This book brings together Spinoza's fundamental philosophical thinking with his conclusions about God and religion. Spinoza was born a Jew but chose to live outside any religious community. He was deeply engaged both in traditional Hebrew learning and in contemporary physical science. He emerges not as a rationalist precursor of the Enlightenment but as a thinker of the highest importance in his own right, both in philosophy and in religion.
COMPARING E M CURLEY'S "DESCARTES AGAINST THE SKEPTICS" AND MARGARET DAULER WILSON'S "DESCARTES", I POINT OUT A SEEMING INCOMPATIBILITY BETWEEN THE CENTRAL THESES OF THE TWO BOOKS AND AN UNCLARITY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CENTRAL THESIS IN EACH BOOK. MORE PARTICULARLY, I EXAMINE AND CRITICIZE TWO OF PROFESSOR CURLEY'S "RECONSTRUCTIONS" OF ARGUMENTS IN THE "MEDITATIONS": THE ARGUMENT FROM DREAMING IN MEDITATION I AND THE ONTOLOGICAL PROOF IN MEDITATION V. IN PROFESSOR WILSON'S BOOK, I RAISE QUESTIONS ABOUT HER INTERPRETATION OF (...) THE PASSAGES ABOUT THE WAX IN MEDITATION II AND THE ATTRIBUTION TO DESCARTES OF A "NON-PLATONIC" THEORY OF MATHEMATICS ON THE BASIS OF PASSAGES IN MEDITATIONS V AND VI. (shrink)
In my critique of professor mandelbaum's "the historiography of the history of philosophy," i raise three queries. the first is about a "methodological" question, roughly, "what is to count as philosophy?" the second concerns a part of the central thesis, namely, that (for the most part) a major philosopher's "primary beliefs" do not derive from his criticism of other philosophers. third, i raise some questions which appear to lie behind mandelbaum's proposal regarding what is to count as history of philosophy. (...) my conclusion is that his proposal is both ill-founded and excessively restrictive. (shrink)