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Spinoza Reader: The Ethics and Other Works

by Benedict de Spinoza and Edwin Curley Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 320 pages
AU$59.99 NZ$63.47
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This anthology of the work of Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677) presents the text of Spinoza's masterwork, the Ethics, in what is now the standard translation by Edwin Curley. Also included are selections from other works by Spinoza, chosen by Curley to make the Ethics easier to understand, and a substantial introduction that gives an overview of Spinoza's life and the main themes of his philosophy. Perfect for course use, the Spinoza Reader is a practical tool with which to approach one of the world's greatest but most difficult thinkers, a passionate seeker of the truth who has been viewed by some as an atheist and by others as a religious mystic. The anthology begins with the opening section of the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, which has always moved readers by its description of the young Spinoza's spiritual quest, his dissatisfaction with the things people ordinarily strive for--wealth, honor, and sensual pleasure--and his hope that the pursuit of knowledge would lead him to discover the true good. The emphasis throughout these selections is on metaphysical, epistemological, and religious issues: the existence and nature of God, his relation to the world, the nature of the human mind and its relation to the body, and the theory of demonstration, axioms, and definitions. For each of these topics, the editor supplements the rigorous discussions in the Ethics with informal treatments from Spinoza's other works.

ISpinoza's Life and Philosophy
IIBibliographical Note
IIIAbbreviations and Other Conventions
IA Portrait of the Philosopher as a Young Man3
IIA Critique of Traditional Religion6
IIIFragments of a Theory of Scientific Method48
IVFrom a Non-Geometric Draft of the Ethics55
VAn Early Attempt at Geometrizing Philosophy66
VITwo Criticisms of Descartes71
VIIThe Study Group has Questions about Definitions77
VIIIThe Worm in the Blood82
The Ethics
IOf God85
IIOf the Nature and Origin of the Mind115
IIIOf the Origin and Nature of the Affects152
IVOf Human Bondage, or the Powers of the Affects197
VOf the Power of the Intellect, or on Human Freedom244
Objections and Replies
ITschirnhaus on Freedom266
IIFreedom and Necessity267
IIITschirnhaus on Problems about the Attributes and Infinite Modes269
IVOn Knowledge of Other Attributes and Examples of Infinite Modes270
VTschirnhaus on Knowledge of Other Attributes272
VIEach Thing Is Expressed by Many Minds272
VIITschirnhaus Presses His Objection273
VIIISpinoza Replies Again273
IXTschirnhaus on Deducing the Existence of Bodies274
XOn the Uselessness of Descartes' Principles of Natural Things274
XITschirnhaus Presses the Objection274
XIISpinoza's Last Reply275

Edwin Curley, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the author of Behind the Geometrical Method: A Reading of Spinoza's "Ethics" (Princeton) and editor and translator of Princeton's edition of the works of Spinoza.