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Spinoza's Book of LifeFreedom and Redemption in the Ethics$
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Steven Smith

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100198

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100198.001.0001

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Thinking about Love

Thinking about Love

(p.154) 6 Thinking about Love
Spinoza's Book of Life

Steven B. Smith

Yale University Press

This chapter shows how love is a dominant theme of the Ethics, particularly in its fifth and final part entitled “On the Power of the Intellect or on Human Freedom.” His description of the eternity of the mind, the immortality of the soul, and, above all, the intellectual love of God has both baffled and infuriated readers. According to many, these sections provide evidence that Spinoza was a mystical pantheist, the “god intoxicated man” of the Romantics; for others, they demonstrate that Spinoza never managed to free himself from the hold of medieval philosophy and forms of thought; while for still others of a contemporary analytical bent, Spinoza's discussion of intellectual divine love is nothing less than an embarrassment unworthy of a philosopher of the first order. For those of a more psychological disposition they can be explained as a form of self-hatred and intellectual masochism.

Keywords:   love, mystical pantheist, medieval philosophy, intellectual divine love, self-hatred, intellectual masochism

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