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Baruch spinozas argument in ethics philosophy essay

  • The freedom to philosophize and speculate can therefore be granted without any harm to true religion;
  • For more on this, see Youpa [2010, 209, fn;
  • Reason, by contrast, is essentially connected to the pursuit of the good;
  • When joy is a passion, it is always brought about by some external object;
  • Thus, the actual behavior of a body in motion is a function not just of the universal laws of motion, but also of the other bodies in motion and rest surrounding it and with which it comes into contact;
  • It is an ambiguous phrase, since Spinoza could be read as trying either to divinize nature or to naturalize God.

Dan Chung for the Guardian Although Baruch Spinoza is one of the great thinkers of the European philosophical tradition, he was not a professional scholar — he earned his modest living as a lens grinder. So, unlike many thinkers of his time, he was unconstrained by allegiance to a church, university or royal court. He was free to be faithful to the pursuit of truth.

  • For example, Spinoza allows no distinction between what is natural and what is artificial;
  • Spinoza replies that experience shows that just as the mind is more-or-less active or contemplative so also the body is active and sensing accordingly.

This gives his philosophy a remarkable originality and intellectual purity — and it also led to controversy and charges of heresy. In the 19th century, and perhaps even more recently, "Spinozist" was still a term of abuse among intellectuals. In a sense, Spinoza was always an outsider — and this independence is precisely what enabled him to see through the confusions, prejudices and superstitions that prevailed in the 17th century, and to gain a fresh and radical perspective on various philosophical and religious issues.

  • The fact that we ordinarily believe ourselves capable of acting otherwise is an illusion produced by our ignorance of both the physical and psychological forces influencing us, as well as of our own nature E3p2s;
  • As such, God exists necessarily as an absolutely infinite substance;
  • As soon as this preliminary conclusion has been established, Spinoza immediately reveals the objective of his attack;
  • Now in exactly the same way the task of Scriptural interpretation requires us to make a straightforward study of Scripture, and from this, as the source of our fixed data and principles, to deduce by logical inference the meaning of the authors of Scripture;
  • OUP, 2014 , 178—196;
  • The object of Scripture is not to impart knowledge, but to compel obedience and regulate our conduct.

He was born, in 1632, to Jewish Portuguese parents who had fled to Amsterdam to escape persecution, so from the very beginning he was never quite a native, never completely at home. Although Spinoza was an excellent student in the Jewish schools he attended, he came to be regarded by the leaders of his community as a dangerous influence.

  1. In his works, he sought to explain and bring into the light many concepts which he believed would help in understanding the substance concept and the concept of human freedom on the other hand. Thus, the more we allow ourselves to be controlled by them, the more we are subject to passions and the less active and free we are.
  2. If Spinoza is seeking to eliminate anything, it is that which is above or beyond nature, which escapes the laws and processes of nature.
  3. Spinoza in his work also sought to show that human senses provides modifications of the body as opposed to knowledge and that it is only through seeing them as true that we can be able to understand them Samuelson, 1998, 48. Seditious discourse that encourages individuals to nullify the social contract should not be tolerated.
  4. One factor that determines the force with which an emotion strikes us is whether we conceive of its cause as present. London, Greenwood Press, 1999, p Related Essays.

At the age of 24 he was excluded from the Amsterdam synagogue for his "intolerable" views and practices. Spinoza's most famous and provocative idea is that God is not the creator of the world, but that the world is part of God.

This is often identified as pantheism, the doctrine that God and the world are the same thing — which conflicts with both Jewish and Christian teachings. Pantheism can be traced back to ancient Greek thought: But although Spinoza — who admired many aspects of Stoicism — is regarded as the chief source of modern pantheism, he does, in fact, want to maintain the distinction between God and the world.

His originality lies in the nature of this distinction. God and the world are not two different entities, he argues, but two different aspects of a single reality.

Over the next few weeks we will examine this view in more detail and consider its implications for human life.

Since Spinoza presents a radical alternative to the Cartesian philosophy that has shaped our intellectual and cultural heritage, exploring his ideas may lead us to question some of our deepest assumptions.

Essay: Spinoza on the Existence of God

One of the most important and distinctive features of Spinoza's philosophy is that it is practical through and through. His ideas are never merely intellectual constructions, but lead directly to a certain way of life. This is evidenced by the fact that his greatest work, which combines metaphysics, theology, epistemology, and human psychology, is called Ethics.

In this book, Spinoza argues that the way to "blessedness" or "salvation" for each person involves an expansion of the mind towards an intuitive understanding of God, of the whole of nature and its laws. In other words, philosophy for Spinoza is like a spiritual practice, whose goal is happiness and liberation.

Baruch Spinoza, "Human Beings are Determined"

The ethical orientation of Spinoza's thought is also reflected in his own nature and conduct. Unlike most of the great philosophers, Spinoza has a reputation for living an exemplary, almost saintly life, characterised by modesty, gentleness, integrity, intellectual courage, disregard for wealth and a lack of worldly ambition.

According to Bertrand RussellSpinoza was "the noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers". Although his ideas were despised by many of his contemporaries, he attracted a number of devoted followers who gathered regularly at his home in Amsterdam to discuss his philosophy. These friends made sure that Spinoza's Ethics was published soon after his death in 1677.