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Spinoza's 'Ethics': An Introduction (Cambridge Introductions to Key Philosophical Texts) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I see no point in repeating what Nadler says about Spinoza. There are no obvious weak sections in the book, and the analyses of several themes are of very high quality. The discussion of Spinoza's atheism (so-called atheism?) is the best I have read in my (admittedly limited) foray into Spinoza scholarship. I was also very impressed with the chapters on Spinoza's theory of knowledge (Ch. 6) and virtue (Ch. 8). This is definitely first-rate philosophical commentary.
I do believe that this book is the best introduction to Spinoza. My study recommendations are as follows: (l) When reading the Ethics for the first time, read Nadler's book along side it. (2) On a second reading of the Ethics (and it should be read at least twice), read with it Bennett's rigorous work, A Study of Spinoza's Ethics. Upon completion of this demanding task one should have a working knowledge of one of the most difficult and important philosophers in the Western tradition.
Introductions to Spinoza vary greatly. Extremely short works such as Scruton's concise "Spinoza: A Very Short Introduction" or "Spinoza in 90 minutes" help to build a foundation but they may also leave lingering questions that only a larger work can answer. An excellent example of one such larger work is Steven Nadler's "Spinoza's Ethics: An Introduction." This book provides enough detail and background to help prepare the brave for an actual excursion into the primary text itself. It covers all aspects of the "Ethics" rigorously while remaining accessible to all but the absolute beginner.Read more ›
Related readings: Jonathan Israel's "Radical Enlightenment." A huge history book but really really good and it shows how Spinoza was everywhere. The author also put out a recent translation of Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise available also by Cambridge U. Press, and which is a great companion to the ethics (maybe even a better place to start with Spinoza than the tricky ethics).
If you want to go from Nadler's fine intro to the next step, read H. A. (Harry Austryn) Wolfson's canonical, authoritative, unparalleled historical study "The Philosophy of Spinoza." It's not in print but copies abound. There are two volumes (the unified edition is not worth it, it will crumble to pieces). Springing for hard-back is worth it, as you'll read the book many times. It is a fantastic resource on Spinoza. If you read French then Martial Geurault is the standard. For contemporary continental takes on Spinoza, see "The New Spinoza." Etienne Balibar's "Spinoza and Politics" is great too. Many people like Deleuze's reading of Spinoza - he has two books, a big one and a little one.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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