Spinoza: A Very Short Introduction

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Spinoza: A Very Short Introduction

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Philosophy (17th century)


by: Roger Scruton

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This book does not explain Spinoza's thought, and it betrays the point of the series that it belongs to when it obstinately refuses to explicate Spinoza's works. This book should never have been published, and this will no doubt be its final printing. Spinoza is the pivotal philosopher who mediates between early modern philosophy and that of the Enlightenment period, which he belonged to as one of its most important players. Luckily, other modestly priced and thorough accounts of Spinoza already exist: the Cambridge Companion to Spinoza (from which Scruton is noticably absent) and the wonderfully researched biography entitled Spinoza: A Life, by Steven Nadler. This latter book follows in the methodological footseps of the medievalist historian Johan Huizinga, who wrote such benchmark books on intellectual history as Erasmus and the Age of Reformation and The Autumn of the Middle Ages. A third book to consider, one that places elements of Spinoza's philosophy in the proper context of his Enlightenment contemporaries, is Jonathan Israel's book Radical Enlightenment. Spinoza's thought has recently been revived in other countries, most notably in France, and for this reason his work and its influence are currently being taught at the university level in humanities departments as diverse as film studies, literature, and of course philosophy. The essential work to own by Spinoza is his Ethics, edited, translated and annotated by the scholar GHR Parkinson. However, other texts of Spinoza have also attracted increased attention, notably in "The New Spinoza" (Univ Minnesota P) and Antonio Negri's "Savage Anomaly."

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Baruch Spinoza on Wikipedia

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