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Spinoza on Human Freedom
Reason, Autonomy and the Good Life

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521198882


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About the Authors
  • Spinoza was one of the most influential figures of the Enlightenment, but his often obscure metaphysics makes it difficult to understand the ultimate message of his philosophy. Although he regarded freedom as the fundamental goal of his ethics and politics, his theory of freedom has not received sustained, comprehensive treatment. Spinoza holds that we attain freedom by governing ourselves according to practical principles, which express many of our deepest moral commitments. Matthew J. Kisner focuses on this theory and presents an alternative picture of the ethical project driving Spinoza's philosophical system. His study of the neglected practical philosophy provides an accessible and concrete picture of what it means to live as Spinoza's ethics envisioned.

    • Focuses on Spinoza's ethics, providing a full picture of how they work in practice
    • Includes a thorough examination of the secondary literature
    • Examines Spinoza's place in the broader history of ethics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "....provides a compelling new view of Spinoza’s ethics. Scholars of Spinoza and early modern philosophy more generally should read this book, but others, e.g., those who study autonomy, would also benefit.... This book is an attempt to find a working, human understanding of freedom in Spinoza according to which human freedom is practical activity directed by rational deliberation, which is guided by a relatively adequate understanding of the human good. As such, it is a welcome and successful enterprise."
    --Eugene Marshall, Wellesley College, Philosophy in Review

    "This well-organized, clearly written book actively engages current scholarship on Spinoza and contemporary ethical debates.... Highly recommended..."
    --C. A. Colmo, Dominican University, Choice

    "...Kisner has given us an engrossing book which is a model of clarity and rigor, setting out a bold position in a way that invites further discussion and provides a platform for the development of diverging views. Full of interesting insights and connections, Spinoza on Human Freedom is an outstanding achievement."
    --George Lăzăroiu, PhD, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, New York

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521198882
    • length: 274 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 159 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Abbreviations and translations
    Introduction: beyond therapy
    1. Freedom as rationality
    2. Justifying Spinoza's conception of freedom
    3. Autonomy and responsibility
    4. Freedom and happiness
    5. The good
    6. The natural law
    7. Benevolence
    8. The free man
    9. Rational deliberation
    10. The character of freedom
    11. The freedom of the citizen
    Conclusion: 'the true freedom of man'

  • Author

    Matthew J. Kisner, University of South Carolina
    Matthew J. Kisner is Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina. He has previously published articles on a variety of topics in early modern philosophy, including Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza and Malebranche.

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