The Cambridge companion to Spinoza


The Cambridge companion to Spinoza

edited by Don Garrett

(Cambridge companions to philosophy)

Cambridge University Press, 2022 [i.e. 2021]

2nd ed

  • : hardback

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Summary: "In many ways, Benedict (Baruch) de Spinoza appears to be a contradictory figure in the history of philosophy. From the beginning, he has been notorious as an "atheist" who seeks to substitute Nature for a personal deity; yet he was also, in Novalis's famous description, "the God-intoxicated man." He was an uncompromising necessitarian and causal determinist; yet his ethical ideal was to become a "free man." He maintained that the human mind and the human body are identical; yet he also insisted that the human mind can achieve a kind of eternality that transcends the death of the body. He has been adopted by Marxists as a precursor of historical materialism, and by Hegelians as a precursor of absolute idealism. He was a psychological egoist, proclaiming that all individuals necessarily seek their own advantage and implying that other individuals were of value to him only insofar as they were useful to him; yet his writings aimed to promote human community based on love and friendship, ..."

Includes bibliographical references (p. 444-474) and index

"First published 1996., Second edition 2022"--T.p. verso



Benedict (Baruch) de Spinoza (1632-1677) was one of the most systematic, inspiring, and influential philosophers of the early modern period. From a pantheistic starting point that identified God with Nature as all of reality, he sought to demonstrate an ethics of reason, virtue, and freedom while unifying religion with science and mind with body. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, ethics, politics, and the analysis of religion remain vital to the present day. Yet his writings initially appear forbidding to contemporary readers, and his ideas have often been misunderstood. This second edition of The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza includes new chapters on Spinoza's life and his metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and biblical scholarship, as well as extensive updates to the previous chapters and bibliography. A thorough, reliable, and accessible guide to this extraordinary philosopher, it will be invaluable to anyone who wants to understand what Spinoza has to teach.


  • Introduction Don Garrett
  • 1. Spinoza's life Piet Steenbakkers
  • 2. Spinoza's metaphysics of substance Yitzhak Y. Melamed
  • 3. Spinoza on the metaphysics of thought and extension Martin Lin
  • 4. Spinoza's epistemology Ursula Renz
  • 5. Spinoza on natural science and methodology Alan Gabbey
  • 6. Spinoza's metaphysical psychology Michael Della Rocca
  • 7. Spinoza's ethical theory Don Garrett
  • 8. Kissinger, Spinoza, and Genghis Khan Edwin Curley
  • 9. Spinoza's philosophical religion Susan James
  • 10. Spinoza's contribution to biblical scholarship Edwin Curley
  • 11. Spinoza's reception Pierre-Francois Moreau and Mogens Laerke.

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