Spinoza

Spinoza

Spinoza

Spinoza

Synopsis

Renowned for his metaphysics, Spinoza made significant contributions to understanding the human mind, the emotions, moral philosophy, and political philosophy.
Beginning with an overview of Spinoza's life, Michael Della Rocca carefully unpacks and explains Spinoza's philosophy: his metaphysics of substance and argument at the center of his whole system that God is the sole independent substance; his account of the human mind and its relation to the body; his theory that human beings tend towards self-preservation and his most famous work, the Ethics, including the problem of free will; and his writings on the state, religion and scripture.

Della Rocca concludes with a chapter on Spinoza's legacy and how modern philosophers, Hume, Hegel, and Nietzsche, responded to Spinoza's challenge. Ideal for those coming to Spinoza for the first time as well as those already acquainted with his thought, Spinoza is essential reading for anyone studying philosophy.

Excerpt

In offering this comprehensive account of Spinoza’s philosophical thought, I have in mind those coming to Spinoza for the first time. I hope to be able to kindle in these readers the same joy I felt on being introduced to Spinoza more than 25 years ago. I believe that I have found a key—in the shape of the Principle of Sufficient Reason—that will go a very long way toward making Spinoza’s thought both more accessible and exciting. At the same time, I hope that this work will also be of real interest to scholars, philosophers, and advanced students. Because the book is designed to serve as an introduction to Spinoza, I do not engage the secondary literature directly in any extensive way, but my thinking is obviously very much informed by and indebted to recent and notso-recent scholarly debates. Rethinking Spinoza in light of the Principle of Sufficient Reason promises to be important not only for our understanding of Spinoza, but also for our understanding of the philosophical issues Spinoza deals with and that continue to trouble philosophers today. The contemporary debates over these issues suffer, in my opinion, from a lack of systematic attention to the power of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. This book is not only about Spinoza, but it is in the spirit of Spinoza for it takes one step toward addressing that lack.

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