Ethics (Penguin Classics)

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Published shortly after his death in 1677, Ethics is undoubtedly Spinoza’s greatest work—a fully cohesive philosophical system that strives to provide a coherent picture of reality and to comprehend the meaning of an ethical life. Following a logical step-by-step format, it defines in turn the nature of God, the mind, human bondage to the emotions, and the power of understanding, moving from a consideration of the eternal to speculate upon humanity’s place in the natural order, freedom, and the path to attainable happiness. A powerful work of elegant simplicity, Ethics is a brilliantly insightful consideration of the possibility of redemption through intense thought and philosophical reflection.
First time in Penguin Classics
Edwin Curley's translation is considered definitive
Inlcudes an introduction outlining Spinoza's philosophy and placing it in context

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140435719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140435719
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces

Customer Reviews

Philosophy by a Master

88 people found this helpful.
 on September 30, 2007
By James Leis
Ethics is a towering work by an absolute genius, a mathematical definitive explanation of G~d, the universe and man’s place in it. Read it not because you think you must fight through `great philosophy’, but for its beautiful symmetry of ground breaking rational thought. I eagerly recommend this work to anyone interested in exploring their thoughts on philosophy, religion and psychology. If anything, Ethics obtains renewed relevance in the post-modern 21st century and its unfolding events.

Unsurpassed brilliance

28 people found this helpful.
 on December 17, 2007
By Charles Gidley Wheeler
It seems almost impertinent of me to review Spinoza’s masterpiece. I would give it ten stars if I could.

Understanding Ethics before judging it

44 people found this helpful.
 on May 31, 2011
By Philonous
The bad reviews may seem intimidating, but in actuality most of them are complaining about the kindle versions. However the rest of the bad reviews are not even worth reading either because they are written by pretentious and arrogant reviewers who think they understand Spinoza’s ethics but obviously do not or because the reviewers are intellectually lazy that it’s doubtful that they read additional scholarly sources that explains Spinoza’s Ethics. It’s discouraging that this book gets three stars (I will admit that the kindle version isn’t very good), simply because some intellectually half-ass reviewers hardly tried to understand the context of Spinoza’s philosophy.

Practical philosophy, Immanent philosophy

6 people found this helpful.
 on November 21, 2014
By Eric Scrivner
Spinoza’s “Ethics” is first and foremost a practical philosophy for everyday living. And for the deep sense of acceptance and joy I experienced during and after reading it – I can say it was definitely worth the read. It’s also, however, a work of sustained philosophical brilliance. A philosophy of immanence, in which economy of principles prevails as an attempt is made to explain existence through one single thing – Substance/God/Nature, three words for this one thing. There is no Cartesian mind/body dualism here, but instead a philosophy that seeks to show how to mind and body are united. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say the book is great and challenging thoughtscape.

Spinoz’s Ethics

20 people found this helpful.
 on October 4, 2007
By Spacejam
Spinoza worked through his ideas using his mathematical background. He diligently recorded his postulates in a very studied order. Remember, he wrote this in the 1600’s under trying circumstances.


5 people found this helpful.
 on March 6, 2015
By Greg
In this short but beautiful work, the great modern philosopher Spinoza sets out a comprehensive theory of the world, God, human nature, vice and virtue, and the path to true happiness.

Philosophy at it’s finest…

 on July 6, 2016
By Kindle Customer
Spinoza was, and will most likely always will be, one of the greatest philosophers. Ethics is the most comprehensive treatise on the human mind and how it is the core of every aspect of our lives. Breaking down emotions, beliefs, reactions and why we experience them. His logic and presentation is hard to find fault with. It’s not the easiest book to read, but well worth it if you take the time to really comprehend the full picture. T just goes to show that a 17th century mind was no less advanced than any of the great thinkers of modern day. You don’t have to agree with every philosophy within the pages to truly enjoy the beauty of its well thought out explanation. Recommended to anyone who likes to keep an open mind and learn from other peoples perspectives.

A unique philosophy on the mind body duality through a ‘mechanical’ God whose affects extend to the creation of human beings.

One person found this helpful.
 on November 14, 2016
By Ronnie Lee
This book is deemed to be important by many influential people like Albert Einstein and I can understand why as it takes on a huge subject matter with excellent rationalities, logics and explanations. Benedict De Spinoza explains the mind body duality under a type of ‘mechanical’ God and not a personal God like in Christianity or other major religions. This universal God has an essence and substance that can distribute attributes that can extend from the mind to the body. The mind is eternal in parts and this ‘intellect’ has three types of knowledge to form its thoughts, confused, clear and distinct and Godly. However this universal God has some bad values as stated by Spinoza as rights and reasons can be exchanged to threats and vengeances. Spinoza explains many values and their affects of psychology and morality of the individual. He explains the good and evil in these affects and values. Some of which I can disagree with but this explains the values of this mechanical God of Spinoza. It can be deemed a bit ‘atheistic’ but it is considered ‘pantheistic’. This work has helped me to develop my own understanding of the mind body duality relating it to a type of mind control programming through artificial or mechanical constructs. There are parts of ‘Ethics’ that are really enjoyable and enlightening but some parts that can be deemed as almost blasphemous to the real God and this may show Spinoza as some kind of false prophet or gatekeeper to a darker realm of existential being. However as a philosophy I have to give it a high score because of the deep and intellectual reasoning that is created by Spinoza. It creates a clear and distinct understanding of a geometrical operation of a mechanical God and the affects that this has on humans in psychology, morality and being. In this case it is an excellent and even glorious work of a great philosopher.

Geometric Philosophy

6 people found this helpful.
 on November 11, 2009
By Steiner
Spinoza’s Ethics is perhaps the first major response to the radical Cartesianism of his period. Although published posthumously (and considered a curiosity by many of Spinoza’s closest friends), the Ethics quickly became the center of metaphysical and epistemological attention in Europe. Drawing from a constellation of axioms, Spinoza constructs an elaborate geometrical castle of metaphysical thinking. This beautiful work of inquiry effectively overturns much of Cartesian conceptions of causality and has effectively been canonized as the essential alternative to Kantian epistemology. Spinoza’s thinking of substance, attributes, and modes, has remained an indispensable source of joy and bliss for major philosophers. This enticing and difficult text remains a major source of philosophical writing and debate. Curley’s translation is still the best in English.

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