Blessed thorns : a meditation on Spinoza's God
Balasak, John Scott Theisen
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Despite having been published over three hundred years ago, Spinoza's Ethics is a text that is still, even today, widely misunderstood. Two of the more common and persistent misunderstandings revolve around the accusations of some who have labeled his philosophy both atheistic and materialistic. These two misunderstandings date back to the first time the Ethics was published, immediately following Spinoza's death. In an attempt to not only address these accusations, but as well to clear up any misunderstandings surrounding them, this thesis will be split into four chapters that are divided into two main parts. The first half will deal with the question of whether or not Spinoza is an atheist. The second half will deal with the question of whether or not Spinoza is a materialist. In so doing this thesis will establish and defend the position that it is a misreading to characterize Spinoza's philosophy as atheistic and materialistic.