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In Nature and In God: Spinoza and Blessedness

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Title: In Nature and In God: Spinoza and Blessedness
Author: Islo, Erin
Advisor: Wright, Kathleen; Allen, Benjamin W.; Macbeth, Danielle
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Philosophy
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: This paper considers the Ethics of Baruch Spinoza through three of the most important concepts presented in the work: essence, knowledge, and blessedness. By thoroughly exploring and reexamining these concepts and the role they play in Spinoza’s ethical project, it becomes clear that it is knowledge of the essences of singular things that is key to the life of blessedness. This exploration is approached from a perspective that intends to unify the metaphysical, epistemological and moral projects presented in the Ethics. This paper will argue that knowledge of the essences of singular things involves the relations of finite modes, both insofar as they actually exist and insofar as they exist sub specie aeternitatis. Therefore, it is not merely reason and adequate knowledge of eternity that lead the philosopher to blessedness, but knowledge of finite modes and their relations to one another that constitutes knowledge of the third kind, viz. scientia intuitiva, the highest good of the Mind.
Subject: Spinoza, Benedictus de, 1632-1677. Ethica
Subject: Spinoza, Benedictus de, 1632-1677 -- Criticism and interpretation
Subject: Ethics
Subject: Virtues
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Islo, Erin. "In Nature and In God: Spinoza and Blessedness". 2012. Available electronically from

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