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Spinoza (The Routledge Philosophers) [Kindle Edition]

Michael Della Rocca
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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  • Print ISBN-10: 0415283299
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0415283298
  • Edition: 1
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Book Description

Renowned for his metaphysics, Spinoza made significant contributions to understanding the human mind, the emotions, moral philosophy, and political philosophy.
Beginning with an overview of Spinoza's life, Michael Della Rocca carefully unpacks and explains Spinoza's philosophy: his metaphysics of substance and argument at the center of his whole system that God is the sole independent substance; his account of the human mind and its relation to the body; his theory that human beings tend towards self-preservation and his most famous work, the Ethics, including the problem of free will; and his writings on the state, religion and scripture.

Della Rocca concludes with a chapter on Spinoza's legacy and how modern philosophers, Hume, Hegel, and Nietzsche, responded to Spinoza's challenge. Ideal for those coming to Spinoza for the first time as well as those already acquainted with his thought, Spinoza is essential reading for anyone studying philosophy.

Editorial Reviews


'In his Spinoza, Michael Della Rocca has performed a service for those seeking a thorough, accessible and engaging overview of Spinoza’s life and philosophy. …unquestionably the best general introduction to Spinoza’s overall philosophy since Henry Allison’s Benedict de Spinoza: An Introduction, published over twenty years ago.' - Times Literary Supplement

'Spinoza offers highly original, often brilliant scholarship and will be an indispensable resource for undergraduates.'  - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

'An absolutely fantastic book. Della Rocca has succeeded in making Spinoza’s notoriously difficult thought accessible to a general audience without sacrificing any of the conceptual complexity and rigors that makes Spinoza such a good philosopher.' - Martin Lin, University of Toronto, Canada

'This is an exciting, interesting, and highly-readable book on Spinoza. Della Rocca offers a bold thesis: that Spinoza's philosophy results from persistently applying the principle of sufficient reason to absolutely everything - so, in short, there can be no dumb luck, no brute facts. Della Rocca successfully uses this thesis to illuminate the basics of Spinoza's philosophy, and to extend several scholarly discussions in new and interesting directions. His book will instruct both beginning and advanced students of Spinoza.' - Charles Hueneman, Utah State University


About the Author

Michael Della Rocca is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Yale University.  He is the author of Representation and the Mind Body Problem in Spinoza, and our numerous articles in early modern philosophy and contemporary metaphysics. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 452 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (June 30, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SMD1E2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,312 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in Spinoza February 27, 2011
By spinoza
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a student of Spinoza's work for over 30 years now, and I can almost say without hesitation this is the best general study of Spinoza I've encountered. I say "almost" only because there have been so many other really, really good books on Spinoza appearing in the past decade, so using "best" here is not done lightly. Among these books are Steven Nadler's important studies of Spinoza, as well as--heaven forbid--more accessible, popular works by the likes of Rebecca Goldstein, Antonio Damasio, Jonathan Israel, and Matthew Stewart (The Courtier and the Heretic), not to mention the veritable cottage industry of scholarly articles on Spinoza's thought. The only reason I can think of for Della Rocca's lucid tome not getting more attention is it coming from an academic publisher without the same distribution clout and marketing savvy as the heavyweights. It is certainly not because of the work itself, which is highly recommended for both those new to Spinoza as well as for scholars versed in the Spinoza literature.

Unlike the other mentioned works, this is a real work of philosophy focusing squarely on elucidating the essence of Spinoza's thought. What makes it different from other philosophical studies, however, is its eminently readable style. Della Rocca takes pains to make Spinoza's thought intelligible to the non-specialist, and in so doing helps us to understand why Spinoza is so important and relevant for us today. Unlike other studies of Spinoza, Della Rocca begins not by telling us how "difficult" Spinoza is, but rather by letting us know that, armed with a few key concepts, Spinoza is not only accessible, but also intellectually fascinating to read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I finally get it. March 2, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Critics compared the works of the philosopher William James to those of his novelist brother, Henry, thus: "William James writes like a novelist, and his brother writes like a philosopher." It was not intended as a compliment to Henry, nor to philosophers. Well, for the most part, Michael Della Rocca - Chair of Philosophy at Yale - does NOT write like a philosopher. And what's equally important is that he offers a key - the "Principle of Sufficient Reason" - which has made understanding the core of Spinoza's philosophy much clearer for me.

I would have given the book 5 stars except for those instances when Della Rocca (a philosopher himself, after all) falls back on the jargon. But those are few and have not deterred me from enjoying the book. If you are interested in, but struggling with, understanding the thinking of the ultimate rationalist, I recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Clear Writer April 13, 2013
By Mike
Professor Della Rocca---Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Yale University---is an incredible authority on Spinoza who writes with unusual clarity. So long as you have a copy of Spinoza's "Ethics," I would recommend this book for the Spinoza novice and expert alike.
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Really this is an excellent discussion of Spinoza and is clarifying and helpful. I gave it four stars because it could be much clearer still with better editing and with less presumptions- Della Rocca does not always clearly explain his terms, even fundamental ones like "intelligibility", "principle of sufficient reason", "naturalism" and "rationalism". I also think he relied on simply ascribing Spinoza's views to "naturalism" or "the PSR" too often, when clear plain language explanation of the logic would create a better flow of reasoning.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Spinoza? November 23, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I always enjoy reading about Spinoza, our first modern philosopher, who wrote about Deus sive Natura and on toleration. Spinoza was afraid of publishing his own work, because of the lack of toleration by religious groups. His own publisher changed the name of the publisher (inventing one) and The Ethics was published after his death, so that nobody would persecute him while alive. Excommunicated by his own Jewish colleagues, called an atheist by all Christian religious people, Spinoza was ahead of his time'. This book is not one of the best. The author, a professor at Yale, is obviously religious, and manages to write a book on Spinoiza without mentioning his Deus sive natura, and leaves one to wonder whether he has ever read Spinoza before. The book therefore has important omissions, and there are better books on Spinoza himself, including one written by a Jewish woman (for a Jewish audience)..n the present book, you do not meet Spinoza, but only what some people would like to see in Spinoza. It makes a difference.
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