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A Spinoza Reader: The Ethics and Other Works

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  289 ratings  ·  27 reviews
This anthology of the work of Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677) presents the text of Spinoza's masterwork, the Ethics, in what is now the standard translation by Edwin Curley. Also included are selections from other works by Spinoza, chosen by Curley to make the Ethics easier to understand, and a substantial introduction that gives an overview of Spinoza's life and the main th ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 27th 1994 by Princeton University Press (first published February 7th 1994)
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Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Think of the most difficult and at the same time worthy thing you have done in your life. This book will not be read or understood by 99.999 percent of the human population; still, it is worth reading because it can change your life. Jews are still trying to effectively respond to Spinoza and that's not said lightly. Not much needs to be said. The final quote from the Ethics like the main quote from any religion suffices: “If the way I have shown to lead to these things now seems very hard, stil ...more
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When millenia-old waking nightmare that is Western history is finally over, and people wonder if any good ever shone through the brutality of our collective madness, they will be able to point to Spinoza's Ethics. The Ethics is not a book, it is a monument to thought and freedom.
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Andrew by:
This was a very difficult read, and it took a long time for me to complete it. I enjoyed this edition especially because the pre-Ethics stuff was much more straight-forward and was written in a more natural voice.

The geometric method seemed similar to what I've read of Hegel. I enjoyed the format of the preposition (the statement) and the demonstration (explaining why the statement is true), and then usually a scholium (more commentary on the statement, typically taking it in an interesting dir
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Spinoza's philosophy will change your life! At the very least, it will frustrate the hell out of you.
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Spinoza is essential. Read it slowly and carefully.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The ultimate end of the man who is led by reason, that is, his highest desire, by which he strives to moderate all the others, is that by which he is led to conceive adequately both himself and all things which can fall under his understanding.

The central role of reason in Spinoza's philosophy borders on the mystical. To the extent that we conform to reason, we conform to the true nature of reality. What is good is what is realized upon reason. God is pure reason. The ethical human being in the
H Lamar
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The works of Spinoza should be on the shelf of every curious mind searching to build arguments against Descartes. Spinoza is an essential to understanding contemporary philosophy of mind. I read him more than any other philosopher of the period. Does one need to understand Descartes in order to understand Spinoza? Yes. One must read Spinoza to understand Descartes as well. These two philosophers gave birth to all philosophical works in their wake. Spinoza is a key for understanding Hegel.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aberdeen
Hard to imagine now how shocking this was in 1664 ("God is not a person; there is no free will; tolerance is the only rational politics").

Trying to understand Spinoza without Curley's notes (which are about twice as long as the primary material) is a decade's work.
Daniel Merrill
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent build up with smaller letters and writings from Spinoza, building up to the arguments he would expand on in The Ethics, many of which help make stuff that would be very confusing in that work clearer.
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i think i was dreaming with open eyes.
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing

Simply brilliant.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
There is joy in returning to a thinker after a quarter century. I read Spinoza in my first semester of graduate school and hadn't ever occasioned to read him again until these last few weeks. I did this time read parts of this anthology and of his masterwork, The Ethics, that I did not read the first time around.

Apparently in class in 1996 we were focused on his metaphysics, so this time I enjoyed reading some of his biblical hermeneutics, psychology, and moral and political thought. I feel as
Slava Winterfield
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
The Ethics was one of the first philosophy books that I've read, and it was one of the few books that I can say changed my view on the world. After finishing, I felt as if the world suddenly made sense to me. It's astounding the responses Spinoza gives to common questions regarding morality, God, society, etc...And how it all fits together neatly into his geometrical system.

Now, of course, looking back, the Ethics is not without faults from an ethical standpoint--justifying ethical intuitions by
Alexander Smith
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A decidedly well organized edition of Spinoza's Ethics. The organization easily lead the reader through Spinoza's thoughts and history as it relates to the development of his master work.

To speak specifically to The Ethics, this is a surprisingly good demonstration of some problems with Descartes' work which could be done more simply because of Spinoza's lack of relation to a Religion after being kicked out of his Jewish community. In particular, The Ethics, if anything, is an excellent demonstr
Thomas Lamb
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
He's the man. The geometric method is tedious. But the best bits are the very best. And inspired Paine, my favourite author.

Per Bert. Russ.: "The noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers. Intellectually some others have surpassed him. But Ethically he is supreme. As a natural consequence, he was considered a man of appalling wickedness.
Rifat Islam
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A heterodox Jew who was oppressed by his society; interesting introduction to monism and the philosophical justification for such a concept; parallels to immanence in sufi/eastern thought
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
*Only read the Ethics, but I'm going to count it.
Feb 21, 2016 added it
Shelves: philosophy
A Spinoza Reader is a good book; the little introduction and excerpts from works previous to the Ethics helped me form a 'clear and distinct' idea of Spinoza and his work. I think he's only interesting historically, and I do not get why people rate his philosophy highly still.

Clearly he was an intelligent man, and was able to expose the gaps in his contemporaries' theories concisely. I think he had a lot of good ideas, and really did pre-empt a lot of philosophy and psychology to come. However,
Nov 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am still in the process of tackling the Ethics. Througout his life Spinoza sought to find the proper expression of his metaphysical hypothesis that the univese was a unitary whole. Spinoza was concerned with the God of the Philosophers and not the God of Scriptures or the religionists. He is often misunderstood to be an atheist because of his rationalist approach to philosophical inquiry. His ideas got him ejected (excommunicated) from his synagouge.

Because of his rationalist convictions Spin
Jun 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
okay, the ethics was probably the most pivotal piece of literature i have ever read. however, anyone hoping to obtain as much from it as possible must read the theological-political treatise first, because it puts in a figurative context the ideas that spinoza later abstracts geometrically in the ethics, and it's important to see the progression of his ideas as he worked on the ethics... unless of course you feel like laboring unnecessarily over it.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
3.5 stars.
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good translation, nice selection of works.
Craig Bolton
A Spinoza Reader: The Ethics and Other Works by Benedictus de Spinoza (1994)
Egor Sofronov
Apr 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
An elaboratively and eloquently written heap of non-sense, albeit this is supposed to be first approbations in rationalism
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: materialists, immanencers, people who want a new history
god = nature; love = the feeling of joy accompanied by the idea of an external cause; the human right to do x = the power/ability of a human to do x

Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Unexpectedly easy to read and applicable to the current religious/political situation in the USA.
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
It does provide and interesting view in to the minds of the creators of our eduction system.
Jordan Rodriguez
rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2012
rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2013
Steven Westfall
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Aug 14, 2020
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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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