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Extended Audio Sample Ethics Audiobook, 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: September 2011 ISBN: 9781452674650
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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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Zarakoda | 1/5/2014

    " Will finish reading Spinoza later. Read part one and did not care for it much. One has to enjoy Spinoza immensely in order to decipher through all his proofs and dense writing style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 12/26/2013

    " Even though the book is titled 'Ethics', most of what Spinoza discusses in this text is now referred to as Metaphysics. i love it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 eesenor | 12/21/2013

    " Spinoza introduces his idea that God and the universe are one and the same, meaning that God has both a spiritual and a physical nature, and that every human is a piece of God. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cornélia | 11/20/2013

    " Trop puissant. bien sur je pense qu'une grande partie de sa theorie m'echappe et m'chappera toujours... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 11/17/2013

    " My favourite philosophy text of all time! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zach Burton | 10/25/2013

    " I would have given it four stars but it's hard to read. Surely not my fault. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steven Rivera | 10/22/2013

    " One of the most comprehensive books on ethics I have ever read. Spinoza is ones of the worlds great free-thinkers! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Simon | 10/15/2013

    " Reading this (again). Spinoza's third kind of knowledge as something radically irreducible to cap[italism's axiomatics? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Louise | 7/24/2013

    " Deserves to be re-read again and again, both the postulates and the proofs. A beacon to look to whenever feeling lost. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alert Holtman | 5/11/2013

    " Read the first 2 chapters, take it up sometimes, read a few pages. I think it is brilliant, but it's no easy reading. A lot of flipping back and forth. Imagine this guy in his own time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Boris | 4/5/2012

    " In the words of Schleirmacher: "Spinoza... the exiled wholy man whose essence was The Inifinite". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 2/28/2012

    " Although the format is weird, written in geometric style, the work is very comprehensive, and still very relevant to modern discussions on several topics. A classic of western philosophy and a great example of the transition between medieval and early modern thought. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 1/15/2012

    " Like a graduated version of Descartes's ontology, only much cleaner. And he's a Jew! Well, an excommunicated Jew. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen | 9/18/2011

    " Possibly one of the most difficult books I've ever read, which is saying a lot since i was a philosophy minor, but once I got it, it was boggling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonny Berglind | 8/29/2010

    " A beautiful idea about ethics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dory Badr | 7/4/2010

    " It's something that I advise many to read if that topic means something 2u. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kei | 2/5/2010

    " one of formidable works for recognising the history of modern philosophy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dconst3 | 11/21/2009

    " My favorite Philosophy book probably ever. Spinoza's Conception of God is one that even I can handle. His logical proofs are mind-numbingly beautiful as he explains an interesting form of determinism that I as of now, I am still unable to shake. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian Mathers | 10/7/2009

    " Unfortunately, either my preferred edition (from the Everyman Library) either isn't here or doesn't have an image. But this book may be my favourite work of philosophy, so why quibble? Beautiful, profound, wise and moving... if you can get through it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sean | 7/6/2009

    " I have great respect for Spinoza, but reading him makes my head hurt. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ian | 4/9/2008

    " Not my cup of tea. He makes all the mistakes Descartes made while being only slightly more interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jack | 12/26/2007

    " A sublime picture of the university and humanity's place within it. Even after discarding the outmoded ontology Spinoza utilizes, there is quite a bit that one can keep as a viable philosophy, if one were so inclined. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 christine | 8/19/2007

    " A reasonable faith depends on "our willingness to disband the temporal certainties for the permanent possibilities." Spinoza's view from nowhere is a scientist's heaven. This book is now crammed into my nightstand collection, along with other sacred texts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jaimi | 5/25/2007

    " My favorite book of philosophy, he is not brief, but does cover basically everything. Eat your heart out Kant... "

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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.

About the Narrator

Antony Ferguson was born in London. He has performed successfully on both sides of the Atlantic and has played many leading roles in theater, film, and television. He has over fifty audiobooks to his credit and is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner.