Read On the Improvement of the Understanding: v. 2 by Baruch Spinoza Free Online
Book Title: On the Improvement of the Understanding: v. 2|
Date of issue: November 20th 2012
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: Baruch Spinoza
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 39.94 MB
Edition: Dover Publications
Read full description of the books On the Improvement of the Understanding: v. 2:It is unfortunate that a lot of good philosophical thinking is undone by a few bad presuppositions. Such is the case with Benedictus de Spinoza's On the Improvement of the Understanding. This booklet is a great example of the extreme confidence in human rationality which characterized the Enlightenment (though it is not light reading)
For example, "The mind, in paying attention to a thing hypothetical or false, so as to meditate upon it and understand it, and derive the proper conclusions in due order therefrom, will readily discover its falsity"
"if we proceed with as little abstraction as possible, and begin from primary elements -- that is, from the source and origin of nature, as far back as we can reach -- we need not fear any deceptions"
In other words, if you think about something long enough, you can figure out what is false. This idea is patently false itself. Karl Marx thought about Marxism for a long, long time and STILL thought it would work.
What I thought was telling is that even this early in the age of confidence in reason, Spinoza has already realized that he needs an unshakable foundation to argue from. For the religious person, this is faith. But modern folks have forgotten Spinoza's lesson, that you can't know anything unless you can know something without doubt. And as Hume later shows, and Nietzsche with him, there is no way to prove anything without doubt.
My favorite quote is this
"happiness or unhappiness is made wholly dependent on the quality of the object which we love."
Read information about the authorBaruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher. The breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until many years after his death. By laying the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and, arguably, the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy.
His magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, in which he opposed Descartes' mind–body dualism, has earned him recognition as one of Western philosophy's most important thinkers. In the Ethics, "Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely."
Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said of all contemporary philosophers, "You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all."
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