A profoundly beautiful and uniquely insightful description of the universe, Benedict de Spinoza's "Ethics" is one of the masterpieces of Enlightenment-era philosophy. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited and translated from the Latin by Edwin Curley, with an introduction by Stuart Hampshire. Published shortly after his death, the "Ethics" is undoubtedly Spinoza's greatest work - an elegant, fully cohesive cosmology derived from first principles, providing a coherent picture of reality, and a guide to the meaning of an ethical life. Following a logical step-by-step format, it defines in turn the nature of God, the mind, the emotions, human bondage to the emotions, and the power of understanding - moving from a consideration of the eternal, to speculate upon humanity's place in the natural order, the nature of freedom and the path to attainable happiness. A powerful work of elegant simplicity, the "Ethics" is a brilliantly insightful consideration of the possibility of redemption through intense thought and philosophical reflection. "The Ethics" is presented in the standard translation of the work by Edwin Curley. This edition also includes an introduction by Stuart Hampshire, outlining Spinoza's philosophy and placing it in context. Baruch Spinoza (1632-77), later known as Benedict de Spinoza, was born in Amsterdam, where his orthodox Jewish family had fled from persecution in Portugal. "Ethics" was published in 1677 after his death, and his influence spread to the nineteenth century: inspiring the Romantic poets, winning the respect of Flaubert and Matthew Arnold, and moving George Eliot, who admired him as the enemy of superstition and the hero of scientific rationalism, to begin a translation of his works. If you enjoyed "Ethics", you might like Rene Descartes' "Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings", also available in "Penguin Classics". "The noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers ...ethically he is supreme". (Bertrand Russell).
Benedict de Spinoza was born in Amsterdam in 1632, where his orthodox Jewish family had fled from persecution in Portugal. Spinoza was expelled from the synagogue for his heterodox philosophy, and earned his living as an optical-lens grinder. He identified God with nature and denied the possibility of an act of creation. Ethics was published in 1677 after his death and explored a doctrine which inspired the Romantic poets. Edwin Curley is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan and editor and translator of Spinoza's Collected Works. Stuart Hampshire was elected a Fellow of All Souls in 1936 and was a tutor in philosophy. He has held numerous presitigious academic posts.