The Ethics

The Ethics : (Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata)

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Description

The Ethics

(Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata)

by

Benedict de Spinoza

COMPLETE ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Translated from the Latin by R. H. M. Elwes

Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order (Latin: Ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata), usually known as the Ethics, is a philosophical treatise written by Benedict de Spinoza. It was first published in 1677.

The book closely resembles Euclid's Elements. At the beginning of Part 1, Spinoza defines key terms and lists axioms. On the basis of these and other definitions and axioms provided in the remaining four parts of the book, Spinoza offers proofs of hundreds of propositions and corollaries, such as "When the Mind imagines its own lack of power, it is saddened by it," "A free man thinks of nothing less than of death," and "The human Mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the Body, but something of it remains which is eternal." The impersonal style is frequently interrupted by stretches of informal and at times pugnacious prose, criticizing the views of philosophers such as RenE Descartes.

The first part of the book addresses the relationship between God and the universe. Tradition held that God exists outside of the universe, created it for a reason, and could have created a different universe if he so chose. Spinoza denies each point. According to Spinoza, God is the natural world. As with many of Spinoza's claims, what this means is a matter of dispute. Spinoza claims that the things that make up the universe, including human beings, are God's "modes." This means that we and everything else are, in some sense, dependent upon God. The nature of this dependence is disputed. Some scholars say that the modes are properties of God in the traditional sense. Others say that modes are effects of God. Either way, the modes are also logically dependent on God's essence, in this sense: everything that happens follows from the nature of God, just like how (as Spinoza puts it) it follows from the nature of a triangle that its angles are equal to two right angles. Since God had to exist with the nature he happens to have, nothing that has happened could have been avoided, and if a particular fate for a particular mode is fixed by God, there is no escaping it, or as Spinoza puts it, "A thing which has been determined by God to produce an effect cannot render itself undetermined." God's creation of the universe is not a decision, much less one motivated by a purpose.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 194 pages
  • 177.8 x 254 x 11.18mm | 444.52g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1507672322
  • 9781507672327

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