Spinoza’s brilliant metaphysical system was derived neither from reality nor experience. Starting from basic assumptions, with a series of geometric proofs he built a universe which was also God, one and the same thing, the classic example of pantheism. Although his system seems an oddity today, Spinoza’s conclusions are deeply in accord with modern thought, from science (the holistic ethics of today’s ecologists) to politics (the idea that the state exists to protect the individual). Both Spinoza’s system and conclusions have compelling beauty unequaled in the history of philosophy.
In Spinoza in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Spinoza’s life and ideas, and explains their influence on man’s struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Spinoza’s work, a brief list of suggested readings for those who wish to delve deeper, and chronologies that place Spinoza within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.
By Paul Strathern