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Spinoza (The Routledge Philosophers) by [Rocca, Michael Della]
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Spinoza (The Routledge Philosophers) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 356 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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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)
  • Publication Date: June 30, 2008
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SMD1E2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,850 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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