The Faith of a Liberal: Selected Essays by Morris R. Cohen

By Morris R. Cohen | Go to book overview

THE INTELLECTUAL LOVE OF GOD

Introduction

I WISH in this paper to urge the validity of the Spinozistic ideal of the intellectual love of God--the Amor Dei Intellectualis-- as an ideal which may still serve as a beacon to illumine current tendencies in life and thought.

It would be difficult to mention any contemporary issue in metaphysics or ethical and political philosophy in which Spinoza has not said something that is still laden with pregnant significance. On the questions of humanism or anthropomorphism, naturalism and idealism, on the relation of mind and body, on the method of ethics, on the relation of democracy to government by law, and on the ever-burning question as to the proper scope of governmental activities and the freedom or toleration of political and religious differences, few philosophers contain so much that is still so apt and modern. Spinoza is a central figure in the world's great stream of religious, political, and scientific thought. More than any other philosopher, Spinoza has impressed the imagination of Europe and its literature-- witness Lessing, Goethe and Heine, Shelley, Coleridge and Arnold, Taine, Renan, and Leconte de Lisle. Hence the neglect of Spinoza in contemporary Anglo-American philosophic discussion is itself a significant fact for those who wish to judge the intellectual temper of our age, and it is not altogether irrelevant for our present purpose to consider the possible causes of this neglect.

Published in The Menorah Journal, Vol. XI, p. 332 ( August 1925).

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