Behind the Geometrical Method: A Reading of Spinoza's Ethics by Edwin Curley

By Edwin Curley

This e-book is the fruit of twenty-five years of research of Spinoza via the editor and translator of a brand new and extensively acclaimed variation of Spinoza's gathered works. in accordance with 3 lectures brought on the Hebrew college of Jerusalem in 1984, the paintings presents an invaluable point of interest for endured dialogue of the connection among Descartes and Spinoza, whereas additionally serving as a readable and comparatively short yet mammoth creation to the Ethics for college kids. in the back of the Geometrical procedure is de facto books in a single. the 1st is Edwin Curley's textual content, and is the reason Spinoza's masterwork to readers who've little heritage in philosophy. this article is going to turn out a boon to people who have attempted to learn the Ethics, yet were baffled through the geometrical kind within which it's written. right here Professor Curley undertakes to teach how the principal claims of the Ethics arose out of severe mirrored image at the philosophies of Spinoza's nice predecessors, Descartes and Hobbes.The moment publication, whose argument is performed within the notes to the textual content, makes an attempt to help additional the customarily arguable interpretations provided within the textual content and to hold on a discussion with fresh commentators on Spinoza. the writer aligns himself with those that interpret Spinoza naturalistically and materialistically.

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But these people often had only an imperfect understanding of the society to which they had emigrated in middle age. Their command of English was sometimes shaky. And despite a recognisable continuity of message and rhetoric, much of its intended significance was lost on their new audiences. The message became a different one, flatter and more superficial than its old-world predecessor. In the particular case of the Vienna Circle, certain assumptions about the broader cultural and ethical context of their philosophical project were so obvious to them they were never made explicit in their writings.

47 This book was published in 1936, two years after Logical Syntax. Carnap is acknowledged in the preface as the philosopher to whom Ayer owes most and with whom he agrees most closely. 48 It is essentially a popularised account of the pre-1930 Vienna Circle position (the Aufbau and the Tractatus), hardly acknowledging the major obstacles to such a view that had long been discussed in Vienna. 49 And then after 1950, Quine was able to convince the world he had ‘overthrown’ Carnap’s ‘verification theory of meaning’, pinning on Carnap a view he had not held for twenty years.

Languages can be, and have been, set up with or without such a principle. Why not try out different languages and see how they work? The only criterion Carnap required of a candidate language was that its rules be precisely specified. And the only way of judging the merits of a language was pragmatic. Its usefulness for some human purpose was the only ultimate criterion. Whether a realistic or idealistic language is to be preferred, Carnap said, for instance, should be regarded not as a philosophical but as a practical question.

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