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History
IN OUR TIME'S GREATEST PHILOSOPHER VOTE
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GREATEST PHILOSOPHER

 
Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)
advocated by Susan James

 Listen to Susan James say why you should vote for Baruch Spinoza

'Ignorance is no argument.'

Baruch Spinoza. A humble man who made his living grinding lenses for glasses and telescopes Spinoza was the most influential supporter of Pantheism, the belief that God exists in everything.

His theories were encapsulated in the formula "Deus sive natura" (God, otherwise Nature).

A Dutch philosopher born of Jewish parents his work Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) infuriated Jewish and Christian scholars to such an extent that his next work, Ethics, was only published after his death.

In this he propounded the idea that free will was an illusion that would be dispelled only when man recognised that every event had a cause, one that stemmed from a "logical necessity" determined by God.

His ideas had similarities to the Hindu belief of divinity in all things and people but Spinoza also drew many of his proofs from the geometrical perfection of nature, sharing with Descartes a mathematical appreciation of the universe.

As a rationalist he developed the ideas of Descartes and Plato, arguing against the duality of mind and body by suggesting that they were not two separate entities, but different aspects of the same substance.

Works by Baruch Spinoza on Project Gutenberg: Ethics (1-5) and other works

Read about Baruch Spinoza on Wikipedia

Read about Baruch Spinoza on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Read about Baruch Spinoza on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Please note: the BBC accepts no responsibility for the content of external websites.

 Listen to Susan James say why you should vote for Baruch Spinoza

Susan James

Susan James is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her areas of research are early-modern philosophy, political philosophy and feminist philosophy. Other areas of interest include Heidegger, and the Existentialists. Her publications include: The Content of Social Explanation (1984); Beyond Equality and Difference (1992) and Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-century Philosophy (1997).

 
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