Essays on Spinoza's ethical theory by Matthew J. Kisner, Andrew Youpa

By Matthew J. Kisner, Andrew Youpa

13 unique essays by way of prime students discover points of Spinoza's moral concept and, in doing so, deepen our realizing of the richly profitable center of his system.


13 unique essays through major students discover elements of Spinoza's moral idea and, in doing so, deepen our realizing of it because the richly profitable center of his procedure. They resolve Read more...

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Extra resources for Essays on Spinoza's ethical theory

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Ethics in the Ethics 35 I live with the consequences of my choices. If I fail to train I will probably lose, whatever the explanation of my failure to train. Spinoza does think that in general as one increases in perfection, one becomes more powerful and better able to handle the things that come one’s way. I become a more dominant player on the scene; I become more in control (in an intra-nexus sense). I become more free, in Spinoza’s sense of freedom. But, however powerful I get, I am always subject to the effects, possibly detrimental, of more powerful external causes.

A Detour through the New Science Spinoza’s picture of man and the physical world grows out of his reflection on Descartes’s picture, so let’s start there. Descartes presents a conception of body as a geometrical-kinetic structure—a pattern of motion in a fluid-like spatial extension. For our purposes, it will do to think of bodies as structures akin to the jet stream, the Gulf Stream, or the global conveyer belt. Of course, the patterns of motion making up the human body are fantastically more complicated than these systems, but these systems give a rough idea of the sort of thing that a body is for Descartes.

As this discussion has shown, Spinoza’s ethics, like the rest of his philosophy, is a complex and difficult subject, which resists pat answers and familiar categories. Nevertheless, the essays in this volume not only advance our understanding of Spinoza’s ethics, but they also enable us to understand it as the centerpiece of his philosophical system, as Spinoza intended. While the present discussion has focused on how they grapple with a variety of interpretative problems, the essays herein provide a wealth of provocative and illuminating views, too numerous for this introduction to do justice.

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