CHAPTER VII
THE PHILOSOPHY OF PURPOSE

Spinoza

The "Ethics" of Spinoza was composed in the quiet of a philosopher's study. It is essentially a book for the thinker; its very language makes its appreciation by the common mind quite impossible. This does not mean that he treats of matters that are dissociated from everyday experience. Despite the technical form of the book, he devotes his attention to issues that confront the humblest citizen. He is in constant touch with the prevailing currents of thought, and he subjects them to the most searching analysis. What impresses the reader of the "Ethics" is that moral conduct is the key to the study of logic and philosophy. If Spinoza were living now, he would include the objective sciences. Hence, he believes that we can "explain by strict logical reasoning those very moral habits which many writers hold to be contrary to reason," referring to impulse and emotion; and he proposes to introduce order into both by showing that they obey certain necessary laws which can be discovered and stated. Spinoza has the practical mind of an Aristotle and the universalizing intellect of a Plato. On one principle he insists, namely, that human consciousness is not outside the realm of nature; it forms no imperium in imperio, a kingdom within a kingdom, as Descartes taught. There is but one substance in the universe; it has two attributes, body and mind, extension and thought. When man acts, he expresses both ideas and feelings; one belongs to mind, the other to body. In one case we read his conduct as a group of logical principles; in the other, as the natural operation of a highly sensitized nervous system. It is folly,

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