Essays on Spinoza's Ethical Theory

ISBN : 9780199657537

Matthew J. Kisner; Andrew Youpa
304 Pages
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
Apr 2014
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Thirteen original essays by leading scholars explore aspects of Spinoza's ethical theory and, in doing so, deepen our understanding of the richly rewarding core of his system. Given its importance to his philosophical ambitions, it is surprising that his ethics has, until recently, received relatively little scholarly attention. Anglophone philosophy has tended to focus on Spinoza's contribution to metaphysics and epistemology, while philosophy in continental Europe has tended to show greater interest in his political philosophy. This tendency is problematic not only because it overlooks a central part of Spinoza's project, but also because it threatens to present a distorted picture of his philosophy. Moreover, Spinoza's ethics, like other branches of his philosophy, is complex, difficult, and, at times, paradoxical. The essays in this volume advance our understanding of his ethics and also help us to appreciate it as the centerpiece of his system. In addition to resolving interpretive difficulties and advancing longstanding debates, these essays point the direction for future research. Spinoza's enduring contribution to the development of ethical theory, to early modern philosophy, and indeed to early modern history generally, provide us with good reason to follow the lead of these essays.


The Ethics in Spinoza's Ethics
The Lives of Others: Spinoza on Benevolence as a Rational Virtue
Spinozistic Constructivism
Politics and Ethics in Spinoza: The Problem of Normativity
Spinoza on the Life According to Nature
Spinoza on Being Human and Human Perfection
Spinoza, the Body, and the Good Life
Man is a God to Man: How Human Beings Can Be Adequate Causes
Following a Recta Ratio Vivendi: The Practical Utility of Spinoza's Dictates of Reason
Necessity and the Commands of Reason in the Ethics
Desire and Good in Spinoza
From Ordinary Life to Blessedness: The Power of Intuitive Knowledge in Spinoza's Ethics
Spinoza on Virtue and Eternity

About the author: 

Andrew Youpa is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the author of articles on Spinoza's ethical theory, and articles on the ethical theories of Descartes and Leibniz. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Irvine. ; Matthew J. Kisner is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina. His research focuses on the history of early modern ethics, particularly issues pertaining to freedom, agency and the passions. He is the author of Spinoza on Human Freedom: Reason, Autonomy and the Good Life (Cambridge University Press, 2011). He earned his PhD from the University of California, San Diego.

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