Spinoza   Ethics
Spinoza's grand system proceeds in the manner of Euclid's
geometry, establishing axioms and definitions and building a series
of propositions.  At times the logic is questionable -- Spinoza's proof
that God exists could just as easily be used to establish the
existence of Santa Claus.   But the overall sweep and majesty of the
system is undeniable.  The lengthy sections on human emotions
provide perhaps the most acute commentary on this subject until
the rise of modern psychological theory, and the attempt to ground
ethical behavior on a vision that renounces the theological
foundations of previous systematizers anticipates a range of later
thinkers, from Kant to Rawls.   


WEB RESOURCES

The text of Spinoza's Ethics is available in a version with useful,
clickable links, prepared by
Ron Bombardi

Bombardi has provided links to other useful Spinoza documents
and resources at www.mtsu.edu/~rbombard/RB/spinoza.new.html

See the parody
"Spinoza as Auto Mechanic"

Perfect for youngsters . . . the Spinoza action figure.   And why
shouldn't  philosophers be superheroes?

Explore the connections between Spinoza's philosophy and
pantheism.
TIPS FOR READERS

No translation
succeeds in making
Spinoza's system
reader-friendly.  The
poetry here lies in
the over-arching
vision rather than in
fine turns of phrase.  
I found
Andrew
Boyle's
translation
acceptable, but I
also consulted
Edwin
Curley's often used
version
, available in A
Spinoza Reader --
an inexpensive
collection that
includes many of
Spinoza's other key
works.


A MODERN TWIST . . .

Matthew Stewart has
artfully written about
the brief meeting
and long-standing
debate between
Spinoza and Leibniz
in his highly
readable
The
Courtier and the
Heretic
.  He makes
the case that the
ideological
foundations of
secular modernism
were first given clear
expression by
Spinoza, just as
Leibniz anticipated
the response to
modernism by
Christian
traditionalists.