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Baruch Spinoza

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Baruch de Spinoza
Era17th-century philosophy
RegionWestern Philosophy
SchoolRationalism, founder of Spinozism
Main interests
Ethics, Epistemology, Metaphysics
Notable ideas
Pantheism, Conatus, Deism, neutral monism, intellectual and religious freedom / separation of church and state, Criticism of Mosaic authorship of certain books of the Hebrew Bible, Political society derived from power, not contract

Baruch Spinoza also known as Benedict Spinoza (24 November 1632 in Amsterdam – 21 February 1677 in The Hague) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin. He is considered to be one of the great Rationalist philosophers of the 17th century. Other famous rationalists include Gottfried Leibniz and René Descartes.

Life[change | change source]

Spinoza's ideas were not cherished by the Jewish community in Amsterdam of the time, and Spinoza was excommunicated in 1656.

Key ideas[change | change source]

An important idea in Spinoza's philosophy is God and Nature (everything that exists) are the same thing. Opposing dualism and free will as determinist, Spinoza said that the body and the mind (soul) are two of God's infinite attributes.

There is no good or evil in Nature, and that these words only have meanings for human beings. For a person, an event that leads to happiness is good, and an event that leads to suffering is bad.

Spinoza describes two types of thoughts, or emotions:

  • When a person acts from his own nature, he is said to be Active. The more you understand your actions, the more active you become. Active emotions lead to happiness and an understanding of God, as well as to Freedom.
  • When a person is being influenced by another person, or a thing, he is said to be Passive.

The goal of every person is to intellectually love God (that is, understand Nature as much as humanly possible).

References[change | change source]