Matthew Gindin

is creating writing about Spinoza.

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In Paul Auster’s ingenious and moving novel “Mr.Vertigo”, an abused boy is rescued by a traveling magician, a mysterious Hungarian Jew named Mr. Yehudi. Yehudi promises to teach the boy to walk on air -and delivers. Yehudi has a favorite book that goes with him everywhere- a copy of Spinoza’s “Ethics.”

I have little in common with Mr. Yehudi besides being a Jew who loves Spinoza’s book, but love it I do. I have always read Spinoza's guide to the nature of reality and human freedom in awe at what a human intellect can accomplish if it follows the yellow brick road far enough.

There is a big problem with the Ethics, however. The Ethics was written in the 1650s using Latin scholastic terminology in a form Spinoza called “geometric order.” This entailed setting forth what he wanted to say like a series of mathematical propositions: definitions, propositions, axioms and scholiums. If that sounds difficult and off-putting, it is. 

What’s missing is a “plain English” explanation of the Ethics for the average reader, and that's what I am writing. You can read it here or on Medium, where I've been posting my ongoing commentary. You can read my brief introduction to Spinoza, or start here.
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