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The Ethics

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  11,522 ratings  ·  340 reviews
A profoundly beautiful and uniquely insightful description of the universe, Benedict de Spinoza's Ethics is one of the masterpieces of Enlightenment-era philosophy.

Published shortly after his death, the Ethics is undoubtedly Spinoza's greatest work - an elegant, fully cohesive cosmology derived from first principles, providing a coherent picture of reality, and a guide to
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Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by IndyPublish.com (first published 1677)
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Yvonne, I.M.M.Weekers Yvonne Weekers
Zie:' Kramers vertaalproblemen': In een beschouwing over het vertalen van Spinoza's geschriften pleit W.A. Kramers voor een religieus…more
Yvonne Weekers
Zie:' Kramers vertaalproblemen': In een beschouwing over het vertalen van Spinoza's geschriften pleit W.A. Kramers voor een religieus gerichte interpretatie van het spinozisme. Hij verzet zich tegen de door hem als positivistisch en rationalistisch gedisqalificeerde weergave van het begrip extensio met' uitgebreidheid'!
Zie ook:
George Steiner@1992, After Babel: aspects of language and translation, second ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press(less)
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4.03  · 
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 ·  11,522 ratings  ·  340 reviews


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Hadrian
Baruch you beautiful magnificent bastard. Within these two hundred dense pages of Euclidean geometric proofs axioms and postulates you manage to construct an ethical system , upend the traditional conception of monotheistic G-dd, and instead make him synonymous with the Laws of Nature. This is the best last expression of scholastic theology, and one of the most influential and astonishing philsophers of ever. It is a system which is both beautiful in its logic and yet kind and sympathetic in its ...more
Esteban del Mal
If rationality is defined as the capacity to solve problems, anticipate consequences and understand causes of events, one would be hard pressed to find its more complete 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 ...more
Ted
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)
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Carl
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
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Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
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 ...more
Alexander
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'
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
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.
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Stian
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 ...more
Lobstergirl
Jun 02, 2010 marked it as perhaps-i-will-read-hard-to-say  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Appears to be written in some kind of code.
Max
Can I jump farther and state that Spinoza may have killed God even before Nietzsche. I mean, forget the axioms and propositions. The idea of a God, in all human religions is very much contradictory and tricky, you want God to be superior, different, and 'unlike anything else' as is mentioned in the Koran. Yet at the same time, you attribute humane characteristics to this same God. Most importantly, is that he watches, guards, loves and hates every one of us. Well, Spinoza ingeniously took this i ...more
Morgan
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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, more pin-pointing to a God, however there is some math and psychology elements
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Aasem Bakhshi
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 is more awe-inspiring: Spinoza's God or his Man and that is perhaps the ultimate success of his supreme and elegant egoism.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Another book that I am sure I was not able to fully understand; but - "Nothing exists from whose nature some effect does not follow." Taken from that perspective I am glad to have encountered the writings of this great philosopher.
Rodrigo
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was...beautiful. Just beautiful.
I'd never read something as delightfully coherent and well structured as this strange little work. The format, if a little dry, was perfect for what it was trying to achieve: creating an entire system of thought based on independently conceived concepts, and their clearly defined relations. Wikipedia tells me that the format is called "Geometric", and that it is modeled after Euclid's "Elements", but that's just a description of the arrangement of the arguments
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Czarny Pies
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one. It is blasphemous.
Shelves: religion, philosophy
I decided to read this book after having read Isaac Bashevis Singer's novel "The Family Moskat" in which the protagonist cites it as justification for his contention that God was to blame for the Nazi Endlosung. It is in fact to see how Spinoza's Ethics could be used to arrive at such a conclusion. Unfortunately, having never taken a philosophy course while at university, I was unable to understand the section in which Spinoza specifically argues that his system cannot be used to argue that God ...more
William Schram
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, classics
I really enjoyed this book. Spinoza uses a distinct style to enumerate all of his proofs of the nature of reality. Starting like Euclid with a few definitions and axioms, Spinoza expands upon these with well reasoned arguments to determine many things.

The book is split into five major parts. The first part talks about the existence of a being called God that is perfect and infinite and takes no part in human affairs. The second part is concerned with the human mind and it's limitations. The thir
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Cassandra Kay Silva
This book was incredibly surprising. I had heard a bit about Spinoza and perhaps had a very wrong view of his outlook/philosophy due to some lets just say pre conceived notions. Spinoza's God is amazing. If I had to choose a form of god to believe in it would be this. His point by point approach, and linking of each axiom was absolutely candy to my brain. I loved his approach and found it so clean cut. A god that had been stripped of its human tenancies, a god of nature, a god defined. Finally! ...more
Sean Blake
I haven't even finished this yet, but this book is special. I believe in Spinoza's God.
Paul Bond
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I idealized philosophy as the art of progressing from mundane, obvious facts to grand cosmic conclusions, all made unanswerable through the authority of logic. I now see that this is a fantasy of philosophy, though never more alluring than in Spinoza's Ethics. In a relatively small book patterned after Euclid's Elements, Spinoza lays claim to not only deep knowledge of the universe, but certain knowledge. It is difficult to keep from being swept up in Spinoza's audacious project. Here, he proves ...more
Fadi
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Beautiful enlightenment mumbo jumbo.
Bernardo Kaiser
Probably one of the most challenging books I've ever read in my whole life. I could not complete it, in fact, I could not even pass the first pages if it wasn't for the help of two reading guides, one by Beth Lord from Edimburgh University of Philosophy and other by J. Thomas Cook from Continuum Company, and I'm sure most of it still just went through my head.

I am not in the position of offering any criticism of it. I can only say that the pleasure I've extracted from reading it must be very sim
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Jeff
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Difficult. I feel like this book found me when I needed it. Spinoza's conception of God resonates.

I admired Spinoza's dedication to reason without sacrificing the spiritual.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophy Geeks
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Good Reading: 100 Significant Books
According to the introduction, “Baruch Spinoza, who wrote in the mid-seventeenth century, has been considered the first modern philosopher, for he was the first to write philosophy from a standpoint beyond commitment to any particular religious persuasion. He was also among the first philosophers in modernity to advocate democracy as the best form of government.” The introduction claims he was influenced by Aristotle, Hobbes, Descartes as well as such figures of Judaic-Arabic thought as Maimonid ...more
Randall
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the unemployed
a real bore of a chore, but a rewarding experience if you can wade your way through. i read it in school, and probably (definitely) wouldn't have stayed the course otherwise. from what i've read in philosophy (which isn't much), spinoza's definition of god is, to me, the most logical and most affecting. (spinoza was a liberal jew who lived in amsterdam in the 17th century. labeled an atheist, though he adamantly denied it, he was excommunicated from the jewish community and banished from his nat ...more
eesenor
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spinoza introduces his idea that God and the universe are one and the same, meaning that God has both a spiritual and a physical nature, and that every human is a piece of God.
David Balfour
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful book that seems to echo many more modern notions. The idea that when things are often presented together, the one begins to evoke the other even if the other is not present, for instance, seems like a variation on the idea of unconscious association in psychoanalysis. Spinoza's idea of each individual being fundamentally self-asserting seems to reflect the natural struggle revealed by Darwinism. Spinoza's absolutely mechanistic world view is still fairly popular today, spurre ...more
Boris
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not even know where I should begin with praising this book... The Ethics by Spinoza is one of the bravest and most successful attempts in philosophy. By applying an analytical method (beginning at the beginning) Spinoza unwraps for us a universe of joy, parallelism and determinism. His most notorious idea, and the reason why up till Kant every philosopher was scared to be called a Spinozist, is that God is not some loving guy with a beard. Spinoza's God is substance: the one thing that cr ...more
Jennifer
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Steve McGraw, Rebecca Goldstein
Shelves: philosophy, jewish
http://capone.mtsu.edu/rbombard/RB/Sp...

Finally finished. And so, the final line is: "But all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare." I knew this as an oft quoted quote from my philosophy friend, but only now do I know the source.

The book Fahrenheit 451 is about censorship. Books are being burned and finally characters memorize, and become a book, in order to preserve them. My friend said that Spinoza's Ethics is the one he would personify, and with that he once began (but did not
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Ali Reda
My main problems with Spinoza's thesis are:
1) He bases all his prepositions based on his definitions with no justification for them, an example is "Two substances, whose attributes are different, have nothing in common", this results from his definition of "substance" which Leibniz objected to saying "Let’s grant that two substances cannot share all of their attributes. But suppose that A has attributes X and Y, while B has attributes Y and Z. Then, it seems, we could conceive of A and B as dist
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Jake
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of it I couldn't follow, some I disagreed with, and some was brilliant. He was a lot more convincing at trying to persuade me that I have no free will than Sam Harris or Gavan Nelson were, but I'm still under the illusion that I have free will. I liked his discussion of greater goods and lesser evils. He made the story of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil make pretty good sense philosophically. I had to refer back to how Spinoza defines certain terms several times, bec ...more
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Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher. The breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until many years after his death. By laying the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and, arguably, the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy.
His magnum opu
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“Everything excellent is as difficult as it is rare.” 207 likes
“Those who wish to seek out the cause of miracles and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adores as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that, once ignorance is put aside, that wonderment would be taken away, which is the only means by which their authority is preserved.” 136 likes
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