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Philosophy Of Benedict De Spinoza
ISBN13: 9780548386415
ISBN: 0548386412
List Price: $37.95
Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC

PHILOSOPHY of BENEDICT DE SPINOZA Translated from the Latin by R. H. M. ELWES With An Introduction by FRANK SEWALL, M. A. TUDOR PUBLISHING CO. NBW YOKK INTRODUCTION IN THE wave of philosophical inquiry which swept over Europe in the middle of the seventeenth century and is regarded as the beginning of a new, scientific age of the world, there were two controlling, but divergent forces, those namely represented by Bacon and Descartes, the first the founder of the experimental and the latter the idealistic or dogmatic method of philosophizing. From the former we may trace a continuous influence through Locke, Berkeley, Hume down to Mill, Spencer, Darwin, and Huxley from the latter the development of the modern idealism represented by Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Lotze. A potent factor in the latter development was the philosophy of Spinoza 1632 1677 which had its roots ill both Bacon 1561 1626 his immediate predecessor and Descartes his contemporary 1596 1650 and, leaving its immediate impress on Leibnitz his successor 1646 1716 even to day is traceable in schools of thought of widening influence. From Bacon he conceived the idea of a novunt organum or new method of learning which should be applicable to the laws , of human conduct as well as to the processes of nature. Inspired by the love of Des cartes mathematics he resolved to construct, after the plan of a geometrical science, a complete system of the knowledge of God, of th universe and of man. Human nature, he says, obeys fixed laws no less than do the figures of Geometry. I will therefore write about human beings as though I were concerned with lines and planes and solids. And hence it is that we have in Spinozas Ethics a treatise consisting of Axioms, Propo sitions, and Demonstrations like the Geometry of Euclid v vi SPINOZA It is this combination in Spinoza of the severe posi tivism of the empiricists with a deep subjectivity and an enthusiasm of piety belonging to only a most reli gious nature, that gives him a unique and leading place in the history of philosophy. Willing to regard the universe, including man, as a system of pure mechanics, his contention is that the mechanics itself is spiritual and all is divine. Together with this profoundly spirit ual motive in his thinking must be reckoned also his bold and heroic contest for the freedom of philosophizing, if we would account for the growing admiration and love which, two centuries after his death, make his influence more potent than during his lifetime. His voluntary martyrdom in the cause of free thought was exhibited not only in the persecution and obloquy which he suf fered from his own kin in his excommunication from the Synagogue in his twenty fourth year, and in his later condemnation by Christian authorities of Church and State, but equally in his refusing, in the day of his later prosperity and growing renown, the tempting offers of royal and university honors and emoluments, lest his freedom of teaching should thereby be hampered. More singular than all is the distinction which Spinoza enjoys of being a Pantheist whose religion is so devout, hum ble, and full of love as to be an inspiring example to many sects of orthodox believers, and of being a Monist whose One is not nature but God. Born in Amsterdam in the year 1632 of Jewish parents who were refugees from the Spanish persecution, Baruch Despinoza grew up to become aware of the conflict of the narrow and rigid rules of the synagogue with the free Latin culture around him. At the same time lie was stirred by the monotheistic instincts of his Semitic nature to revolt against all forms of dualism and idolatry. His reverence for the Scriptures led him to rebuke the Phariseeism that would kill the spirit in dogmatic ad herence to the literal meaning of the law. More and more restless tinder the irksome formalism of the syna gogue he at last declared his open revolt, which not even bribes nor the threats of disinheritance by his parents...