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Extended Audio Sample Ethics, by Benedict de Spinoza Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00052673163023 out of 53.00052673163023 out of 53.00052673163023 out of 53.00052673163023 out of 53.00052673163023 out of 5 3.00 (3,797 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Benedict de Spinoza Narrator: Antony Ferguson Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Benedict de Spinoza’s Ethics, first published in 1677, constitutes a major systematic critique of the traditional and religious foundations of philosophical thought. In it, Spinoza follows a logical step-by-step format consisting of definitions, axioms, propositions, proofs, and corollaries to create a comprehensive inquiry into the truth about God, nature, and humans’ place within the universe. From these broad metaphysical themes, Spinoza derives what he considered to be the highest principles of religion and society and lays out an ethical system in which reason is the supreme value.

A seminal contribution to seventeenth-century rationalism, Ethics refutes the dualism of René Descartes and provides a bridge between religion and modern-day psychology. This edition is the translation by R. H. M. Elwes.

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Aaron Terrazas | 1/31/2014

    " There are some excellent parts but overall too formalistic and abstract for me to grasp. You should be pretty smart to read this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mark Desrosiers | 1/31/2014

    " I remember being fascinated by this as I read it: a system of ethics getting demonstrated logically. Like math! And I think you'll only enjoy it if you're also a math/logic geek. But... even if not, it's a fascinating tour of the brainpaths inside the weirdest lens-grinder who ever lived. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ronny | 1/28/2014

    " I'm not sure which edition/translation of this book I read... The book's title is somewhat misleading,as what Spinoza presents his his own system of happiness from first principles. He asks the question "what is the greatest good and how to achieve it?" and tries to answer it using a rigorous axiomatic method. Unfortunately, at times he seems to play word games (like his definition of God), makes leaps of logic and uses terms in a different way, which hinders understanding. If you read any edition of this book, I recommend one that includes some of his shorter letters, as they help provide a snapshot view of where he is trying to go, which can aid in understanding this work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Paul Bond | 1/12/2014

    " I idealized philosophy as the art of progressing from mundane, obvious facts to grand cosmic conclusions, all made unanswerable through the authority of logic. I now see that this is a fantasy of philosophy, though never more alluring than in Spinoza's Ethics. In a relatively small book patterned after Euclid's Elements, Spinoza lays claim to not only deep knowledge of the universe, but certain knowledge. It is difficult to keep from being swept up in Spinoza's audacious project. Here, he proves God exists. (But a God that pays us no mind). There, Spinoza dispels all contingency from the universe. (But insists on individual moral responsibility). Good, evil, freedom, knowledge, and fate... Spinoza hits all the fundamental issues in rapid-fire. In the years since, load-bearing elements of his logical process have been debunked. More important to me, his bottom line conclusions are totally unworkable. If life is just a matter of watching the necessary unfold, action and commitment would be drained of all dignity. As stunning as Spinoza's work is, it supports only one mode of life (the contemplative) and fails as a complete model for human endeavor. Essential but not sufficient. "

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About the Author

Benedict de Spinoza (1632–1677) was a Dutch philosopher who came to be known as one of the great rationalists of the seventeenth century. Born into a Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam, Spinoza was excommunicated from this society at age twenty-three. His most famous work, Ethics, was published posthumously; he is also the author of the Theological-Political Treatise, published in 1670. Spinoza’s work laid the groundwork for the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, and has influenced such wide-ranging later thinkers as George Eliot, Freidrich Nietzsche, Immanuel Kant, and Albert Einstein.