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Spinoza: Practical Philosophy Paperback – January 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers; First Edition in English edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872862186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872862180
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By toronto on March 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is one of two of Deleuze's main works on Spinoza, the other being "Expressionism in Philosophy" which is weightier. This is a series of short essays and one definition section, held together by Deleuzian interpretative flair. In this book one gets among the first intimations of what will be a major Deleuzian theme -- how immanence manifests itself in the power of bodies to compose and decompose themselves and each other as they interact. If one had to characterize Deleuze's Spinoza, I would say that it deliquesces the geometry, turns all the nouns into verbs -- that is, brings out the dynamics of what, on the surface, appears to be a static, pure, geometrical universe. It is hardly recommendable as a first introduction to Spinoza (head for Genevieve Lloyd or some of the recent intros instead), though the first chapter (a bio) is amusing and approachable.
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Format: Paperback
Spinoza: Practical Philosophy is one of two books Gilles Deleuze wrote about Spinoza, the other being Spinoza: Expressionism in Philosophy. While that book is a massive tome, well over four hundred pages in the English translation, this one is very short, almost a pamphlet. The reader had better be prepared for a level of difficulty the book's brevity does nothing to suggest; Spinoza: Practical Philosophy is not a suitable introduction to the philosopher.

Deleuze relates Spinoza's philosophy to the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Willem van Blijenbergh, a grain broker who corresponded with Spinoza in 1665 and questioned his concept of evil. Deleuze notes that Spinoza's letters to Blijenbergh are the only place where he "considers the problem of evil per se", making them of unique importance. Deleuze also provides a chapter defining Spinoza's main concepts in dictionary form; this is useful if the reader already has at least some familiarity with Spinoza, but baffling or frustrating otherwise. Deleuze explains that Spinoza sees consciousness as "transitive": "When a body 'encounters' another body, or an idea another idea, it happens that the two relations sometimes combine to form a more powerful whole, and sometimes one decomposes the other, destroying the cohesion of its parts...we experience joy when a body encounters ours and enters into composition with it, and sadness when, on the contrary, a body or an idea threatens our own coherence....Consciousness is the passage, or rather the awareness of the passage from these less potent totalities to the more potent ones, and vice versa."

Deleuze shows how composition works by using Spinoza's own example from the Bible: the apple that Adam eats in the Garden of Eden.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roger Summers on March 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is essential for anyone who wants to understand Spinoza and this "Practical" song will have you returning often. Dig-it!
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30 of 55 people found the following review helpful By John Scott Schwab on February 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you are familiar with philosophy, and if you are interested in Sponiza, than this book is a must. But it is not easy or light reading. What is amazing is how this book let's you into the philosopher's soul. Spinoza is the voice of reason and logic. Of course, he paid a horrible price for his belief that God can be sought out through reason and logic, as opposed to emotion and gut level feelings.

We are born with the fear of death. I wonder how Spinoza ever found the inner strength to keep on searching for God without the dual crutches of myth and the belief that there is a reward in the afterlife.

One last thing, and that is that most of the great and fearless men who signed the Constitution were diests. Without Spinoza's insights, the underlying belief in democracy, which is than men can discover TRUTH through reasoning and logic, would have never happened.
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More About the Author

Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) was professor of philosophy at the University of Paris, Vincennes-St. Denis. He coauthored Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus with Félix Guattari. These works, as well as Cinema 1, Cinema 2, The Fold, Proust and Signs, and others, are published in English by Minnesota.

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