mtvessel: (Default)
July 2014
Ethics - Benedictus de Spinoza, tr. Andrew Boyle - Heron Books, 1971
* * *
At the age of twenty-three, Spinoza was excommunicated from the Jewish community in Amsterdam, ostensibly for heresy. I think it was because he was annoying. The Ethics is full of bold propositions about God, mind and the emotions, expressed as Euclidean-style proofs with a smug little Q.e.d. at the end of each one. He must have been infuriating to argue with, so certain of his own correctness and reason, refusing to listen to arguments based on anything else. I imagine him as an unholy combination of Richard Dawkins and Jeremy Clarkson.

Which is not to say that I don't admire him and the intellectual edifice that is the
Ethics. There are some very interesting and thought-provoking ideas and I like the logical way in which it is set out. Some of his arguments are in my view specious or dependent on unstated assumptions, but one has to admire his ambition.
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