Baruch Spinoza’s Philosophy [5:06]


This video is a great, very short introduction to the philosophy of Spinoza, one of the greatest Western philosophers, as well as one of the first prominent non-theist intellectuals.  Spinoza developed a comprehensive philosophy touching on everything from metaphysics to ethics and epistemology to philosophy of mind.  This video discusses some of the basics of his philosophy and life, especially his views on the relationship between God and nature, namely that they’re identical.  The video then focuses on his book The Ethics.  It splits the discussion, as the book does, into religion, human nature, knowledge, free will, and virtue and happiness.

Discussion Questions

  • Was Spinoza really a materialist if he believed that God was identical with Nature? What do you think he meant by saying “God composes everything”?
  • Do you think the mind and the body are the same thing?  Or is our mind or soul separate from our brain?
  • Do you think, in order to express our choice or will, that we must be “free from emotions or passions” and only act logically and rationally?  What role might emotions play in our actions?
  • Do you think knowledge is more important than happiness?  How could they be related?

Keywords: Spinoza, philosophy, ethics, moral theory, materialism, God, atheism, naturalism


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