Renowned for his metaphysics, Spinoza made significant contributions to understanding the human mind, the emotions, moral philosophy, and political philosophy.
Beginning with an overview of Spinoza's life, Michael Della Rocca carefully unpacks and explains Spinoza's philosophy: his metaphysics of substance and argument at the center of his whole system that God is the sole independent substance; his account of the human mind and its relation to the body; his theory that human beings tend towards self-preservation and his most famous work, the Ethics, including the problem of free will; and his writings on the state, religion and scripture.
Della Rocca concludes with a chapter on Spinoza's legacy and how modern philosophers, Hume, Hegel, and Nietzsche, responded to Spinoza's challenge. Ideal for those coming to Spinoza for the first time as well as those already acquainted with his thought, Spinoza is essential reading for anyone studying philosophy.
Table of Contents
1. Spinoza’s Understanding and Understanding Spinoza 2. The Metaphysics of Substance 3. The Human Mind 4. Psychology: Striving and Self-Preservation 5. The Ethics of the Ethics 6. The State, Religion, and Scripture 7. From PSR to Eternity 8. The Aftermath of Spinoza. Glossary Notes Bibliography Index
Michael Della Rocca is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Yale University. He is the author of Representation and the Mind Body Problem in Spinoza, and our numerous articles in early modern philosophy and contemporary metaphysics.
'In his Spinoza, Michael Della Rocca has performed a service for those seeking a thorough, accessible and engaging overview of Spinoza’s life and philosophy. …unquestionably the best general introduction to Spinoza’s overall philosophy since Henry Allison’s Benedict de Spinoza: An Introduction, published over twenty years ago.' - Times Literary Supplement
'Spinoza offers highly original, often brilliant scholarship and will be an indispensable resource for undergraduates.' - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
'An absolutely fantastic book. Della Rocca has succeeded in making Spinoza’s notoriously difficult thought accessible to a general audience without sacrificing any of the conceptual complexity and rigors that makes Spinoza such a good philosopher.' - Martin Lin, University of Toronto, Canada
'This is an exciting, interesting, and highly-readable book on Spinoza. Della Rocca offers a bold thesis: that Spinoza's philosophy results from persistently applying the principle of sufficient reason to absolutely everything - so, in short, there can be no dumb luck, no brute facts. Della Rocca successfully uses this thesis to illuminate the basics of Spinoza's philosophy, and to extend several scholarly discussions in new and interesting directions. His book will instruct both beginning and advanced students of Spinoza.' - Charles Hueneman, Utah State University