Benedict de Spinoza's Ethics, first published in 1677, constitutes a major systematic critique of the traditional and religious foundations of philosophical thought. In it, Spinoza follows a logical step-by-step format consisting of definitions, axioms, propositions, proofs, and corollaries to create a comprehensive inquiry into the truth about God, nature, and humans' place within the universe. From these broad metaphysical themes, Spinoza derives what he considered to be the highest principles of religion and society and lays out an ethical system in which reason is the supreme value. A seminal contribution to 17th-century rationalism, Spinoza's Ethics refutes the dualism of René Descartes and provides a bridge between religion and modern-day psychology. This edition is the translation by R. H. M. Elwes.
A profoundly beautiful and uniquely insightful description of the universe, Benedict de Spinoza's Ethics is one of the masterpieces of Enlightenment-era philosophy. This Penguin Classics edition is edited and translated from the Latin. The Ethics is undoubtedly Spinoza's greatest work - an elegant, fully cohesive cosmology derived from first principles, providing a coherent picture of reality, and a guide to the meaning of an ethical life. Ethics was published in 1677 after his death, and his influence spread to the nineteenth century: inspiring the Romantic poets. If you enjoyed Ethics, you might like Rene Descartes' Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings, also available in Penguin Classics. 'The noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers ... ethically he is supreme' Bertrand Russell.
I.By that which is 'self-caused' I mean that of which the essence involves existence, or that of which the nature is only conceivable as existent.
II.A thing is called 'finite after its kind' when it can be limited by another thing of the same nature; for instance, a body is called finite because we always conceive another greater body. So, also, a thought is limited by another thought, but a body is not limited by thought, nor a thought by body.
III.By 'substance' I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself: in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.
- PART I CONCERNING GOD
- PART II ON THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF THE MIND
- PART III ON THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF THE EMOTIONS
- PART IV Of Human Bondage, or the Strength of the Emotions
- PART V Of the Power of the Understanding, or of Human Freedom