Baruch Spinoza

Baruch Spinoza
Anonymous - Portret van Baruch de Spinoza - MB01920 - Jewish Museum.jpg
Baruch Espinosa[1] /
Bento de Spinosa[2]

(1632-11-24)24 November 1632
Died21 February 1677(1677-02-21) (aged 44)
The Hague, Dutch Republic
Other namesBenedictus de Spinoza
EducationTalmud Torah of Amsterdam[3]
University of Leiden
(no degree)[5]
Era17th-century philosophy
Age of Enlightenment
RegionWestern philosophy
Foundationalism (according to Hegel)[7]
Direct realism[9]
Correspondence theory of truth[a][11]
Main interests
Ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, Hebrew Bible
Benedictus de Spinoza - Letter in Latin to Johannes Georgius Graevius (Epistolae 49), 14 December 1664 - Signature.jpg

Baruch (de) Spinoza[13][b] (24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677)[20][21] was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese-Jewish origin,[22] born in Amsterdam and mostly known under the Latinized pen name Benedictus de Spinoza. One of the foremost and seminal thinkers of the Enlightenment,[20][23] modern biblical criticism,[24] and 17th-century Rationalism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe,[25] he came to be considered "one of the most important philosophers—and certainly the most radical—of the early modern period".[26] Inspired by Stoicism, Jewish Rationalism, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Descartes, and a variety of heterodox religious thinkers of his day,[21] Spinoza became a leading philosophical figure of the Dutch Golden Age.

Spinoza was raised in the Portuguese-Jewish community of Amsterdam. He developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine.[27] Jewish religious authorities issued a herem (חרם‎) against him, causing him to be effectively expelled and shunned by Jewish society at age 23, including by his own family. He was frequently called an "atheist" by contemporaries, although nowhere in his work does Spinoza argue against the existence of God.[28][29][30] Spinoza lived an outwardly simple life as an optical lens grinder, collaborating on microscope and telescope lens designs with Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens. He turned down rewards and honours throughout his life, including prestigious teaching positions. He died at the age of 44 in 1677 from a lung illness, perhaps tuberculosis or silicosis exacerbated by the inhalation of fine glass dust while grinding lenses. He is buried in the Christian churchyard of Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague.[31] In June 1678—just over a year after Spinoza's death—the States of Holland banned his entire works, since they "contain very many profane, blasphemous and atheistic propositions." The prohibition included the owning, reading, distribution, copying, and restating of Spinoza's books, and even the reworking of his fundamental ideas.[32] Shortly after (1679/1690) his books were added to the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books.[33]

Spinoza's philosophy encompasses nearly every area of philosophical discourse, including metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. It earned Spinoza an enduring reputation as one of the most important and original thinkers of the seventeenth century. Spinoza's philosophy is largely contained in two books: the Theologico-Political Treatise, and the Ethics. The rest of the writings we have from Spinoza are either earlier or incomplete works expressing thoughts that were crystallized in the two aforementioned books (e.g., the Short Treatise and the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect), or else they are not directly concerned with Spinoza's own philosophy (e.g., The Principles of Cartesian Philosophy and The Hebrew Grammar). He also left behind many letters that help to illuminate his ideas and provide some insight into what may have been motivating his views.[34] The Theologico-Political Treatise was published during his lifetime, but the work which contains the entirety of his philosophical system in its most rigorous form, the Ethics, was published posthumously in the year of his death. The work opposed Descartes's philosophy of mind–body dualism and earned Spinoza recognition as one of Western philosophy's most important thinkers.[35]

  1. ^ a b Nadler 1999, p. 45.
  2. ^ Nadler 1999, p. 119.
  3. ^ Nadler 1999, p. 64.
  4. ^ Nadler 1999, p. 65.
  5. ^ Steven Nadler, Spinoza and Medieval Jewish Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 27: "Spinoza attended lectures and anatomical dissections at the University of Leiden..."
  6. ^ Yitzhak Y. Melamed (ed.), The Young Spinoza: A Metaphysician in the Making, Oxford University Press, 2015, ch. 7 Archived 1 January 2023 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ James Kreines, Reason in the World: Hegel's Metaphysics and Its Philosophical Appeal, Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 25: "Spinoza's foundationalism (Hegel argues) threatens to eliminate all determinate reality, leaving only one indeterminate substance."
  8. ^ Stefano Di Bella, Tad M. Schmaltz (eds.), The Problem of Universals in Early Modern Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2017, p. 64 "there is a strong case to be made that Spinoza was a conceptualist about universals..."
  9. ^ Michael Della Rocca (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Spinoza, Oxford University Press, 2017, p. 288.
  10. ^ "The Coherence Theory of Truth (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". Archived from the original on 1 November 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  11. ^ David, Marian (28 May 2015). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). Correspondence theory of truth – The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  12. ^ Vittorio Morfino (14 November 2018). Spinoza-Machiavelli Encounter: Time and Occasion. Edinburgh University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-4744-2125-6. OCLC 1233303557.
  13. ^ Jonathan Israel in his various works on the Enlightenment, e.g., Israel, Jonathan (2001). Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650–1750. (in the index "Spinoza, Benedict (Baruch) de") and Israel, Jonathan (2011). Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights 1750–1790.
  14. ^ "Spinoza". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  15. ^ ""Baruch"".
  16. ^ ""Spinoza"". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 27 April 2019.)
  17. ^ Nadler 1999, p. 42.
  18. ^ Nadler 2001, p. 1.
  19. ^ Nadler, Steven (2022), "Baruch Spinoza", in Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2022 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, retrieved 20 November 2022
  20. ^ a b Richard H. Popkin, Benedict de Spinoza at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  21. ^ a b Dutton, Blake D. "Benedict De Spinoza (1632–1677)". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  22. ^ Cite error: The named reference tws908 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  23. ^ Yalom, Irvin (21 February 2012). "The Spinoza Problem". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  24. ^ Yovel, Yirmiyahu (1992). Spinoza and Other Heretics: The Adventures of Immanence. Princeton University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0691020795.
  25. ^ "Destroyer and Builder". The New Republic. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  26. ^ Nadler, Steven (16 April 2020). "Baruch Spinoza". In Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  27. ^ "Spinoza on God, Affects, and the Nature of Sorrow – Florida Philosophical Review". Retrieved 29 October 2022.
  28. ^ Stewart 2007, p. 352.
  29. ^ Simkins, James (2014). "On the Development of Spinoza's Account of Human Religion". Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies. 5 (1).
  30. ^ Jones, Tod E. "Benedict de Spinoza". Unpublished Essays by an Impoverished Scholar (PDF).
  31. ^ de Spinoza, Benedictus; Hessing, Siegfried (1977). Speculum Spinozanum, 1677–1977. Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 828. ISBN 9780710087164.
  32. ^ See: Jonathan Israel, "The Banning of Spinoza's Works in the Dutch Republic (1670–1678)", in: Wiep van Bunge and Wim Klever (eds.) Disguised and Overt Spinozism around 1700 (Leiden, 1996), pp. 3–14 (online Archived 28 September 2022 at the Wayback Machine).
  33. ^ P. TOTARO, "The Young Spinoza and the Vatican Manuscript of Spinoza’s Ethics", in The Young Spinoza. A Metaphysician in the Making, ed. by YITZHAK Y. MELAMED, New York, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 319–332 at 321–2.
  34. ^ Shirley, Samuel (2002). Complete Works. Hackett.
  35. ^ Scruton 2002, p. 32.

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