diminish or weaken our ability to act and that destroy us Desire is the very essence of man, insofar as it represents the appetites of the body, or of the individuals that constitute our body, that at all times seeks to empower and preserve, affirm and aid itself This is the will to power, a will to life This is, to this day, still one of the criteria we use to evaluate the living all living things seek to preserve themselves This, as we have just shown, is joy itself Anything that seeks to destroy itself is not acting out of an intrinsic property, rather, anything, insofar as it seeks to destroy itself, is acting out of weakness of mind, that is, is being acted upon to such an extent by sad affects that it becomes completely overpowered The man of reason, or of understanding, seeks at all times affects of joy, affects that increase our power.The beautiful thing about Spinoza s immanent system of ethics, an ethics of empowerment and joy, is that once we stop subscribing to transcendent morals, morals that posit externally determined ideals of good and evil , and that punish us externally and internally and render us guilty, we start to radiate positivity This is the real charm of The Ethics Thewe seek to understand ourselves and the world of God nature around us, the greater the ability we can gain to empower ourselves and brings ourselves to joy the greater our power, the greater our ability to act, and the greater our ability to empower and preserve the things in our lives that bring us joy Humans are necessarily social beings we cannot live in isolation, and in fact, since the moment we were born and certainly even before we have been been acted upon and ourselves acted upon other people These people, in our lives, from those closest to us to those furthest away, have a very real impact on us they affect us and we them Thethe people around us are empowered to act well, live joyfully, and make something of their lives and duration as mind bodies, thewe are Thethat everyone else in the world is empowered and brought to joy, thewe are brought to joy, and, conversely, thethat we are empowered thewe are able to bring everyone else to joy If each person most seeks their own advantage, then men are most useful to one another this is the great lesson, the great gift But the fundamental subtext is that we are not alone, the empowerment and joy of those around us affects us, and we them Spinoza discovers the remarkable knock on effect of positivity, hidden away by those who preach evil, repentance and sin The man of reason, the strong, lives by love he knows that nothing joyous can come from hate or sad affects hate only breeds hate and even compounds it, whereas love can only breed love, empowerment can only breed empowerment


  4. Gary Beauregard Bottomley Gary Beauregard Bottomley says:

    The best way to read this book is to listen to it If I were to have read it, I would have dwelled excessively on the axioms, definitions and propositions and would have missed the forest for the trees Don t worry if you don t get the definition as he gives them You ll be able to pick them up when he uses them latter on Spinoza is an incredibly good writer He will tell you what he s going to tell you, tell you and than tell you again He ll say in other words or take this example or othe The best way to read this book is to listen to it If I were to have read it, I would have dwelled excessively on the axioms, definitions and propositions and would have missed the forest for the trees Don t worry if you don t get the definition as he gives them You ll be able to pick them up when he uses them latter on Spinoza is an incredibly good writer He will tell you what he s going to tell you, tell you and than tell you again He ll say in other words or take this example or other such explanatory statements and amplify what he s been telling you while never being prolix a word he actually uses and I had to look it up It means tediously long winded with words.I ve often heard people make the expression that they believe in the God of Spinoza After having read this book, I seriously would doubt them What they ve done is focused on the Spinoza formulation that God is Nature and Nature is God and they like the way that sounds, but they don t really know how Spinoza gets there or what he means by it.This book is a vibrant defense of Scholasticism Aristotelian thought against Descartes mind body duality Spinoza creates a system with only one substance God but infinite attributes Two of those attributes are thought and extension body , but it s clear that God possess infinitely manyGod or Substance is the creator of the universe and possess thinking The God Nature Nature God formulation would be pantheistic But, Spinoza goes beyond that and very well could be panentheistic God transcends nature , but I can t say for sure based only on this book.Spinoza uses most of the metaphysics of Aristotle He believes God is the efficient cause the mover of the universe, but he does not believe in Aristotle s final causes, teleology He believes that God is necessary, and that the universe is determined because from the necessary existence and therefore essence of God everything must follow from cause and effect i.e that Free Will is an illusion Aristotle in his Ethics believes that Free Will does exist, but mostly Spinoza and Aristotle seem to agree The concept of essence are essential items in each of their systems Things are only contingent when we don t know enough.Only the first two sections of the book dealt with God and the Mind The other three sections deal with emotions and our control He ll reach some of the same conclusion that Aristotle reaches in his Nicomachean Ethics Such as, our highest virtue is the contemplative virtue and we need to wake up, stop being distracted by the petty and focus on the universe and our place in it He ll say we are most divine like when we use our contemplation on higher order matters.Also, I want to mention that his sections on emotions and human bondage were some of the best formulations of psychology I ve ever have come across in my readings He ll say that it s our desires and our pains and pleasures which determine our emotional well being The active part of us determines our emotional health and through the passive part is how our passions sneak in Leading a virtuous life is the best We should return hate with love or high mindedness for its own sake He ll even segue into a self help book by saying we should repeat such slogans to ourselves so that when we our prone to hate we will know how to act instead I can t understand why today s self help books don t do as well as Spinoza does within this book.This book is a relatively easy read It s clear that Hegel grabs major parts from Spinoza in his Phenomenology of Spirit , and Hegel is no way as easy to read as this book is Spinoza s attributes are determinants limitations of the infinite Hegel makes all determinants negations of the infinite and gives us his dialectics or movements based on that I did notice that Spinoza uses vacillate in the later parts of his book and it seemed to correlate with Hegel s movements I wish I had read this book before I had read Hegel He would have madesense to me if I had.Never trust the summations you might have heard about this book or any other of the classic philosophical works you may come across They always seem to get it wrong This is a good book to read because Spinoza is such a great writer he s not prolix as my review is , he has a genuinely interesting take on the world, his psychology sections seem to be as good as any I have ever seen, you ll probably learn to be suspicious of the statement I believe in the God of Spinoza because a lot of baggage comes with that statement, and the influence his work has had on others becomes obvious and they would be easier to understand if you read this book before reading them A note I enjoyed this book so much I ve downloaded his previous book A Theologico Political Treatise for free from LibriVox because it doesn t seem to be available at Audible


  5. Carl Carl says:

    If I were exiled to a desert island, imprisoned, or otherwise isolated, and there were only book of philosophy I could have to read and re read for the rest of my life, it would be The Ethics of Spinoza Here Spinoza lays out a complete system that encompasses metaphysics, theology, physics, psychology, and ethics Throughout Spinoza is concerned with what it means to be free, and what sort of beliefs are worthy of a free human being To be free, he insists, means not to be a slave not to any If I were exiled to a desert island, imprisoned, or otherwise isolated, and there were only book of philosophy I could have to read and re read for the rest of my life, it would be The Ethics of Spinoza Here Spinoza lays out a complete system that encompasses metaphysics, theology, physics, psychology, and ethics Throughout Spinoza is concerned with what it means to be free, and what sort of beliefs are worthy of a free human being To be free, he insists, means not to be a slave not to anyone else, and not to your own wishes, compulsions, fantasies, and emotions To be free is to be rational, and to be rational is to live the best kind of life for a human being to live I should add also that The Ethics is itself the work of a lonely spirit, a spirit who relinquished the claims of community and tradition in order to create a different and better future through the power of philosophy I can think of no better company for my own solitude than the Ethics of Spinoza


  6. Morgan Morgan says:

    Read this book for two reasons Spinoza is mentioned in all my philosophy introduction comics I have and George Eliot was a follower of Spinoza I ll get to that later.First off, this book might look like a quick read due to it s page numbers, but it s actually a difficult read Not only is it not written in a way that s pleasing to my eyes at times, it s heavy in subject matter It s mostly about his views on religion,pin pointing to a God, however there is some math and psychology eleme Read this book for two reasons Spinoza is mentioned in all my philosophy introduction comics I have and George Eliot was a follower of Spinoza I ll get to that later.First off, this book might look like a quick read due to it s page numbers, but it s actually a difficult read Not only is it not written in a way that s pleasing to my eyes at times, it s heavy in subject matter It s mostly about his views on religion,pin pointing to a God, however there is some math and psychology elements in this book as well I really liked the part on emotions.Religion is a key part of Spinoza s philosophy There is also a debate to exactly what he was religiously At times this book isn t clear We do know that he didn t like organized religion He wasn t religiously Jewish or Christian he was ethnically Jewish though There is some question whether or not his God is what most people think of God or if it s a whole other type of God George Eliot was the first person to translate this book into English I haven t read her translation, so I can t compare, but I have read her views on Spinoza She was evangelical, maybe too much, before reading him After, she realized that she wasn t Christian She questioned the religion and church too much She eventually turned skeptic and atheist She also became a better writer, but that s another story.I, on the other hand, am an atheist, now For a while I was struggling with not agreeing with religion as a whole, not just Christianity and the church mostly the Catholic Church which I wasn t part of, but it s important to some people around me Reading the Bible last year didn t help me either I though, or I was told, I d find peace and meditation reading passages The Bible only seemed to cause me to haveanxiety Too much genealogical boasting and contradicting ideas in the Bible for me to agree with I liked it for the poetry and literary background, but that about all I can say respectfully As I ve mentioned before with Nietzsche and other philosophers, I give them credit for helping me with anxiety and seeing I feelfree and relaxed without religion and divine rules to follow.Will this book turn you into a skeptic, atheist, or pantheists Maybe or maybe not Depends how much literature influences you I hope this will make youopen to skepticism though I believe we have a right to question the world around us, that s why we have science One thing I know, Spinoza was a fan of science, logic, and reason


  7. Alexander Alexander says:

    Don t be cowed by the metaphysical tail chasing of Books I, II, and V.The piston huffing, steampunk clockwork of Axioms, Proofs, Scholia, and Corollaries can pound the reader s nerves like the mechanized hammer in a belfry Even hardcore Spinozists may differ on how or whether these moving parts all click into place, so don t be miffed if you feel you ve wandered into some weird Kabbalah seminar MC d by a Jewy mathlete poking at his graphing calculator.Or perhaps my slow moving brain simply can Don t be cowed by the metaphysical tail chasing of Books I, II, and V.The piston huffing, steampunk clockwork of Axioms, Proofs, Scholia, and Corollaries can pound the reader s nerves like the mechanized hammer in a belfry Even hardcore Spinozists may differ on how or whether these moving parts all click into place, so don t be miffed if you feel you ve wandered into some weird Kabbalah seminar MC d by a Jewy mathlete poking at his graphing calculator.Or perhaps my slow moving brain simply can t keep pace with all the intermeshing gears Essence Substance Attribute Mode Axiom God The musty pageant of scholastic theo jabber hasn t dated well, even as Spinoza s aim was full blown demystification the annihilation of orthodox religious doctrine in favor of a wholly naturalized God a logic driven breaking of the vessels.Once our renegade Cartesian emerges from his empyrean clocktower to engage human nature in Books III IV On the Affects On Human Bondage , The Ethics becomes a muchnourishing book, though again, written as if Spock and Commander Data had collaborated on a treatise to map human emotion on a Euclidean grid a visionary Jewbot crunching game theoretic equations in a geometric love letter to God whom he knows will not return said love.Steven Nadler observed that The Ethics is a Rorschach for new readers, so this abyss dwelling materialist and ego blasted freewill doubter takes to Spinoza like a lizard to a sunbaked rock The tranquil surge of tautologies rarely provokes a yawn, while even the most self evident claims seem slanted in a crisp new light, as if the bevy of truths I ve come to accept is being ritually crop rotated in freshly composted black earth Compost has a double meaning here, as some of Spinoza s notions will have you unholstering your pooper scooper i.e the soul dies with the body, but the mind partakes of eternity, and thus survives in some form Bk V, Prop 23 The Ethics is a mixed bag of philosophical tricks, despite its systematic aims The deep ecology movement, in its attempt to mashup Heideggerian phenomenology with pre industrial eco communion and reciprocity with wild spaces, has found a partial ancestor in Spinoza s immersive pantheism albeit conferred by a Dutch freethinker who spent most of his life in boarding houses, lens grinding workshops, libraries, taverns, and before his excommunication the synagogue What this tells us is that The Ethics has as much to offer the roving city rat as the stinky dreadlocked Greenpeace volunteer, even as Spinoza might have dismissed much of today s green movement as empty superstition and unmanly compassion Bk IV, Sch 1 Nature may be the source and generative matrix of All, but The Ethics still has one foot planted in Pentateuchal Dominion theology With regards to human emotion, it has both feet squarely planted We are all bucks to be broken Every passion named and tamed Freud noted that the poets discovered the Unconscious long before he did, but Spinoza gave the concept a transgressive breadth and depth shocking to the Powers that Be or the Powers that Were European theocrats reviled him for his sweeping materialist vision of humans as passion inflamed meat puppets, a vision that ripples forward to the present moment, with discoveries in neurophysiology that bracket perhaps even obliterate our hallowed notions of libertarian self rule I consider men s affects emotions and properties just like other natural things And of course human affects, if they do not indicate man s power, at least indicate the power and skill of Nature, no less than many other things we wonder at and take pleasure in contemplating Bk IV, Prop 57.Not that Spinoza s ethics are remotely scientific Rather they tend to seesaw between common sense folk morality and some spicy, proto Nietzschean revaluation of all values style critique, particularly in his subtle but derogatory views on pity, humility, compassion, and remorse But throughout the treatise, there s a prevailing Vulcan faith in reason as the ultimate metaethical arbiter, which pitches Spinoza into a vague, dithering scientism without the science, a residual Platonism which magically equates knowing things as they truly are with nobility and virtue, a fuzzy non sequitur that has plagued philosophy for millennia Things are good only insofar as they aid man to enjoy the life of the mind Bk IV, App V Contra Spinoza, flat earthers can be sweet people, while bookish savants can be callous dicks Freewill is largely kaput in the cosmos of The Ethics By the luck of the draw our constitutional and environmental preconditions , some of us will ripen into bravura, meticulously carved marionettes, whilst others are condemned to be wormeaten Punch Judy sockpuppets stewing in vice, superstition, and fear I say largely kaput because there s some cognitive dissonance in The Ethics over whether the enlightened Spinozan has achieved a tentative sort of freedom, stemming from the veto powers of the superego Hence, there can be freedom from the passions, but not from causation Spock didn t choose to be Spock, et al Those who brazenly declare themselves free are usually the least so, since they evade the self deconstructive labor of unwinding the myriad threads of their constitutive origins and experiences So paradoxically, Spinoza would hail those who plunge facefirst into the pregnant abyss of determinism as possessing true freedom, by which he means a life uncontaminated by the resentment and emotional tumult of our passions and addictions, our blistering narcissism and neurotic sense of entitlement But again, since we did not design the metaethical Universe which reason is primed to discover and retrofit our values to, freedom comes to mean empowerment and joy within our limitations rather than causation trumping liberty In other words, some puppets get an eleven stringed guidewire with greased ball socket joints and gyro stabilized swivel torso, while the rest of us sock monkeys bob and weave on tangled hanks of rotting yarn The upshot here is that the virtue seeking rationality of the Alpha marionettes compels them to upgrade and enlighten as many of the Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons as they can, for the community s sum benefit Everyone who is led by reason desires for others also the good he wants for himself Bk IV, Prop 73 This radical revolt against Plato s philosopher kings helps make Spinoza a future prince of democratic modernity.At the omega point of enlightenment, the true love of God would have us lucky rolling scions of serendipity reason our way to a Taoist aeyrie of universal empathy in the Vulcan embrace of cosmic determinism The mind is determined to wish for this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by a cause, and this again by another, and so on to infinity This realization teaches us to hate no one, to despise no one, to mock no one, to be angry with no one, and to envy no one So spaketh the Jewish Buddha of 17th century Amsterdam.All thedismaying when, in Book V On Human Freedom , Spinoza tumbles off the rails into theobabble mystagoguery, and this just a few pages after bashing Descartes for skyhooking occult qualities to prop up the latter s rickety Cogito Pot calls kettle noir.Still, this is two centuries before the Darwinian upgrade By the lights of his time, Spinoza had balls of brass and a suped up frontal lobe The prince of philosophers, and patron saint of the brainy, dispassionate Outsider


  8. Aasem Bakhshi Aasem Bakhshi says:

    No matter which intellectual religious background you come from, its one text that has the power to change your conception of cosmos Its hard to decide what isawe inspiring Spinoza s God or his Man and that is perhaps the ultimate success of his supreme and elegant egoism.


  9. Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Joshua Nomen-Mutatio says:

    Here s video footage of a pretty good discussion of a great, frequently glossed over, and far too often underappreciated philosopher who is one of my favorite philosophers of all time Spinoza, A Discussion Steven Nadler is an excellent authority on Spinoza and has written a few books on him I really like Catherine Wilson as well from this and now have several of her books and articles on my to read list.The other guys are sort of annoying and make some rather disagreeable points in my opinio Here s video footage of a pretty good discussion of a great, frequently glossed over, and far too often underappreciated philosopher who is one of my favorite philosophers of all time Spinoza, A Discussion Steven Nadler is an excellent authority on Spinoza and has written a few books on him I really like Catherine Wilson as well from this and now have several of her books and articles on my to read list.The other guys are sort of annoying and make some rather disagreeable points in my opinion Especially Mr Blue Shirt and the guy who keeps going on about Freud because he doesn t seem to know about much else But Nadler is solid and so is Catherine Wilson AlsoThere are links to the entire work as published online here In Ethics, Spinoza attempts to demonstrate a fully cohesive philosophical system that strives to provide a coherent picture of reality and to comprehend the meaning of an ethical life Following a logical step by step format, it defines in turn the nature of God, the mind, human bondage to the emotions, and the power of understanding moving from a consideration of the eternal, to speculate upon humanity s place in the natural order, freedom, and the path to attainable happiness


  10. Stian Stian says:

    Perhaps it is the sentimentality that arose in me because of the circumstances under which I read the book that leads me to rate it five stars There was something about reading this close to the window, with snow slowly trickling down from the pitch black sky, and the fireplace burning, and always at least 10 clementines by my side to be devoured while I read, that just made it so enjoyable I don t wish to make a detailed and big review here there are other, better ones elsewhere, written by Perhaps it is the sentimentality that arose in me because of the circumstances under which I read the book that leads me to rate it five stars There was something about reading this close to the window, with snow slowly trickling down from the pitch black sky, and the fireplace burning, and always at least 10 clementines by my side to be devoured while I read, that just made it so enjoyable I don t wish to make a detailed and big review here there are other, better ones elsewhere, written by people muchqualified than myself , but it suffices to say that I can see why Einstein fell in love with Spinoza and regarded him as one of his heroes, and I can understand why Russell called him the noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers How much do I love that noble manMore than I could tell with wordsI fear though he ll remain aloneWith a holy halo of his own. Einstein s poem, dedicated to Spinoza


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