Sep 08, 2020dixithanoop rated this title 4 out of 5 stars
As a staunch reader of philosophical treatises (both Western and Eastern, and classical and modern), Ethics by Baruch Spinoza lurked in my to-read list for longer than I'd thought. I finally finished it with almost fifty pages of rough note-taking, digesting mind-numbing proofs of its myriad propositions, and a gratified sense of content! Clearly, this was a way easier read (and a more logically followable one) than many other magna opera of the philosophical world like Being and Nothingness, Phenomenology of Spirit, or even Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy for that matter. But if you thought the treatise is all about "moral ethics", going by the name, as it would probably translate to in the modern sense of the word, you couldn't be farther off. In fact, the full name of the book is "Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order", and is full of axioms, propositions based on those axioms, demonstrations of those propositions - each one built on top of an already proved entity. If you're a fan of Geometrical proofs, you'd certainly enjoy the way this book has delightfully used them to prove hard philosophical questions. (Including things like what is love and hate, emotions etc).
Quite obviously, and like many other works of that era (17th century), the book tries to answer a lot of questions about God, mind-body duality etc. For a materialist like me, neither is of much interest, but that's not relevant as the main purpose of studying this treatise is to get the principles used to answer those questions and then use the same to answer questions that are relevant to me, and in the current day and place. However, I do have my objections and a set of errata to a lot of propositions and their demonstrations.
In any case, with over hundred such postulates, about practically all aspects of philosophy - God, Nature and its Origin, Emotions, Intellect etc, the book keeps your rationality and logical connection making skills on toes. And if you're that kind of person, according to my first postulate, you should be able to enjoy reading this book :)