Approaching the central themes of Spinoza's thought from both a historical and analytical perspective, this book examines the logical-metaphysical core of Spinoza's philosophy, its epistemology and its ramifications for his much disputed attitude towards religion. Opening with a discussion of Spinoza's historical and philosophical location as the appropriate context for the interpretation of his work the book goes on to present a non-'logical' reading of Spinoza's metaphysics, a consideration of Spinoza's radical repudiation of Cartesian subjectivism and an examination of how Spinoza wanted religion to be understood in the context of his wider thinking and the influence of his non-Christian background. Mason also assesses Spinoza's significance and importance for philosophy now.
'Mason succeeds in presenting Spinoza’s thought in its extraordinary simplicity and at the same time this study is a channel for Mason to question the major tenets of the standard analytical tradition. It is clear that this is not only a book for students of Spinoza but also an intervention in contemporary analytical debates.' Herman De Dijn, Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte, Leuven 'Richard Mason was a unique Spinoza scholar. His masterly study The God of Spinoza (1997) established his fame as a profound and subtle analyst of what remains one of the most formidable metaphysical systems in the history of philosophy. The present collection - Mason’s precious legacy to Spinoza scholarship - offers a wide range of highly original and thought-provoking essays. It approaches Spinoza’s philosophy from different but correlated perspectives: logic, knowledge, and religion. The result is a fresh reading that dispels many tenacious preconceptions. ' Piet Steenbakkers, University of Utrecht
Contents: Introduction: Understanding Spinoza. Part I Logic: What had to be so; How things happen; Concrete logic; One thing after another. Part II Knowledge: Dealing with Descartes; Intelligibility; Belief; Spinoza, Davidson and objectivity. Part III Religion: Reducing religion?; Two views of faith; A revenge on Jewish Law?; On not being a Christian philosopher: the difference in Spinoza. Bibliography; Index.