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Ethics

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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  14,001 ratings  ·  492 reviews
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 the meaning of an ethical life. Following a logical step-by-step format, it defines in turn the nature of God, the mind, the emotions, human bondage to the emotions ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published June 27th 1996 by Penguin Classics (first published 1677)
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Boris The translation is pretty good, except for certain small deviations from the text... Mainly the problems are these:

- the translator added paragraphs t…more
The translation is pretty good, except for certain small deviations from the text... Mainly the problems are these:

- the translator added paragraphs to the lay out at points where the latin version does not contain this lay out. this is confusing sometimes, because it seems like Spinoza is clustering things together, whereas this might just be the choice of the translator
- be careful that sometimes one latin term is translated in many different English words... Self-love and satisfaction in Part V is such an example, if I am not mistaken.

Source: my lecturer who is crazy about this book!(less)

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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
Fergus
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
LIVE Right and you’ll THINK Right.

Ethical living gives you a Crystal Clear Mind.

THIS is Spinoza’s message. And it’s so wonderfully true.

You may not grasp the arguments of this book the first time around, but come back to it after you’ve put its ideas into practice, and you’ll SEE...

Not only that, says Spinoza, but as he takes us further and further into the strictly Logical Patterns of Nature - Nature for him being synonymous with God - you’ll embark on a mystical journey into the very nature
...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)
...more
Dario
Nov 29, 2019 added it
Shelves: philosophy, favorites
"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 rel
...more
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Carl
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Morgan
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, more pin-pointing to a God, however there is some math and psychology eleme
...more
Jon 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. ...more
India M. Clamp
Feb 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Ethics was published posthumously, and the assumption of what, who and how God is contrary to our idea of God. According to Spinoza, God is equated to a feeling as opposed to a being on the outside or on the other side of the fence “force majeure.” Though Einstein conferred his belief in Spinoza’s God. In his axioms, one is confounded by the more prominent attributes of a thing equating to the larger factor/fact.

“The more clearly you understand yourself and your emotions, the more you become a l
...more
Aasem Bakhshi
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. ...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'
...more
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 opinio
...more
Stian
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Shelves: own
Appears to be written in some kind of code.
Max
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Czarny Pies
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: No one. It is blasphemous.
Shelves: philosophy, religion
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
Rodrigo
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
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
William Schram
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, philosophy
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
...more
Boris
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jeff
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
...more
Paul Bond
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sean Blake
I haven't even finished this yet, but this book is special. I believe in Spinoza's God. ...more
Fadi
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Beautiful enlightenment mumbo jumbo.
Dan Raghinaru
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book can be seen as the source of modern rationalism. First there is the structure that follows Euclidean geometry – definitions, axioms, propositions, proofs and so on. Secondly, the content is all about: Nature as God, reason, rational laws, certainty of ideas and reason, God as reason, feelings opposing reason, mind and body, application of reason as ethics, and so on. Descartes with his rational program and with truth as certainty looms large in this book; moreover, he is the only philo ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Branko Nikovski
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
Some say that Spinoza killed god a century before Nietzsche's famous sentence 'God is dead' ; in this terrific masterpiece called Ethics , sir Baruch showed a dense construction of an ethical system, not in some dogmatic-archaic-superstitious way , but through Euclidean space , geometry, axioms, bringing the superior being in nexus with the laws of nature. Reading this rational book , I understand why Einstein used to say that he only believes in Spinoza's God ; the rational God. What has Spinoz ...more
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
...more
Julian Meynell
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Ethics is the book I know best in the world. I was working on my doctoral thesis on an interpretation of Part II before I left philosophy. It is not really an accessible work and even professional philosophers can need assistance to understand it. It is written in geometrical style and uses a lot of medieval and Cartesian terminology.

Its central thesis is that God and Nature are the same. It is a deeply rationalist work. It divides knowledge into three kinds, two of which are a priori in nat
...more
kaelan
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
If the way I have shown to lead to these things now seems very hard, still, it can be found. And of course, what is found so rarely must be hard. For if salvation were at hand, and could be found without great effort, how could nearly everyone neglect it? But all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.

I found myself agreeing with certain conclusions (e.g., the morality of pleasure) and disagreeing with others (e.g., animal ethics). Others, still, I found fascinating (e.g., determinis
...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
...more

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“Everything excellent is as difficult as it is rare.” 263 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.” 168 likes
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