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The Ethics

The Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza
By: (1632-1677)

The Ethics is a philosophical book written by Baruch Spinoza. It was written in Latin. Although it was published posthumously in 1677, it is his most famous work, and is considered his magnum opus.
In The Ethics, Spinoza attempts to demonstrate 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. (Wikipedia)

First Page:

The Ethics

(Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata)


Benedict de Spinoza

Translated from the Latin by R. H. M. Elwes



I. By that which is self caused, I mean that of which the essence involves existence, or that of which the nature is only conceivable as existent.

II. A thing is called finite after its kind, when it can be limited by another thing of the same nature; for instance, a body is called finite because we always conceive another greater body. So, also, a thought is limited by another thought, but a body is not limited by thought, nor a thought by body.

III. By substance, I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself: in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.

IV. By attribute, I mean that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance.

V. By mode, I mean the modifications[1] of substance, or that which exists in, and is conceived through, something other than itself.

[1] "Affectiones"

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