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Ethics (Penguin Classics)

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Thus the various objects and events of the material world come into being as modes (modifications or states) of the attribute Extension; and the various minds and mental experiences come into being as modes of the attribute Thought (or Consciousness). He starts with the proposition that "there cannot exist in the universe two or more substances having the same nature or attribute. appears on close and honest investigation to be a higher yet unjustified abstraction of the concept matter. According to this family of explanations, suicide is a sin because it involves taking a human life, which God has commanded humans not to do.

He holds the perspective that the conclusion he presents is merely the necessary logical result of combining the provided Definitions and Axioms.The free man, Spinoza reasons, will pick his battles wisely, showing his virtue both in avoiding danger and in overcoming it (E4p69). However, Spinoza also argues that humility, repentance, and pity—character traits highly esteemed by traditional religious authorities—are not virtues, for they are “useless” and “do not arise from reason” (E4p50, 53, and 54). In this way, we will naturally tend over time toward rational affects and away from irrational ones. Although he disagrees with traditional reasons for taking suicide to be immoral, he nevertheless agrees that suicide is in fact immoral.

And, more importantly, there is no sense to be made of the designation of certain types of human activities as exploitative of the environment or of animals. From God's supreme power, or infinite nature, an infinite number of things – that is, all things have necessarily flowed forth in an infinite number of ways, or always flow from the same necessity; in the same way as from the nature of a triangle it follows from eternity and for eternity, that its three interior angles are equal to two right angles. One traditional moral problem regards the moral permissibility of self-harm, the ultimate case of which is suicide. However, Spinoza has a bit more to say about morality beyond his claim that it is constituted by the pursuit of knowledge of God and the desire to do good for others.In the 17 th century, moral philosophy was not yet primarily preoccupied with either accounting for the nature and origins of morality or with establishing general principles governing moral obligation—though, as we have seen, Spinoza does develop some views on these topics en route to the final part of the Ethics. Spinoza puts forward a small number of definitions and axioms from which he attempts to derive hundreds of propositions and corollaries, such as "When the Mind imagines its own lack of power, it is saddened by it", [2] "A free man thinks of nothing less than of death", [3] and "The human Mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the Body, but something of it remains which is eternal. Moreover, the mind's self-knowledge is not fundamental: it cannot know its own thoughts better than it knows the ways in which its body is acted upon by other bodies.

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