The Philosophy of Spinoza
120 Pages
English
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The Philosophy of Spinoza

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120 Pages
English

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Published 08 December 2010
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Project Gutenberg's The Philosophy of Spinoza, by Baruch de Spinoza This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Philosophy of Spinoza Author: Baruch de Spinoza Editor: Joseph Ratner Release Date: February 7, 2010 [EBook #31205] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE PHILOSOPHY OF SPINOZA *** Produced by Alicia Williams and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net Transcriber's Note Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text. For a complete list, please see the bottom of this document. THE PHILOSOPHY OF SPINOZA EDITED BY JOSEPH RATNER TUDOR PUBLISHING COMPANY Printed in the United States of America PREFACE Selections usually need no justifications. Some justification, however, of the treatment accorded Spinoza's Ethics may be necessary in this place. The object in taking the Ethics as much as possible out of the geometrical form, was not to improve upon the author's text; it was to give the lay reader a text of Spinoza he would find pleasanter to read and easier to understand. To the practice of popularization, Spinoza, one may confidently feel, would not be averse. He himself gave a short popular statement of his philosophy in the Political Treatise. The lay reader of philosophy is chiefly, if not wholly, interested in grasping a philosophic point of view. He is not interested in highly meticulous details, and still less is he interested in checking up the author's statements to see if the author is consistent with himself. He takes such consistency, even if unwarrantedly, for granted. A continuous reading of the original Ethics, even on a single topic, is impossible. The subject-matter is coherent, but the propositions do not hang together. By omitting the formal statement of the propositions; by omitting many of the demonstrations and almost all cross-references; by grouping related sections of the Ethics (with selections from the Letters and the Improvement of the Understanding ) under sectional headings, the text has been made more continuous. It is the only time, probably, dismembering a treatise actually made it more unified. In an Appendix, the sources of the selections from the Ethics are summarily indicated. It would be a meaningless burden on the text to make full acknowledgments in footnotes. For the same reason, there has been almost no attempt made to show, by means of the conventional devices, the re-arrangements and abridgements that have been made. Every care has been taken not to distort in any way the meaning of the text. And that is all that is important in a volume of this kind. Wherever possible Spinoza's own chapter headings have been retained; and some of the sectional headings have either been taken from, or have been based upon expressions in the text. It would have been more in keeping with contemporary form to use the title On Historical Method or The New History instead of Of the Interpretation of Scripture; a chapter on Race Superiority would sound more important than one on The Vocation of the Hebrews; but such modernizing changes were not made because the aim has been to give the reader a text as faithful to the original as the character of this volume would allow. The selections have been taken from Elwes' translation of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, A Political Treatise and the Improvement of the Understanding ; and from White's translation of the Ethics. These translations are no longer in copyright and hence it was not necessary to secure permission from the publishers to use them. Nonetheless, grateful acknowledgment is their just due. White, in his translation, uses, not altogether without reason, the stilted term "affect" instead of the natural English term "emotion." "Affect" is closer to the Latin and it more clearly indicates the metaphysical status of the emotions as "modes" or "affectiones" of Substance. Still, practically no one has followed White in his usage. The reasons are not difficult to discover. Besides being a stilted term, having no legitimate English status, "affect" very often makes the text extremely obscure, even unintelligible to one who has no antecedent knowledge of it, because besides having also its ordinary English meaning, "affect" is used by White to mean "mode" or "modification" ("affection") as well. In the circumstances, therefore, I thought it advisable to change "affect" to "emotion" and "affection" to "modification" or "mode." I also corrected White's translation of the Definition of Attribute by deleting the word "if." In spite of the need for these changes, it was desirable to use White's translation because it is the most accurate and elegant extant. Furthermore, in both White and Elwes I have consistently capitalized the term Nature, in accordance with Spinoza's Latin text; White and Elwes capitalize it only desultorily. I have made some slight changes in Elwes' mid-Victorian punctuation and White's all-too-faithful paragraphing. The Latin paragraphs of the Ethics are extremely long. These changes are all external and as far as I can see thoroughly legitimate as well as justified. The very slight and very occasional internal changes I have made—other than those already accounted for—I have indicated by square brackets. I am indebted to Mr. Houston Peterson, of Columbia University, for suggesting to me the idea of arranging a volume of selections from Spinoza. I am alone responsible, however, for the actual selections and arrangements, and for the idea of taking the Ethics out of its geometrical form. Professor Morris R. Cohen, of the College of the City of New York, read this volume in manuscript; I am indebted to him for some valuable suggestions. I am also indebted very greatly to a friend (who prefers not to be acknowledged) for invaluable help in getting the manuscript into shape. JOSEPH RATNER. [v] [vi] [vii] [viii] October, 1926. CONTENTS P AGE [ix] PREFACE THE LIFE OF SPINOZA INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF SPINOZA FIRST PART ON GOD CHAPTER v xi xxvii I. OF SUPERSTITION II. OF THE INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE III. OF PROPHETS AND PROPHECY IV. OF THE VOCATION OF THE HEBREWS V. OF THE DIVINE LAW VI. OF THE CEREMONIAL LAW VII. OF MIRACLES VIII. OF THE DIVINE NATURE SECOND PART ON MAN 3 11 36 64 71 88 103 122 IX. THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF THE HUMAN MIND X. THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE XI. DETERMINISM AND MORALS XII. THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF THE EMOTIONS XIII. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE EMOTIONS THIRD PART ON MAN'S WELL-BEING XIV. OF HUMAN BONDAGE XV. THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE MORAL LIFE XVI. OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF A STATE XVII. OF SUPREME AUTHORITIES XVIII. FREEDOM