Spinoza's Book of Life - Freedom and redemption in the by Steven B. Smith

By Steven B. Smith

Such a lot readers of Spinoza deal with him as a natural metaphysician, a grim determinist or a stoic moralist, yet none of those descriptions captures the writer of the "Ethics", argues Steven Smith during this ebook. supplying a brand new interpreting of Spinoza's masterpiece, Smith asserts that the "Ethics" is a party of human freedom and its attendant joys and duties and will be positioned one of the nice founding records of the Enlightenment. Smith's ebook treats the recognized "geometrical process" of the "Ethics" as a kind of ethical rhetoric, a version for the development of individuality. It additionally provides the "Ethics" as a better half to Spinoza's significant paintings of political philosophy, the "Theologico-Political Treatise", each one paintings assisting to discover the matter of freedom. putting forward Spinoza's centrality for either critics and defenders of modernity, the booklet will be of worth to scholars of political conception, philosophy and highbrow heritage.

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Extra info for Spinoza's Book of Life - Freedom and redemption in the 'Ethics'

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It is like a language of fire that is distinguishable from the language of the waters. It is undoubtedly the same Latin in appearance, but one could almost believe that the Latin of the scholia is translated from the Hebrew. ’’ 30 The idea that the scholia form an independent Hebrew work, if taken literally, is absurd. But Deleuze is at least half right to say that Spinoza wrote his book as an ‘‘anti-Bible,’’ although he overlooks the way in which he modeled it on the original. Like the Torah, the Ethics is a book written in five parts, a Pentateuch of sorts.

The idea of God is understood here as a demiurge or artisan who imposes form on a previously inchoate matter. The image of a divine craftsman may seem to have a certain plausibility—Socrates refers to it as a ‘‘likely tale’’—but it does not do justice to the account of Genesis. It is fundamental to the biblical account of creation not only that God created the world, but that he stands utterly alone and /Thinking about God apart from the object of his creation. There can be no analogy or correspondence between the laws of causality by which a sculptor makes a vase and that by which the universe is brought into being.

The real man is one who is true to himself. The Cartesian emphasis on authenticity puts him in a line of Renaissance moralists going back to Montaigne’s Essays and Charron’s De la sagesse. It is the emphasis on authentic individuality, as opposed to various forms of role playing and dissimulation, that finds its expression in Spinoza’s praise of the vir fortis, the noble or, literally, the manly man. The role of Descartes in the creation of our modern ideas of individualism and individuality is acknowledged by no less authority than Tocqueville.

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