Philosophy of Baruch Spinoza
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.Samuel Shirley, who translated Spinoza's complete works into English, summed up the significance of Spinoza's philosophy as follows:To my mind, although Spinoza lived and thought long before Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and the startling implications of quantum theory, he had a vision of truth beyond what is normally granted to human beings.Spinoza's philosophy is largely contained in two books: the Theologico-Political Treatise, and the Ethics. The former was published during his lifetime, but the latter, which contains the entirety of his philosophical system in its most rigorous form, was not published until after his death in 1677. 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.