Spinoza and Moral Freedom

By S. Paul Kashap

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780887065309, 216 pages, September 1987
Hardcover : 9780887065293, 216 pages, September 1987

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Table of contents


References to Spinoza's Works

Chapter One Substance

Chapter Two Ideas

Chapter Three Action

Chapter Four Cause

Chapter Five Freedom

Selected Bibliography



Spinoza and Moral Freedom guides the reader through Spinoza's principal ideas and powerful lines of reasoning, clearing up obscurities along the way, while acknowledging the genuine difficulties and gaps. At the same time, it neither intrudes the author's own beliefs and personality upon the reader nor gives instructions on what the reader's own final judgment should be. What Kashap offers is pure Spinoza, rather than a Spinoza reformed in light of another person's wishes or preoccupations. In this respect, Kashap's approach is refreshingly new and unique. The style is graceful and lucid, and in no way obscured by philosophical jargon.

S. Paul Kashap is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


"Spinoza's Ethics is so eminent a work that literally dozens of attempts to present a coherent interpretation of its main ideas may be found in the literature. But at the same time the work is so difficult that nearly all of these attempts end, at one point or another, attributing views to Spinoza that clash markedly with Spinoza's own words. There are vanishingly few sober, conservative treatments of all the main themes of the Ethics which ultimately attribute a coherent view to Spinoza. And it is the great achievement of Kashap's book to present just such a view. My own prediction is that a surprisingly large number of students of Ethics will discover, with its aid, that at long last an intelligible world-view is discernible in that work, a world-view that is tough-minded, coherent, and perhaps (even as Professor Kashap himself occasionally suggests) true. " — Stephen H. Voss