Abridgement of THE ETHICS
Only links, comments, and endnotes are abridged, not Spinoza's Works. 

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

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JBY Notes for Part 1:

1-1.  The HTML version was abridged and formatted for conversion to an eBook.
        The abridged version is available to be read
on various eBook Readers.

1-2.  This version was abridged from "The Ethics. "
The unabridged file has more definitions,         much more commentary, many more links, and latest revisions.

1-3.  The text is the 1883 translation of the "The Ethics" by R. H. M. Elwes,
as printed by Dover          Publications in Book I. This English electronic text was taken by kind permission from          Edward A. Beach, Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religious Studies.

1-4. Symbols:

1-5.    Page numbers are those of Book I.
          y  = Proposition Number; xx = Sentence Number.

1-6.   Citation abbreviations.

1-7.   Please e-mail errors, clarification requests, disagreement,
         or suggestions
to josephb@yesselman.com.

1-8.  The secret to understanding Spinoza is its foundation rock.






Part 1 Proposition List:

For all Propositions, see Note 1-8.

1P1     1P2      1P3     1P4     1P5     1P6     1P7      1P8     1P9     P10 

1P11   P12    1P13   1P14   1P15   1P16    1P17   1P18    P19   1P20

1P21   1P22   1P23   1P24   1P25   1P26   1P27   1P28   1P29   1P30   

1P31   1P32   1P33    1P34    1P35   1P36  


Page 45

1D1.   By that which is self-caused, I mean that of which the essence involves existence, or that of which the Nature is only conceivable as existent.

1D2.   A thing is called finite after its kind, when it can be limited by another thing of the same nature; for instance, a body is called finite because we always conceive another greater body. So, also, a thought is limited by another thought, but a body is not limited by thought, nor a thought by body.

1D3.   By substance, I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself; in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.

1D4.   By attribute, I mean that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance.

1D5.   By mode, I mean the modifications ("Affectiones") of substance, or that which exists in, and is conceived through, something other than itself.

1D6.   By G-D, I mean a being absolutely infinite— that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality {and an infinite number of finite modes. These modes are you, me, and every other particular thing}.  
One, Endnote De.VIa, Spinoza's Daring.

1D7.   That thing is called free, which exists solely by the necessity of its own nature, and of which the action is determined by itself alone. On the other hand, that thing is necessary, or rather constrained, which is determined by something external to itself to a fixed and definite method of existence or action.

1D8.   By eternity, I mean existence itself, in so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow solely <merely> from the definition of that which is eternal.


Page 46

1Ax1.   Everything which exists, exists either in itself or in something else.

1A2.   That which cannot be conceived through anything else must be conceived through itself.

1Ax3.  From a given definite cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no definite cause be granted, it is impossible that an effect can follow.

1Ax4.  The knowledge of an effect depends on and involves the knowledge of a cause.

1A5.   Things which have nothing in common cannot be understood, the one by means of the other; the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other.

1Ax6.   A true idea must correspond with its ideate or object.

1Ax7.  If a thing can be conceived as non-existing, its essence does not involve existence.


For help in understanding all Propositions, see Note 8.

1P1:46   Substance is by Nature prior to its modifications.

1P2:46   Two substances, whose attributes are different, have nothing in common.

1P3:47   Things which have nothing in common cannot be one the cause of the other.

1P4:47   Two or more distinct things are distinguished one from the other, either by the difference of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their modifications.

1P5:47   There cannot exist in the universe two or more substances having the same nature or attribute.

1P6:47   One substance cannot be produced by another substance.

Proof.— (6:1) It is impossible that there should be in the universe two substances with an identical attribute, i.e. which have anything common to them both (Prop. ii.), and, therefore (Prop. iii.), one cannot be the cause of another, neither can one be producedby the other. Q.E.D.

Corollary.— (6:2) Hence it follows that a substance cannot be produced by anything external to itself. (6:3) For in the universe nothing is granted, save substances and their modifications (as appears from Ax. i. and Defs. iii. and v.). (6:4) Now (by the last Prop.) substance cannot be produced by another substance, therefore it cannot be produced by anything external itself. Q.E.D.

   < Another Proof >
(6:5) [Alternatively:] This is shown still more readily by the absurdity of the contradictory. (6:6) For, if substance be produced by an external cause, the knowledge of it would depend on the knowledge of its cause (Ax. iv.), and (by Def.iii.) it would itself not be substance.

1P7:48   Existence belongs to the nature of substance.

1P8:48   Every substance is necessarily infinite.

1P9:50   The more reality or being a thing has the greater the number of its attributes.

1P10:50   Each particular attribute of the one substance must be conceived through itself.

1P11:51   G-D, or substance, consisting of infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality, necessarily exists.

1P12:54   No attribute of substance can be conceived from which it would follow that substance can be divided.

1P13:54   Substance absolutely infinite is indivisible.

1P14:54   Besides G-D no substance can be granted or conceived.

1P15:55   Whatsoever is, is in G-D, and without G-D nothing can be, or be conceived.

1P16:59   From the necessity of the Divine Nature must follow an infinite number of things in infinite ways— that is, all things which can fall within the sphere of infinite intellect. {An all-inclusive uncorrupted organic interdependence.}

1P17:59   G-D acts solely by the laws of his own Nature, and is not constrained [compelled] by anyone.

1P18:62   God is the indwelling [immanent] and not the transient cause of all things.

1P19:62   G-D, and all the attributes of G-D, are eternal.

1P20:63   The existence of G-D and his essence are one and the same.

1P21:63   All things which follow from the absolute Nature of any attribute of G-D must ]have[ always existed and be infinite, or, in other words, are eternal and infinite through the said attribute.  

1P22:65   Whatsoever follows from any attribute of G-D, in so far as it is modified by a modification, which exists necessarily and as infinite, through the said attribute, must also exist necessarily, and as infinite.

1P23:65   Every mode, which exists both necessarily and as infinite, must necessarily follow either from the absolute Nature of some attribute of God, or from an attribute modified by a modification which exists necessarily, and as infinite.

1P24:65   The essence of things {immanently} produced by G-D does not involve existence.

1P25:66   God is the efficient cause not only of the existence of things, but also of their essence.

1P26:66   A thing which is conditioned ]determined[ to act in a particular manner, has necessarily been thus conditioned by G-D; and that which has not been conditioned by G-D cannot condition itself to act.

1P27:66   A thing, which has been conditioned ]determined[ by G-D to act in a particular way, cannot render itself unconditioned.

1P28:67   Every individual thing, or everything which is finite and has a conditioned ]determinedexistence, cannot exist or be conditioned to act, unless it be conditioned for existence and action by a cause other than itself, which also is finite, and has a conditioned existence; and likewise this cause cannot in its turn exist, or be conditioned to act, unless it be conditioned for existence and action by another cause, which also is finite, and has a conditioned existence, and so on to infinity.

1P29:68   Nothing in the universe ]Nature[ is contingent, but all things are conditioned <determined> to exist and operate in a particular manner by the necessity of the Divine Nature.

1P30:69   Intellect, in function (actu) finite, or in function infinite, must comprehend the attributes of God and the modifications of God, and nothing else.

1P31:69   The intellect in function, whether finite or infinite, as will, desire, love, etc., should be referred to passive nature and not to active Nature.

1P32:70  Will cannot be called a free cause, but only a necessary cause.

1P33:70   Things could not have been brought into being by G-D in any manner or in any order different from that which has in fact obtained.

1P34:74 G-D's power is identical with his essence.

1P35:74   Whatsoever we conceive to be in the power of G-D, necessarily exists.

1P36:74  There is no cause from whose nature some effect does not follow.


(AP:1) In the foregoing I have explained the Nature and properties of G-D. (AP:2) I have shown that he necessarily exists, that he is one: that he is, and acts solely by the necessity of his own nature; that he is the free cause of all things, and how he is so; that all things are in G-D, and so depend on him, that without him they could neither exist nor be conceived; lastly, that all things are predetermined {determinism} by G-D, not through his free will or absolute fiat, but from the very Nature of G-D or infinite power.(AP:3) I have further, where occasion offered, taken care to remove the prejudices, which might impede the comprehension of my demonstrations. (AP:4) Yet there still remain misconceptions ]prejudices[ not a few, which might and may prove very grave hindrances to the understanding of the concatenation of things, as I have explained it above. (AP:5) I have therefore thought it worth while to bring these misconceptions before the bar of reason.

(AP:6):75 All such opinions ]prejudices[ spring from the notion commonly entertained, that all things in Nature act as men themselves act, namely, with an end in view {final causes}. (AP:7) It is accepted as certain, that God himself directs things to a definite goal (for it is said that God made all things for man, and man that he might worship him). (AP:8)I will, therefore, consider this opinion, asking

[ I ]  first why it obtains general credence, and why all men are naturally so prone to adopt it?

[ II ] secondly, I will point out its falsity; and,

[ III ] lastly, I will show how it has given rise to prejudices about good and bad, right and wrong, praise and blame, order and confusion, beauty and ugliness, and the like.

(AP:9):75 However, this is not  the place to deduce these misconceptions from the nature of the human mind: it will be sufficient here, if I assume as a starting point, what ought to be universally admitted, namely, that all men are born ignorant of the causes of things, that all have the desire to seek for what is useful to them, and that they are conscious of such desire. (AP:10) Herefrom it follows first, that men think themselves free, inasmuch as they are conscious of their volitions and desires, and never even dream, in their ignorance, of the causes which have disposed them to wish and desire. (AP:11) Secondly, that men do all things for an end, namely, for that which is useful to them, and which they seek. (AP:12) Thus it comes to pass that they only look for a knowledge of the final causes of events, and when these are learned, they are content, as having no cause for further doubt. (AP:13) If they cannot learn such causes from external sources, they are compelled to turn to considering themselves, and reflecting what end would have induced them personally to bring about the given event, and thus they necessarily judge other natures by their own. (AP:14) Further, as they find in themselves and outside themselves many means which assist them not a little in their search for what is useful, for instance, eyes for seeing, teeth for chewing, herbs and animals for yielding food, the sun for giving light, the sea for breeding fish, etc., they come to look on the whole of Nature as a means for obtaining such conveniences ]advantages[. (AP:15) Now as they are aware, that they found these conveniences and did not make them they think they have cause for believing, that some other being has made them for their use. (AP:16) As they look upon things as means, they cannot believe them to be self-created; but, judging from the means which they are accustomed to prepare for themselves, they are bound to believe in some {Transcendent} ruler or rulers of the universe endowed with human freedom, who have arranged and adapted everything for human use. (AP:17):76 They are bound to estimate the nature of such rulers (having no information on the subject) in accordance with their own nature, and therefore they assert that the gods ordained everything for the use of man, in order to bind man to themselves and obtain from him the highest honors. (AP:18) Hence also it follows, that everyone thought out for himself {Religion}, according to his abilities, a different way of worshipping God, so that God might love him more than his fellows, and direct the whole course of Nature for the satisfaction of his blind cupidity and insatiable avarice. (AP:19) Thus the prejudice developed into superstition, and took deep root in the human mind; and for this reason everyone strove most zealously to understand and explain the finalcauses of things; but in their endeavor to show that Nature does nothing in vain, i.e., nothing which is useless to man, they only seem to have demonstrated that Nature, the gods, and men are all mad together. (AP:20) Consider, I pray you, the result: among the many helps of Nature they were bound to find some hindrances, such as storms, earthquakes, diseases, etc.: so they declared that such things happen, because the gods are angry at some wrong done them by men, or at some fault committed in their worship. (AP:21) Experience day by day protested and showed by infinite examples, that good and evil fortunes fall to the lot of pious and impious alike; still they would not abandon their inveterate ]ingrained[ prejudice, for it was more easy for them to class such contradictions among other unknown things of whose use they were ignorant, and thus to retain their actual and innate condition of ignorance, than to destroy the whole fabric of their reasoning ]theory {religion}[ and start afresh. (AP:22) They  therefore laid down as an axiom, that God's judgments far transcend human understanding. (AP:23) Such a doctrine might well have sufficed to conceal the truth from the human race for all eternity, if mathematics had not furnished another standard of verity in considering solely the essence and properties of figures without regard to their final causes. (AP:24) There are other reasons (which I need not mention here) besides  mathematics, which might have caused men's minds to be directed to these general prejudices]misconceptions[, and have led them to the knowledge of the truth.

(AP:25):77 I have now sufficiently explained my first point. (AP:26) There is no need to show at length, that Nature has no particular goal in view, and that finalcauses are mere human figments. (AP:27) This, I think, is already evident enough, both from the causes and foundations on which I have shown such prejudice to be based, and also from Prop. xvi., and the Corollary of Prop. xxxii., and, in fact, all those propositions in which I have shown, that everything in Nature proceeds from a sort of necessity, and with the utmost perfection. (AP:28) However, I will add a few remarks, in order to overthrow this doctrine of a final cause utterly. (AP:29) That which is really a cause it considers as an effect, and vice versa: it makes that which is by nature first to be last, and that which is highest and most perfect to be most imperfect. (AP:30) Passing over the questions of cause and priority as self-evident, it is plain from Props. xxi, xxii, xxiii that that effect, is most perfect which is produced immediately by God; the effect which requires for its production several intermediate causes is, in that respect, more  imperfect. (AP:31) But if those things which were made immediately by God were made to enable him to attain his end, then the things which come after, for the sake of which the first were made, are necessarily the most excellent of all.

(AP:32):77 Further, this doctrine {final causes}, does away with the perfection of God: for, if God acts for an object, he necessarily desires something which he lacks. (AP:33) Certainly, theologians and metaphysicians draw a distinction between the object of want and the object of assimilation; still they confess that God made all things for the sake of himself, not for the sake of creation. (AP:34) They are unable to point to anything prior to creation, except God himself, as an object for which God should act, and are therefore driven to admit (as they clearly must), that God lacked those things for whose attainment he created means, and further that he desired them.

(AP:35):78 We must not omit to notice that the followers of this doctrine {final causes}, anxious to display their talent in assigning final causes, have imported a new method of argument in proof of their theory— namely, a reduction, not to the impossible, but to ignorance; thus showing that they have no other method of exhibiting their doctrine. (AP:36) For example, if a stone falls from a roof on to some one's head and kills him, they will demonstrate by their new method, that the stone fell in order to kill the man; for, if it had not by God's will fallen with that object, how could so many circumstances (and there are often many concurrent circumstances) have all happened together by chance? (AP:37) Perhaps you will answer that the event is due to the facts that the wind was blowing, and the man was walking that way. (AP:38) "But why," they will insist, "was the wind blowing, and why was the man at that very time walking that way?" (AP:38a) If you again answer, that the wind had then sprung up because the sea had begun to be agitated the day before, the weather being previously calm, and that the man had been invited by a friend, they will again insist: "But why was the sea agitated, and why was the man invited at that time?(AP:39) So they will pursue their questions from cause to cause, till at last you take refuge in the will of God— in other words, the sanctuary of ignorance. (AP:40) So, again, when they survey the frame of the human body, they are amazed; and being ignorant of the causes of so great a work of art conclude that it has been fashioned, not mechanically, but by divine and supernatural skill, and has been so put together that one part shall not hurt another.

(AP:41):78 Hence anyone who seeks for the true causes of miracles, and strives to understand natural phenomena as an intelligent being, and not to gaze at them like a fool, is set down and denounced as an impious heretic by those, whom the masses adore as the interpreters of Nature and the gods. (AP:42) Such persons know that, with the removal of ignorance, the wonder which forms their only available means for proving and  preserving their authority would vanish also. (AP:43)But I now quit this subject, and pass on to my third point.

(AP:44):79 After men persuaded themselves, that everything which is created is created for their sake, they were bound to consider as the chief quality in everything that  which is most useful to themselves, and to account those things  the best of all which have the most beneficial effect on mankind. (AP:45) Further, they were bound to form abstract notions for the explanation of the nature of things, such as goodness, badness, order, confusion, warmth, cold, beauty, deformity, and so on; and from the belief that they are free agents arose the further notions praise and blame, sin and merit.

(AP:46):79 I will speak of these latter hereafter, when I treat of human nature; the former I will briefly explain here.

(AP:47):79 Everything which conduces to health and the worship of G-D they have called good, everything which hinders these objects they have styled bad; and inasmuch as those who do not understand the nature of things do not verify phenomena in any way, but merely imagine them after a fashion, and mistake their imagination for understanding, such persons firmly believe that there is an order in things, being really ignorant both of things and their own nature. (AP:48) When phenomena are of such a kind, that the impression they make on our senses requires little effort of imagination, and can consequently be easily remembered, we say that they are well-ordered; if the contrary, that they are ill-ordered or confused. (AP:49) Further, as things which are easily imagined are more pleasing to us, men prefer order to confusion, as though there were any order in Nature, except in relation to our imagination, and say that G-D has created all things in order; thus, without knowing it, attributing imagination to G-D, unless, indeed, they would have it that G-D foresaw human imagination, and arranged everything, so that it should be most easily imagined. (AP:50) If this be their theory they would not, perhaps, be daunted by the fact that we find an infinite number of phenomena, far surpassing our imagination, and very many others which confound its weakness. (AP:51) But enough has been said on this subject.(AP:52) The other abstract ]E1:Bk.VII:60note9[, notions are nothing but modes of imagining, in which the imagination is differently affected, though they are considered by the ignorant as the chief attributes of things, inasmuch as they believe that everything was created for the sake of themselves; and, according as they are affected by it, style it good or bad, healthy or rotten and corrupt. (AP:53) For instance, if the motion whose objects we see communicate to our nerves be conducive to health, the objects causing it are styled beautiful; if a contrary motion be excited, they are styled ugly.

(AP:54):80 Things which are perceived through our sense of smell are styled fragrant or fetid; it through our taste, sweet or bitter, full-flavored or insipid, if through our touch, hard or soft, rough or smooth, etc.

(AP:55):80 Whatsoever affects our ears is said to give rise to noise, sound, or harmony. (AP:56) In this last case, there are men lunatic enough to believe that even God himself takes pleasure in harmony; and philosophers are not lacking who have persuaded themselves, that the motion of the heavenly bodies gives rise to harmony— all of which instances sufficiently show that everyone judges of things according to the state of his brain, or rather mistakes for things the forms of his imagination. (AP:57) We need no longer wonder that there have arisen all the controversies we have witnessed and finally skepticism: for, although human bodies in many respects agree, yet in very many others they differ; so that what seems good to one seems bad to another; what seems well ordered to one seems confused to another; what is pleasing to one displeases another, and so on. (AP:58) I need not further enumerate, because this is not the place to treat the subject at length, and also because the fact is sufficiently well known. (AP:59) It is commonly said: "So many men, so many minds; everyone is wise in his own way; brains differ as completely as palates." (AP:60) All of which proverbs show, that men judge of things according to their mental disposition, and rather imagine than understand: for, if they understood phenomena, they would, as mathematics attest, be convinced, if not attracted, by what I have urged.

(AP:61):80 We have now perceived, that all the explanations commonly given of nature are mere modes of imagining, and do not indicate the true Nature of anything, but only the constitution of the imagination; and, although they have names, as though they were entities, existing externally to the imagination, I call them entities imaginary rather than real; and, therefore, all arguments against us drawn from such abstractions are easily rebutted.

(AP:62):81 Many argue in this way. (AP:63) If all things follow from a necessity of the absolutely perfect Nature of God, why are there so many imperfections in nature? such, for instance, as things corrupt to the point of putridity, loathsome  deformity, confusion, evil, sin, etc. (AP:64) But these reasoners are, as I have said, easily confuted, for the perfection of things is to be reckoned only from their own nature and power; things are not more or less perfect, according as they delight or offend human senses, or according as they are serviceable or repugnant to mankind. (AP:65) To those who ask why God did not so create all men, that they should be governed only by reason, I give no answer but this: because matter was not lacking to him for the creation of every degree of perfection from highest to lowest; or, more strictly, because the laws of his Nature are so vast, as to suffice for the production of everything conceivable by an infinite intelligence, as I have shown in Prop. xvi.

(AP:66):81 Such are the misconceptions [prejudices], I have undertaken to note; if there are any more of the same sort, everyone may easily dissipate them for himself with the aid of a little reflection.

End of Part I of V.


E1:Endnote Definition— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:2601

E1:Endnote Note 1-10— From Dijn's Bk.III:200 - Unified Nature.

E1:Endnote De. I— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:260note2

"In the phrase, 'or, that of which' the word 'or' renders the Latin 'sive'; this may be called the 'alternative or', and rendered more clearly as 'or, in other words'. When Spinoza wants to say 'Either the one, or the other' he uses the words 'aut' or 'vel'. Where the word 'or'renders 'sive' (or its equivalent, 'seu'); I usually indicate this by placing a comma after 'or'; however, for stylistic reasons I sometimes render such Latin terms by 'i.e.'.

To modern readers, the notion of a 'cause of itself' may seem strange, and indeed self-contradictory. We tend to think of a cause as preceding its effect in time, from which it would follow that a ‘cause of itself' must exist before it exists. However, it later becomes clear in the Ethics that Spinoza does not think of causes in this way; rather, he thinks of the relation between cause and effect as logical {inseparable}, not temporal. For him, the cause of X is the reason for X, in the sensein which a triangle's being isosceles is the reason for its base angles being equal. This doctrine is encapsulated in his phrase "cause seu ratio' (cause, or, reason). In effect, then, a 'cause of itself' is that whoseexistence is self-explanatory.

E1:Endnote De.VI— From Parkinson's Bk.XIV:1:158 - Immanent continued.

E1:Endnote De.VIa—From Wolfson's Bk.XIV:1:216 - Evolution of Philosophy/Religion.

E1:Endnote De.VII— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:2627 - Free

E1:Endnote De.VIII— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:2628 - Eternity

E1:Endnote 17:7n— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:26529 - Free Cause.

E1:Endnote 17:21n—From Parkinson's Bk.XV:26531—Scholastic distinction.

E1:Endnote 21:1— From Shirley's Bk.VII:47 - 'idea of G-D'

E1:Endnote XXIX— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:267note38  - Determinism

E1:Endnote 29:8— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:267note39  - Nature.

E1:Endnote 33:5n— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:26844 - Contingent.

E1:Endnote AP(3)— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:26849 - Prejudice.

E1:Endnote AP(41)— From Parkinson's Bk.XV:26954 - Miracles.

E1:Endnote AP(47)— From Shirley's Bk.VII:609 - Good and Bad

End of Part I Notes.

Of the Nature and Origin of the Mind
Only links, comments, and endnotes are abridged, not Spinoza's Works.  

JBY Notes for Part 2:

2-1.  See JBY Notes for Part 1 for notes as applicable.

2-2.  For a "study of the plan of Ethics 2" see Deleuze's Bk.XIX:338-9.



E2 Preface:82    Book I. Page Numbers.

E2 Definitions:82

E2 Axioms:83

E2 Axioms, Definitions, and Lemmas within Proposition XIII:93 Ethica II: The Lemmas on Bodies - Ron Bombardi

E2 Postulates:97

E2 Proposition List: Book I:Pg. vii;

For all Propositions, see Note 8.

 2P1     2P2      2P3    2P4     2P5     2P6      2P7   2P8    2P9   2P10  

2P11  2P12    2P13   2P14   2P15   2P16   2P17  2P18  2P19   2P20  

2P21    P22    2P23   2P24   2P25   2P26   2P27  2P28   2P29   2P30  

2P31   2P32   2P33   2P34   2P35   2P36   2P37   2P38   2P39   2P40  

2P41   2P42   2P43   2P44   2P45   2P46   2P47   2P48   2P49 


I now pass on to explaining the results, which must necessarily follow from the essence of G-D, or of the eternal and infinite being; not, indeed, all of them (for we proved in 1P16, that an infinite number must follow in an infinite number of ways), but only those which are able to lead us, as it were by the hand, to the knowledge of the human mind and its highest blessedness.


2De1.     By body I mean a mode which expresses in a certain determinate manner the essence of G-D, in so far as he is considered as an extended thing (I:Prop.xxv.Coroll.)

2De2.    I consider as belonging to the essence of a thing that, which being given, the thing is necessarily given also, and, which being removed, the thing is necessarily removed also; in other words, that without which the thing, can neither be nor be conceived.

2De3.   By idea, I mean the mental conception which is formed by the mind as a thinking thing.

2De4.    By an adequate idea, I mean an idea which, in so far as it is considered in itself, without relation to the object, has all the properties or intrinsic marks of a true idea.

2De5.   Duration is the indefinite continuance of existing.

2Def. VI.   Reality and perfection I use as synonymous terms.

2Def. VII.  By particular ]individual[ things, I mean things which are finite and have a conditioned existence; but if several individual things concur in one action, so as to be all simultaneously the effect of one cause, I consider them all, so far, as one particular thing.


2Ax. I.    The essence of man does not involve necessary existence, that is, it may, in the order of nature, come to pass that this or that man does or does not exist.

2Ax. II.   Man thinks.

2Ax. III.   Modes of thinking, such as love, desire, or any other of the passions, do not take place, unless there be in the same individual an idea of the thing loved, desired, &c. But the idea can exist without the presence of any other mode of thinking.

2Ax. IV.   We perceive that a certain body is affected in many ways.

2Ax. V.   We feel and perceive no particular ]individual[ things, save bodies and modes of thought.

N.B.  The postulates are given after the conclusion of 2Prop.xiii.


2P1:83.   Thought is an attribute of G-D, or G-D is a thinking thing.

2P2:84.   Extension is an attribute of G-D, or G-D is an extended thing.

2P3:84  In G-D there is necessarily the idea not only of his essence, but also of all things which necessarily follow from his essence.

2P4:85.   The idea of God, from which an infinite number of things follow in infinite ways, can only be one.

2P5:85.   The  actual being of ideas owns God as its cause, only in so far as he is considered as a thinking thing, not in so far as he is unfolded in any other attribute; that is, the ideas both of the attributes of God and of particular things do not own as their efficient cause their objects (ideata) or the things perceived, but God himself in so far as he is a thinking thing.

2P6:86.   The modes of any given attribute are caused by God, in so far as he is considered through the attribute of which they are modes, and not in so far as he is considered through any other attribute.

2P7:86.   The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things.

2P8:87.   The ideas of particular things, or of modes, that do not exist, must be comprehended in the infinite idea of God,  in the same way as the formal essences of particular things or modes are contained in the attributes of God.

2P9:88.  The idea of an individual thing actually existing is caused by God, not in so far as he is infinite, but in so far as He is considered as affected by another idea of a thing actually existing, of which He is the cause, in so far as He is affected by a third idea, and so on to infinity.

2P10:89. The being of substance does not appertain to the essence of man— in other words, substance does not constitute the actual being ("Forma") of man.

2P11:90   The first element, which constitutes the actual being of the human mind, is the idea of some particular thing actually existing.

2P12:91   Whatsoever comes to pass in the object of the idea, which constitutes the human mind, must be perceived by the human mind, or there will necessarily be an idea in the human mind of the said occurrence. That is, if the object of the idea constituting the human mind be a body, nothing can take place in that body without being perceived by the mind.

2P13:92   The object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body, in other words a certain mode of extension which actually exists, and nothing else.


I. The human body is composed of a number of individual parts, of diverse nature, each one of which is in itself extremely complex.

II. Of the individual parts composing the human body some are fluid, some soft, some hard.

III. The individual parts composing the human body, and consequently the human body itself, are affected in a variety of ways by external bodies.

IV. The human body stands in need for its preservation of a number of other bodies, by which it is continually, so to speak, regenerated.

V. When the fluid part of the human body is determined by an external body to impinge often on another soft part, it changes the surface of the latter, and, as it were, leaves the impression there upon of the external body which impels it.

VI. The human body can move external bodies, and arrange them in a variety of ways.

2P14:97.   The human mind is capable of perceiving a great number of things, and is so in proportion as its body is capable of receiving a great number of impressions.

2P15:97.   The idea, which constitutes the actual being of the human mind, is not simple, but compounded of a great number of ideas.

2P16:98   The idea of every mode, in which the human body is affected by external bodies, must involve the nature of the human body, and also the nature of the external body.

2P17:98  If the human body is affected in a manner which involves the nature of any external body, the human mind will regard the said external body as actually existing, or as present to itself, until the human body be affected in such a way, as to exclude the existence or the presence of the said external body.

2P18:100   If the human body has once been affected by two or more bodies at the same time, when the mind afterwards imagines any of them, it will straightway remember the others also.

2P19:101   The human mind has no knowledge of the body, and does not know it to exist, save through the ideas of the modifications whereby the body is affected.

2P20:102.   The idea or knowledge of the human mind is also in G-D, following in G-D in the same manner, and being referred to G-D in the same manner, as the idea or knowledge of the human body.

2P21:102 This idea of the mind is united to the mind in the same way as the mind is united to the body.

2P22:103   The human mind perceives not only the modifications of the body, but also the ideas of such modifications.

2P23:103   The mind does not know itself, except in so far as it perceives the ideas of the modifications of the body.

2P24:104   The human mind does not involve an adequate knowledge of the parts composing the human body.

2P25:104   The idea of each modification of the human body does not involve an adequate knowledge of the external body.

2P26:105   The human mind does not perceive any external body as actually existing, except through the ideas of the modifications of its own body.

Corollary.— (2:26:3) In so far as the human mind imagines ]E2:Bk.VII:27[ an external body, it has not an adequate knowledge thereof.

2P27:105   The idea of each modifications of the human body does not involve an adequate knowledge of the human body itself.

2P28:105   The ideas of the modifications of the human body, in so far as they have reference only to the human mind, are not clear and distinct, but confused.

2P29:106   The idea of the idea of each modification of the human body does not involve an adequate knowledge of the human mind.

EP30:107   We can only have a very inadequate knowledge of the duration of our body.

2P31:107   We can only have a very inadequate knowledge of the duration of particularthings external to ourselves.

2P32:108   All ideas, in so far as they are referred ]related[ to G-D are true.

2P33:108   There is nothing positive in ideas, which causes them to be called false.

2P34:108   Every idea, which in us is absolute or adequate and perfect, is true.

2P35:108   Falsity consists in the privation {lacking} of knowledge, which inadequate, fragmentary, or confused ideas involve.

2P36:109   Inadequate and confused ideas follow by the same necessity, as adequate or clear and distinct ideas.

2P37:109   That which is common to all (cf. Lemma.II. above), and which is equally in a part and in the whole, does not constitute the essence of any particular thing.

2P38:109   Those things, which are common to all, and which are equally in a part and in the whole, cannot be conceived except adequately.

2P39:110   That, which is common to and a property of the human body and such other bodies as are wont to affect the human body, and which is present equally in each part of either, or in the whole, will be represented by an adequate idea in the mind.

2P40:111   Whatsoever ideas in the mind follow from ideas which are therein adequate, are also themselves adequate.

2P41:114   Knowledge of the first kind is the only source of falsity, knowledge of the second and third kinds is necessarily true.

2P42:114   Knowledge of the second and third kinds, not knowledge of the first kind, teaches us to distinguish the true
from the false.

2P43:114   He, who has a true idea, simultaneously knows that he has a true idea, and cannot doubt of the truth of the thing perceived.

2P44:116   It is not in the nature of reason to regard things as contingent, but as necessary.

2P45:117   Every idea of every body, or of every particular thing actually existing, necessarily involves the eternal and infinite essence of G-D.

2P46:118   The knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of G-D which every idea involves is adequate and perfect.

2P47:118   The human mind has an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of G-D.

2P4819   In the mind there is no absolute or freewill; but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by another cause, and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.

2P49:120   There is in the mind no volition or affirmation and negation, save that which an idea, inasmuch as it is an idea, involves.
{Spinoza's Doctrine: The mind makes no free-will, arbritary judgments; but makes judgements based on causes or imagined causes. E2:Endnote 49:0.}

End of Part 2 of 5.

JBY ENDNOTES for Part 2:

E2:Endnote N.11. - From Wolfson's Book XIV:2:8 - Preface

E2:Endnote 40:21. - From Shirley's Book VII:2720 - Imagine (imaginari).

E2:Endnote 49:37.— From Wolfson's Book XIV:2:178 - Buridan's ass

E2:Endnote 49:0.— Spinoza's Doctrine.

E2:Endnote 49:66.—


End of Part II of V.

Only links, comments, and endnotes are abridged, not Spinoza's Works.


JBY Notes to Part 3:

3-1.    See JBY Notes for Part 1 for notes as applicable.

3-2.   Latin versions.

3-3.   Wolfson's summary of Part III.

3-4.   For a "study of the plan of Ethics 3" see Deleuze's Bk.XIX:339-40.


E3 Preface:128

E3 Definitions:129

E3 Postulates:130

Part III Propositions: Book I:Pg. x
To scroll the list of Propositions click here.




Part III Proposition List: Book I:Pg. x;

  3P1     3P2     3P3     3P4     3P5      3P6     3P7    3P8     3P9   3P10  

3P11   3P12   3P13   3P14   3P15   3P16   3P17   3P18   3P19   3P20  

3P21   3P22   3P23   3P24   3P25   3P26   3P27   3P28   3P29   3P30

3P31   3P32   3P33   3P34   3P35   3P36   3P37   3P38   3P39   3P40 

3P41   3P42   3P43   3P44   3P45   3P46   3P47   3P48   3P49   3P50

3P51   3P52   3P53   3P54   3P55   3P56   3P57   3P58   3P59  





(E3Pfc:1) Most writers on the emotions and on human conduct seem to be treating rather of matters outside Nature than of natural phenomena following Nature's general laws. (E3Pfc:2) They appear to conceive man to be situated in Nature as a kingdom within a kingdom: for they believe that he disturbs rather than follows nature's order, that he has absolute control over his actions, and that he is determined solely by himself. (E3Pfc:3) They attribute human infirmities ]weakness[ and fickleness ]frailty[, not to the power of Nature in general, but to some mysterious flaw in the nature of man, which accordingly they bemoan, deride ]ridicule[, despise, or, as usually happens, abuse: he, who succeeds in hitting off [censuring] the weakness of the human mind more eloquently or more acutely [cunningly] than hisfellows, is looked upon as a seer. (E3Pfc:4) Still there has been no lack of very excellent men (to whose toil and industry I confess myself much indebted), who have written many noteworthy things concerning the right way of life and have given much sage advise to mankind. (E3Pfc:5) But no one, so far as I know, has defined the nature and strength of the emotions, and the power of the mind against them for their restraint [moderation].

(E3Pfc:6):128 I do not forget, that the illustrious Descartes, though be believed, that the mind has absolute power over its actions, strove to explain human emotions by their primary causes, and, at the same time, to point out of the way, by which the mind might attain to absolute dominion ]control[ over them. (E3Pfc:7) However, in my opinion, he accomplishes nothing beyond a display of the acuteness ]brilliance[ of his own great intellect ]genius[, as I will show in the proper place. (E3Pfc:8) For the present I wish to revert to those, who would rather abuse or deride human emotions than understand them. (E3Pfc:9) Such persons will, doubtless think it strange that I should attempt to treat of human vice and folly geometrically, and should wish to set forth with rigid ]logical[ reasoning those matters which they cry out against as repugnant to reason, frivolous, absurd, and dreadful. (E3Pfc:10) However, such is my plan. (E3Pfc:11) Nothing comes to pass in Nature, which can be set down to a flaw therein; for Nature is always the same, and everywhere one and the same in her efficacy and power of action; that is, nature's laws and ordinances ]rules[, whereby all things come to pass and change from one form to another, are everywhere and always the same; so that there should be one and the same method of understanding the nature of all things whatsoever, namely, through nature's universal laws and rules. (E3Pfc:12) Thus the passions of hatred, anger, envy, and so on, considered in themselves, follow from this same necessity and efficacy ]force[ of nature; they answer to certain definite causes, through which they are understood, and possess certain properties as worthy of being known as the properties of anything else, whereof the contemplation in itself affords us delight. (E3Pfc:13) I shall, therefore, treat of the nature and strength of the emotions according to the same method, as I employed heretofore in my investigations concerning G-D and the mind. (E3Pfc:14) I shall consider human actions and desires ]appetites[ in exactly the same manner, as though I were concerned with lines, planes, and solids ]bodies[.


3De1.   (1) By an adequate cause, I mean a cause through which its effect can be clearly and distinctly perceived. (2) By an inadequate or partial cause, I mean a cause through which, by itself, its effect cannot be understood.

3De2.   (1) I say that we act when anything takes place, either within us or externally to us, whereof we are the adequate cause; that is (by the foregoing definition) when through our nature something takes place within us or externally to us, which can through our nature alone be clearly and distinctly understood. (2) On the other hand, I say that we are passive as regards something when that something takes place within us, or follows from our nature externally, we being only the partial cause; {our nature being to perpetuate ourselves— conatus.}

3De3.   (1) By emotions I mean the modifications of the body, whereby the active power of said body is increased or diminished, aided or constrained, and also the ideas {conscious or unconscious} of such modifications.


3Post1.   The human body can be affected in many ways, whereby its power of activity is increased or diminished, and also in other ways which do not render its power of activity either greater or less.

3Post2.   The human body can undergo many changes, and, nevertheless, retain the impressions or traces of objects (cf. II:Post.v.), and, consequently, the same images of things (]for the definition of which[ see II:xvii.note).


3P1130   Our mind is in certain cases active, and in certain cases passive. In so far as it has adequate ideas it is necessarily active, and in so far as it has inadequate ideas, it is necessarily passive.

3P2:131   Body cannot determine mind to think, neither can mind determine body to motion or rest or any state different from these, if such there be.

3P3:135   The activities of the mind arise solely from adequate ideas; the passive states of the mind depend solely on inadequate ideas.

3P4:136   Nothing can be destroyed {or changed}, except by a cause external to itself.

3P5:136   Things are naturally contrary, that is, cannot exist in the same object, in so far as one is capable of destroying the other.

3P6:136   Everything, in so far as it is in itself, endeavours to persist in its own being.

3P7:136   The endeavour, wherewith everything endeavours to persist in its own being, is nothing else but the actual essence of the thing in question.

3P8:137   The endeavour, whereby a thing endeavours to persist in its being, involves no finite time, but an indefinite time.

3P9:137   The mind, both in so far as it has clear and distinct ideas, and also in so far as it has confused ideas, endeavours to persist in its being for an indefinite period, and of this endeavour it is conscious.

3P10:138   An idea, which excludes the existence of our body, cannot be postulated in our mind, but is contrary thereto.

3P11:138   Whatsoever increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of activity in our body, the idea thereof increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of thought in our mind.

3P12:139   The mind, as far as it can, endeavours to conceive those things, which increase or help the power of activity in the body.

3P13:139   When the mind conceives [imagines] things which diminish or hinder the body's power of activity, it endeavours, as far as possible, to remember things which exclude the existence of the first-named things.

3P14:140   If the mind has once been affected by two emotions at the same time, it will, whenever it is afterwards affected by one of the two, be also affected by the other.

3P15:140   Anything can, accidentally, be the cause of pleasure, pain, or desire.

3P16:141   Simply from the fact that we conceive, that a given object has some point of resemblance with another object which is wont to affect the mind pleasurably or painfully, although the point of resemblance be not the efficient cause of the said emotions, we shall still regard the first-named object with love or hate.

3P17:142   If we conceive [imagine] that a thing, which is wont to affect us painfully, has any point of resemblance with another thing which is wont to affect us with an equally strong emotion of pleasure, we shall hate the first-named thing, and at the same time we shall love it.

3P18:143  A man is as much affected pleasurably or painfully by the image of a thing past or future as by the image of a thing present.

3P19:144   He who conceives [imagines]that the object of his love is destroyed will feel pain; if he conceives that it is preserved he will feel pleasure.

3P20:144   He who conceives that the object of his hate is destroyed will feel pleasure.

3P21:145   He who conceives, that the object of his love is affected pleasurably or painfully, will himself be affected pleasurably or painfully; and the one or the other emotion will be greater or less in the lover according as it is greater or less in the thing loved.

3P22:145   If we conceive that anything pleasurably affects some object of our love, we shall be affected with love towards that thing. Contrariwise, if we conceive that it affects an object of our love painfully, we shall be affected with hatred towards it.

3P23:146   He who conceives, that an object of his hatred is painfully affected, will feel pleasure. Contrariwise, if he thinks that the said object is pleasurably affected, he will feel pain. Each of these emotions will be greater or less, according as its contrary is greater or less in the object of hatred.

3P24:146   If we conceive [imagine] that anyone pleasurably affects an object of our hate, we shall feel, hatred towards him also. If we conceive that he painfully affects the said object, we shall feel love towards him.

3P25:147   We endeavour to affirm {maintain as true}, concerning ourselves, and concerning what we love, everything that we conceive to affect pleasurably ourselves, or the loved object. Contrariwise, we endeavour to negative everything, which we conceive to affect painfully ourselves or the loved object.

3P26:147   We endeavour to affirm {maintain as true}, concerning that which we hate, everything which we conceive to affect it painfully; and, contrariwise, we endeavour to deny, concerning it, everything which we conceive to affect it pleasurably.

3P27:148   By the very fact that we conceive a thing, which is like ourselves, and which we have not regarded with any emotion, to be affected with any emotion, we are ourselves affected with a like emotion (affectus).

3P28:149   We endeavour to bring about whatsoever we conceive to conduce to pleasure; but we endeavour to remove or destroy whatsoever we conceive to be truly repugnant thereto, or to conduce to pain.

3P29:149   We shall also endeavour to do whatsoeverwe conceive men (NB.By "men" in this and the following propositions, I mean men whom we regard without any particular emotion.) to regard with pleasure, and contrariwise we shall shrink from doing that which we conceive men to shrink from.

3P30:150   If anyone has done something which he conceives as affecting other men pleasurably, he will be affected by pleasure, accompanied by the idea of himself as cause; in other words, he will regard himself with pleasure. On the other hand, if he has done anything which he conceives as affecting others painfully, he will regard himself with pain.

EP31:151   If we conceive that anyone loves, desires, or hates anything which we ourselves love, desire, or hate, we shall thereupon regard the thing in question with more steadfast love, &c. On the contrary, if we think that anyone shrinks from something that we love, we shall undergo vacillation of soul {loss of PcM}.

3P32:152   If we conceive that anyone takes delight in something, which only one person can possess, we shall endeavour to bring it about that the man in question shall not gain possession thereof.

3P33:152   When we love a thing similar to ourselves we endeavour, as far as we can, to bring about that it should love us in return.

3P34:153   The greater the emotion with which we conceive a loved object to be affected towards us, the greater will be our complacency ]vanity[.

3P35:153   If anyone conceives, that an object of his love joins itself to another with closer bonds of friendship than he himself has attained to, he will be affected with hatred towards the loved object and with envy towards his rival.

3P36:154   He who remembers a thing, in which he has once taken delight, desires to possess it under the same circumstances as when he first took delight therein.

3P37:155   Desire arising through pain or pleasure, hatred or love, is greater in proportion as the emotion is greater.

3P38:155   If a man has begun to hate an object of his love, so that love is thoroughly destroyed, he will, causes being equal, regard it with more hatred than if he had never loved it, and his hatred will be in proportion to the strength of his former love.

3P39:156   He who hates anyone will endeavour to do him an injury, unless he fears that a greater injury will thereby accrue to himself; on the other hand, he who loves anyone will, by the same law, seek to benefit him.

3P40:157   He, who conceives himself to be hated by another, and believes that he has given him no cause for hatred, will hate that other in return.

3P41:158   If anyone conceives that he is loved by another, and believes that he has given no cause for such love, he will love that other in return. (Cf. III:xv. Coroll., and III:xvi.)

3P42:158   He who has conferred a benefit on anyone from motives of love or honour will feel pain, if he sees that the benefit is received without gratitude.

3P43:159   Hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be destroyed by love.

3P44:159   Hatred which is completely vanquished by love passes into love: and love is thereupon greater than if hatred had not preceded it {becaue the increase is therefore greater}.

3P45:160   If a man conceives, that anyone similar to himself hates anything also similar to himself, which he loves, he will hate that person.

3P46:160   If a man has been affected pleasurably or painfully by anyone, of a class or nation different front his own, and if the pleasure or pain has been accompanied by the idea of the said stranger as cause, under the general category of the class or nation: the man will feel love or hatred, not only to the individual stranger, but also to the whole class or nation whereto he belongs.

3P47:160   Joy arising from the fact, that anything we hate is destroyed, or suffers other injury, is never unaccompanied by a certain pain in us.

3P48:161   Love or hatred towards, for instance, Peter is destroyed, if the pleasure involved in the former, or the pain involved in the latter emotion, be associated with the idea of another cause: and will be diminished in proportion as we conceive Peter not to have been the sole cause of either emotion.

3P49:161   Love or hatred towards a thing, which we conceive to be free, must, other conditions being similar, be greater than if it were felt towards a thing acting by necessity.

3P50:162   Anything whatever can be, accidentally ]indirectly[ a cause of hope or fear.

3P51:163   Different men may be differently affected by the same object, and the same man may be differently affected at different times by the same object.

EP52:164   An object which we have formerly seen in conjunction with others, and which we do not conceive to have any property that is not common to many, will not be regarded by us for so long, as an object which we conceive to have some property peculiar to itself.
[If we have previously seen an object together with others, or we imagine it has nothing but what is common to many things, we shall not consider it so long as one which we imagine to have something singular.]

3P53:165   When the mind regards itself and its own power of activity, it feels pleasure: and that pleasure is greater in proportion to the distinctness wherewith it conceives itself and its own power of activity.

3P54:166   The mind endeavours to conceive only such things as assert its power of activity.

3P55:166   When the mind contemplates [imagines] its own weakness, it feels pain thereat.

3P56:168   There are as many kinds of pleasure, of pain, of desire, and of every emotion compounded of these, such as vacillations of spirit, or derived from these, such as love, hatred, hope, fear, &c., as there are kinds of objects whereby we are affected.

3P57:169   Any emotion of a given individual differs from the emotion of another individual, only in so far as the essence of the one individual differs from the essence of the other.

3P58:171   Besides pleasure and desire, which are passivities or passions, there are other emotions derived from pleasure and desire, which are attributable to us in so far as we are active.

3P59:171   Among all the emotions attributable to the mind as active, there are none which cannot be referred to pleasure or desire.


3De1:173  Desire (cupiditas) (appetere) is the actual essence of man, in so far as it is conceived, as determined to a particular activity by some given modification of itself.

3De2174   Pleasure [°JOY] (laetitia) is the transition of a man from a less to a greater perfection {°P}.

E3De3:174   Pain [°SORROW] (tristitia) is the transition of a man from a greater to a less perfection {°P}

3De4:174  Wonder (admiratio) is the conception (imaginatio) of anything, wherein the mind comes to a stand, because the particular concept in question has no connection with other concepts (cf. III:lii. & Note).

3De5175   Contempt (contemptus) [disdain] is the conception (imaginatio) of anything which touches the mind so little, that its presence leads the mind to imagine those qualities which are not in it rather than such as are in it (cf. III:lii.note).

3De6:175   Love (amor) is pleasure [joy], accompanied by the idea {E3De.6 N} of an external cause. {See Hatred.}

3De7:176  Hatred (odium) is pain [sadness], accompanied by the idea {E3De.6n} of an external cause. {See Love.}

3De8:176   Inclination (propensio) is pleasure [joy], accompanied by the idea of something which is accidentally a cause of pleasure.

3De9:176   Aversion (aversio) is pain [sadness], accompanied by the idea of something which is accidentally the cause of pain (cf. III:xv.note).

3De10:176   Devotion (devotio) is love towards one whom we admire (admiratio) [wonder at].

3De11:176   Derision (irrisio) [mockery] is pleasure arising from our conceiving the presence of a quality, which we despise, in an object which we hate.

3De12:176  Hope (spes) is an inconstant pleasure, arising from the idea of something past or future, whereof we to a certain extent doubt the issue.

3De13:176   Fear (metus) is an inconstant pain arising from the idea, of something past or future, whereof we to a certain extent doubt the issue. (cf. III:xviii.note)

3De14:177  Confidence (securitas) is pleasure [ joy ] arising from the idea of something past or future, wherefrom all cause of doubt has been removed.

3De15:177   Despair (desperatio) is pain [sadness] arising from the idea of something past or future, wherefrom all cause of doubt has been removed.

3De16:177   Joy (gaudium) is pleasure accompanied by the idea of something past, which has had an issue beyond our hope.

3De17:177   Disappointment (conscientiae morsus) is pain accompanied by the idea of something past, which has had an issue contrary to our hope.

3De18:177   Pity (commiseratio) is pain accompanied by the idea of evil, which has befallen someone else whom we conceive to be like ourselves. (cf. III:.xxii.note, and III:xxvii.note).

3De19:177   Approval (favor) [favor] is love towards one who has done good to another.

3De20:178   Indignation (indignatio) is hatred towards one who has done evil to another.

3De21:178   Partiality (existimatio) [overestimation] is thinking, too highly of anyone because of the love we bear him.

3De22I:178   Disparagement (despectus) [scorn] is thinking too meanly of anyone, because we hate him.

3De23:178   Envy (invidia) is hatred, in so far as it induces a man to be pained by another's good fortune, and to rejoice in another's evil fortune.

3De34:178   Sympathy [compassion] is love, in so far as it induces a man to feel pleasure at another's good fortune, and pain at another's evil fortune.

3De25:178   Self-approval (acquiescentia in se ipso) [self-esteem], pleasure arising from a man's contemplation of himself and his own power of action.

3De36:178   Humility (humilitas) is pain arising from a man's contemplation of his own weakness, of body or mind.

3De27:179   Repentance (poenitentia) is pain accompanied by the idea of some action, which we believe we have performed by the free decision of our mind.

3De28:179   Pride (superbia) is thinking, too highly of one's self from self-love.

EDe29:180   Self-abasement (abjectio) [despondency] is thinking too meanly of one's self by reason of pain.

EDe30:181   Honour (gloria) [love of esteem] is pleasure accompanied by the idea of some action of our own, which we believe to be praised by others.

3De31:181   Shame (pudor) is pain accompanied by the idea of some action of our own, which we believe to be blamed by others.

3De32:181   Regret (desiderium) [longing] is the desire or appetite to possess something, kept alive by the remembrance of the said thing, and at the same time constrained by the remembrance of other things which exclude the existence of it.

3De33:182   Emulation (aemulatio) is the desire of something, engendered in us by our conception that others have the same desire.

3De34:182   Thankfulness (gratitudo) or Gratitude is the desire or zeal springing from love, whereby we endeavour to benefit him, who with similar feelings of love has conferred a benefit on us. (Cf. III:xxxix.note & III:xl.)

3De35:182   Benevolence (benevolentia) is the desire of benefitting one whom we pity. Cf. III:xxvii.note.

3De36:182   Anger (ira) is the desire, whereby through hatred we are induced to injure one whom we hate.

3De37:182   Revenge (vindicta) [vengence] is the desire whereby we are induced, through mutual hatred, to injure one who, with similar feelings, has injured us. (See III:xl.Coroll.ii. & Note.)

3De38:182   Cruelty or savageness (saevitia) (crudelitas) [severity] is the desire, whereby a man is impelled to injure one whom we love or pity.

3De39:182   Timidity (timor) is the desire to avoid a greater evil, which we dread, by undergoing a lesser evil. Cf. III:xxxix.note.

3De40:182   Daring (audacia) ]boldness[ is the desire, whereby a man is set on to do something dangerous which his equals fear to attempt.

3De41:182   Cowardice (pusillanimitas) is attributed to one, whose desire is checked by the fear of some danger which his equals dare to encounter.

3De42:183   Consternation (consternatio) is attributed to one, whose desire of avoiding evil is checked by amazement at the evil which he fears.

3De43:183   Courtesy, (humanitas, seu modestia) or deference , is the desire of acting in a way that should please men, and refraining from that which should displease them.

3De44:183   Ambition is the immoderate desire of power ]honour[.

3De45:183   Luxury [gluttony], ]dissipation[ is excessive desire, or even love of living sumptuously.

3De46:183   Intemperance [drunkenness] is the excessive desire and love of drinking.

3De47:183   Avarice [greed] is the excessive desire and love of riches.

3De48:184   Lust is desire and love in the matter of sexual intercourse.

(3De48:4) Again, I have already pointed out, that temperance, sobriety, and chastity, indicate rather a power than a passivity of the mind. (3De48:5) It may, nevertheless, happen, that an avaricious, an ambitious, or a timid man may abstain from excess in eating, drinking, or sexual indulgence, yet avarice, ambition, and fear are not contraries to luxury, drunkenness, and debauchery. (3De48:6) For an avaricious man often is glad to gorge himself with food and drink at another man's expense. (3De48:7) An ambitious man will restrain himself in nothing, so long as he thinks his indulgences are secret; and if he lives among drunkards and debauchees ]libertines[, he will, from the mere fact of being ambitious, be more prone to those vices. (3De48:8) Lastly, a timid man does that which he would not. (3De48:9) For though an avaricious man should, for the sake of avoiding death, cast his riches into the sea, he will none the less remain avaricious; so, also, if a lustful man is downcast, because he cannot follow his bent, he does not, on the ground of abstention, cease to be lustful. (3De48:10) In fact, these emotions are not so much concerned with the actual feasting, drinking, &c., as with the appetite and love of such. (3De48:11) Nothing, therefore, can be opposed to these emotions, but high-mindedness ]courage[ and valour ]nobility[, whereof I will speak presently.

(3De48:12) The definitions of jealousy and other waverings of the mind I pass over in silence, first, because they arise from the compounding of the emotions already described; secondly, because many of them have no distinctive names, which shows that it is sufficient for practical purposes to have merely a general knowledge of them. (3De.48:13) However, it is established from the definitions of the emotions, which we have set forth, that they all spring from desire, pleasure, or pain, or, rather, that there is nothing besides these three; wherefore each is wont to be called by a variety of names in accordance with its various relations and extrinsic tokens. (3De48:14) If we now directour attention to these primitive emotions, and to what has been said concerning the nature of the mind, we shall be able thus to define the emotions, in so far as they are referred to the mind only.


(GN:1):185 Emotion, which is called a passivity of the soul [mind], is a confused idea whereby the mind affirms concerning its body, or any part thereof, a force for existence (existendi vis) greater or less than before, and by the presence of which the mind is determined to think {desire} of one thing rather than another.


E3:Endnote - From Wolfson's Book XIV:2:184 - Summary of Part III.

E3:Endnote 11:0. - From Book XIV - Volume 2, Page 195.

E3:Endnote 59:6 - ". . . I set down to highmindedness."

Perhaps high-mindedness (enlightenedness) but it is not altruistic. He creates a better society of which, he as part, benefits.

E3:Endnote De.6 -". . . accompanied by the idea . . ."

E3:Endnote GN:2 - ". . . is a confused idea."


End of Part III of V.

Of Human Bondage

or the Strength of the Emotions

Only links, comments, and endnotes are abridged, not Spinoza's Works. 


JBY Notes for Part 4:

2-1.   See JBY Notes for Part 1 for notes as applicable.

2-2.   For a "study of the plan of Ethics 4" see Deleuze's Bk.XIX:340-1.

4-3.   Latin versions.

4-4.  Wolfson's summary of Part IV.



E4 Preface:187

E4 Definitions:190

E4 Axiom:191

E4 Appendix:236


Part IV Proposition List: Book I:Pg. xiv;

4P1        4P2     4P3      4P4      4P5     4P6     4P7      4P8     4P9   4P10   

4P11   4P12   4P13   4P14   4P15   4P16   4P17   4P18   4P19   4P20   

4P21   4P22   4P23   4P24    4P25    4P26   4P27   4P28   4P29   4P30   

4P31   4P32    4P33   4P34   4P35    4P36    4P37   4P38   4P39   4P40   

4P41   4P42   4P43   4P44    4P45   4P46   4P47   4P48    4P49   4P50   

4P51    4P52   4P53   4P54   4P55   4P56    4P57   4P58   4P59   4P60.   

4P61   4P62   4P63    4P64   4P65   4P66   4P67   4P68   4P69    4P70   

4P71   4P72   4P73   

E4 Appendix:236



(4:Prf:1) Human infirmity in moderating and checking the emotions I name bondage: for, when a man is a prey to his emotions, he is not his own master, but lies at the mercy of fortune: so much so, that he is often compelled, while seeing that which is better for him, to follow that which is worse. (4:Prf:2) Why this is so, and what is good or evil in the emotions, I propose to show how in this part of my treatise. (4:Prf:3) But, before I begin, it would be well to make a few prefatory observations on perfection and imperfection {E4:EndnotePrf:4}, good and evil. (4:Prf:4) When a man has purposed to make a given thing, and has brought it to perfection, his work will be pronounced perfect, not only by himself, but by everyone who rightly knows, or thinks that he knows, the intention and aim of its author. (4:Prf:5) For instance, suppose anyone sees a work (which I assume to be not yet completed), and knows that the aim of the author of that work is to build a house, he will call the work imperfect; he will, on the other hand, call it perfect, as soon as he sees that it is carried through to the end, which its author had purposed for it. (4:Prf:6) But if a man sees a work, the like whereof he has never seen before, and if he knows not the intention of the artificer, he plainly cannot know, whether that work be perfect or imperfect. (4:Prf:7) Such seems to be the primary meaning of these terms.

(4:Prf:8):187 But, after men began to form general ideas, to think out types of houses, buildings, towers, &c., and to prefer certain types to others, it came about, that each man called perfect that which he saw agree with the general idea he had formed of the thing in question, and called imperfect that which he saw agree less with his own preconceived type, even though it had evidently been completed in accordance with the idea of its artificer. (4:Prf:9) This seems to be the only reason for calling natural phenomena, which, indeed, are not made with human hands, perfect or imperfect: for men are wont to form general ideas of things natural, no less than of things artificial, and such ideas they hold as types, believing that Nature (who they think does nothing without an object) has them in view, and has set them as types before herself. (4:Prf:10) Therefore, when they behold something in Nature, which does not wholly conform to the preconceived type which they have formed of the thing in question, they say that Nature has fallen short or has blundered, and has left her work incomplete. (4:Prf:11) Thus we see that men are wont to style natural phenomena perfect or imperfect rather from their own prejudices, than from true knowledge of what they pronounce upon.

(4:Prf:12):188 Now we showed in the Appendix to Part I., that Nature does not work with an end in view. (4:Prf:13) For the eternal and infinite Being, which we call God or Nature, acts by the same necessity as that whereby it exists. (4:Prf:14) For we have shown, that by the same necessity of its nature, whereby it exists, it likewise works (I:xvi.). (4:Prf:15) The reason or cause why God or Nature exists, and the reason why he acts, are one and the same. (4:Prf:16) Therefore, as he does not exist for the sake of an end, so neither does he act for the sake of an end; of his existence and of his action there is neither origin nor end. (4:Prf:17) Wherefore, a cause which is called final is nothing else but human desire, insofar as it is considered as the origin or cause of anything. (4:Prf:18) For example, when we say that to be inhabited is the final cause of this or that house, we mean nothing more than that a man, conceiving the conveniences of household life, had a desire to build a house. (4:Prf:19) Wherefore, the being inhabited, in so far as it is regarded as a final cause, is nothing else but this particular desire, which is really the efficient cause; it is regarded as the primary cause, because men are generally ignorant of the causes of their desires. (4:Prf:20) They are, as I have often said already, conscious of their own actions and appetites, but ignorant of the causes whereby they are determined to any particular desire. (4:Prf:21)188 Therefore, the common saying that Nature sometimes falls short, or blunders, and produces things which are imperfect, I set down among the glosses treated of in the Appendix to Part 1. (4:Prf:22) Perfection and imperfection, then, are in reality merely modes of thinking, or notions which we form from a comparison among one another of individuals of the same species; hence I said above (II:Def.vi.), that by reality and perfection I mean the same thing. (4:Prf:23) For we are wont to refer all the individual things in Nature to one genus, which is called the highest genus, namely, to the category of Being, whereto absolutely all individuals in Nature belong. (4:Prf:24) Thus, in so far as we refer the individuals in Nature to this category, and comparing them one with another, find that some possess more of being or reality than others, we, to this extent, say that some are more perfect than others. (4:Prf:25) Again, in so far as we attribute to them anything implying negation— as term, end, infirmity, etc., we, to this extent, call them imperfect, because they do not affect our mind so much as the things which we call perfect, not because they have any intrinsic deficiency, or because Nature has blundered. (4:Prf:26) For nothing lies within the scope of a thing's nature, save that which follows from the necessity of the nature of its efficient cause, and whatsoever follows from the necessity of the nature of its efficient cause necessarily comes to pass.

(4:Prf:27):189 As for the terms good and bad, they indicate no positive quality {E4:D1} in things regarded in themselves, but are merely modes of thinking, or notions which we form from the comparison of things one with another. (4:Prf:28) Thus one and the same thing can be at the same time {objective} good, bad, and indifferent. (4:Prf:29) For instance, music is good for him that is melancholy, bad for him that mourns; for him that is deaf, it is neither good nor bad.

(4:Prf:30) Nevertheless, though this be so, the terms should still be retained. (4:Prf:31) For, inasmuch as we desire to form an idea of man as a type of human nature which we may hold in view, it will be useful for us to retain the terms in question, in the sense I have indicated.

(4:Prf:32):189 In what follows, then, I shall mean by, "good" that, which we certainly know to be a means of approaching more nearly to the type of human nature, which we have set before ourselves; by "bad," that which we certainly know to be a hindrance to us in approaching the said type. (4:Prf:33):190 Again, we shall say that men are more perfect, or more imperfect, in proportion as they approach more or less nearly to the said type. (4:Prf:34) For it must be specially remarked that, when I say that a man passes from a lesser to a greater perfection {°P}, or vice versâ, I do not mean that he is changed from one essence or reality to another; for instance, a horse would be as completely destroyed by being changed into a man, as by being changed into an insect. (4:Prf:35) What I mean is, that we conceive the thing's power of action, in so far as this is understood by its nature, to be increased or diminished. (4:Prf:36) Lastly, by perfection in general I shall, as I have said, mean reality in other words, each thing's essence, in so far as it exists, and operates in a particular manner, and without paying any regard to its duration. (4:Prf:37) For no given thing can be said to be more perfect, because it has passed a longer time in existence. (4:Prf:38) The duration of things cannot be determined by their essence, for the essence of things involves no fixed and definite period of existence; but everything, whether it be more perfect or less perfect, will always be able to persist in existence with the same force wherewith it began to exist; wherefore, in this respect, all things are equal.


4De1:190  By good I mean that which we certainly know to be useful to us.

4De2.   By evil I mean that which we certainly know to be a hindrance to us in the attainment of any good.

4De3.   Particular things I call contingent in so far as, while regarding their essence only, we find nothing therein, which necessarily asserts their existence or excludes it.

4De4:190  Particular things I call possible in so far as, while regarding the causes whereby they must be produced, we know not, whether such causes be determined for producing them.

(In I:xxxiii.note.i., I drew no distinction between possible and contingent, because there was in that place no need to distinguish them accurately.)

4De5:191   By conflicting emotions I mean those which draw a man in different directions, though they are of the same kind, such as luxury and avarice, which are both species of love, and are contraries, not by nature, but by accident.

:191   What I mean by emotion felt towards a thing, future, present, and past, I explained in III:xviii., notes.i., & ii., which see.

4De7:191  By an end, for the sake of which we do something, I mean a desire.

:191  By virtue (virtus) and power I mean the same thing; that is (III:vii.), virtue, in so far as it is referred to man, is a man's nature or essence, in so far as it has the power of effecting what can only be understood by the laws of that nature.

E4 AXIOM:191

There is no individual thing in nature, than which there is not another more powerful and strong. Whatsoever thing be given, there is something stronger whereby it can be destroyed.


:191   No positive quality possessed by a false idea is removed by the presence of what is true, in virtue of its being true.

4P2:192   We are only passive, in so far as we are a part of Nature, which cannot be conceived by itself without other parts.

4P3:193   The force whereby a man persists in existing is limited, and is infinitely surpassed by the power of external causes.

4P4:193   It is impossible, that man should not be a part of Nature, or that he should be capable of undergoing no changes, save such as can be understood through his nature only as their adequate cause.

4P5:194   The power and increase of every passion, and its persistence in existing are not defined by the power, whereby we ourselves endeavour to persist in existing, but by the power of an external cause compared with our own.

4P6:194   The force of any passion or emotion can overcome the rest of a man's activities or power, so that the emotion becomes obstinately fixed to him.

4P7:194   An emotion can only be controlled or destroyed by another emotion contrary thereto, and with more power for controlling emotion.

4P8:195   The knowledge of good and evil is nothing else but the emotions of pleasure or pain, in so far as we are conscious thereof.

4P9:196   An emotion, whereof we conceive the cause to be with us at the present time, is stronger than if we did not conceive the cause to be with us.

4P10:196   Towards something future, which we conceive as close at hand, we are affected more intensely, than if we conceive that its time for existence is separated from the present by a longer interval; so too by the remembrance of what we conceive to have not long passed away we are affected more intensely, than if we conceive that it has long passed away.

4P11:197   An emotion towards that which we conceive as necessary is, when other conditions are equal, more intense than an emotion towards that which is possible, or contingent, or non-necessary.

4P12:197   An emotion towards a thing, which we know not to exist at the present time, and which we conceive as possible, is more intense, other conditions being equal, than an emotion towards a thing contingent.

4P13:198   Emotion towards a thing contingent, which we know not to exist in the present, is, other conditions being equal, fainter than an emotion towards a thing past.

4P14:198   A true knowledge of good and evil cannot check any emotion by virtue of being true, but only in so far as it is considered as an emotion.

4P15:198   Desire arising from the knowledge of good and bad can be quenched or checked by many of the other desires arising from the emotions whereby we are assailed [tormented].

4P16:199   Desire arising from the knowledge of good and evil, in so far as such knowledge regards what is future, may be more easily controlled or quenched, than the desire for what is agreeable [more pleasurable] at the present moment.

4P17:199   Desire arising from the true knowledge of good and evil, in so far as such knowledge is concerned with what is contingent, can be controlled far more easily still, than desire for things that are present.

4P18:200   Desire arising from pleasure is, other conditions being equal, stronger than desire arising from pain.

4P19:202   Every man, by the laws of his nature, necessarily desires or shrinks from that which he deems to be good or bad.

4P20:202   The more every man endeavours, and is able to seek what is useful to him— in other words, to preserve his own being— the more is he endowed with virtue; on the contrary, in proportion as a man neglects to seek what is useful to him, that is, to preserve his own being, he is wanting in power.

4P21:203   No one can desire to be blessed, to act rightly, and to live rightly, without at the same time wishing to be, act, and to live— in other words, to actually exist.

4P22:203   No virtue can be conceived as prior to this endeavour to preserve one's own being.

4P23:204   Man, in so far as he is determined to a particular action because he has inadequate ideas, cannot be absolutely said to act in obedience to virtue; he can only be so described, in so far as he is determined for the action because he understands.

4P24:204   To act absolutely in obedience to virtue is in us the same thing as to act, to live, or to preserve one's being (these three terms are identical in meaning) in accordance with the dictates of reason on the basis of seeking what is useful to one's self.

4P25:204   No one wishes to preserve his being for the sake of anything else.

4P26:205   Whatsoever we endeavour in obedience to reason is nothing further than to understand; neither does the mind, in so far as it makes use of reason, judge anything to be useful to it, save such things as are conducive to understanding.

4P27:205   We know nothing to be certainly good or evil, save such things as really conduce to understanding, or such as are able to hinder us from understanding.

4P28:205   The mind's highest good is the knowledge of G-D, and the mind's highest virtue is to know G-D.

4P29:206   No individual thing, which is entirely different from our own nature, can help or check our power of activity, and absolutely nothing can do us good or harm, unless it has something in common with our nature.

4P30:206   A thing cannot be bad for us through the quality which it has in common with our nature, but it is bad for us in so far as it is contrary to our nature.

4P31:207   In so far as a thing is in harmony with our nature, it is necessarily good.

4P32:207   In so far as men are a prey to passion, they cannot, in that respect, be said to be naturally in harmony.

4P33:208   Men can differ in nature, in so far as they are assailed by those emotions, which are passions, or passive states; and to this extent one and the same man is variable and inconstant. 

4P34:208   In so far as men are assailed by emotions which are passions, they can be contrary one to another.

4P35:209   In so far only as men live in obedience ]guidance[ to reason, do they always necessarily agree in nature.

4P36:211   The highest good of those who follow virtue is common to all, and therefore all can equally rejoice therein.

4P37:211   The good which every man, who follows after virtue, desires for himself he will also desire for other men, and so much the more, in proportion as he has a greater knowledge of G-D.

4P38:215   Whatsoever disposes the human body, so as to render it capable of being affected in an increased number of ways, or of affecting external bodies in an increased number of ways, is useful to man; and is so, in proportion as the body is thereby rendered more capable of being affected or affecting other bodies in an increased number of ways; contrariwise, whatsoever renders the body less capable in this respect is hurtful to man.

4P39:215   Whatsoever brings about the preservation of the proportion of motion and rest, which the parts of the human body mutually possess, is good; contrariwise, whatsoever causes a change in such proportion is bad.

4P40:216   Whatsoever conduces to man's social life, or causes men to live together in harmony, is useful, whereas whatsoever brings discord into a State is bad.

4P41:217   Pleasure in itself is not bad but good: contrariwise, pain in itself is bad.

4P42:217   Mirth (hilaritas) cannot be excessive, but is always good; contrariwise, Melancholy is always bad.

4P43:217   Stimulation (titillatio) may be excessive and bad; on the other hand, grief may be good, in so far as stimulation or pleasure is bad.

4P44:218   Love and desire may be excessive.

4P45:218   Hatred can never be good.

4P46:220   He, who lives under the guidance of reason, endeavours, as far as possible, to render back love, or kindness, for other men's hatred, anger, contempt, &c., towards him.

4P47:220   Emotions of hope and fear cannot be in themselves good.

4P48:221   The emotions (existimatio) of over-esteem and disparagement (despectus) are always bad.

4P49:221   Over-esteem is apt to render ]recipient[ its object proud.

4P50:221   Pity, in a man who lives under the guidance of reason, is in itself bad and useless.

4P51:222   Approval (favor) is not repugnant ]opposed[ to reason, but can agree therewith and arise therefrom.

4P52:222   Self-approval [Self-esteem] may arise from reason, and that which arises from reason is the highest possible.

4P53:223   Humility is not a virtue, or does not arise from reason.

4P54:223   Repentance is not a virtue, or does not arise from reason; but he who repents of an action is doubly wretched or infirm.

4P55:224   Extreme pride or dejection]self-abasement[ indicates extreme ignorance of self. 

4P56:224   Extreme pride or dejection indicates extreme infirmity of spirit {lack of PcM}. 

4P57:224   The proud man delights in the company of flatterers and parasites, but hates the company of the high-minded.

4P58:226   Honour (gloria) [Love of esteem] is not repugnant to reason, but may arise therefrom.

4P59:227   To all the actions, whereto we are determined by emotion wherein the mind is passive; we can be determined without emotion by reason.

4P60:228   Desire arising from a pleasure or pain, that is not attributable, to the whole body, but only to one or certain parts thereof, is without utility in respect to a man as a whole.

4P61:229   Desire which springs from reason cannot be excessive.

4P62:229   In so far as the mind conceives a thing under the dictates of reason, it is affected equally, whether the idea be of a thing future, past, or present.

4P63:230   He who is led by fear, and does good in order to escape evil, is not led by reason.

4P64:231   The knowledge of evil is an inadequate knowledge.

4P65:231   Under the guidance of reason we should pursue the greater of two goods and the lesser of two evils.

4P66:231   We may, under the guidance of reason, seek a greater good in the future in preference to a lesser good in the present, and we may seek a lesser evil in the present in preference to a greater evil in the future.

4P67:232   A free man thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life.

4P68:232   If men were born free, they would, so long as they remained free, form no conception of good and evil.

4P69:233   The virtue of a free man is seen to be as great, when it declines dangers, as when it overcomes them.

4P70:234   The free man, who lives among the ignorant, strives, as far as he can, to avoid receiving favours from them.

4P71:234   Only free men are thoroughly grateful one to another.

4P72:235   The free man never acts fraudulently ]deceitfully[, but always in good faith.

4P73:235   The man, who is guided by reason, is more free in a State, where he lives under a general system of law, than in solitude, where he is independent.



What I have said in this Part concerning the right way of life has not been arranged, so as to admit of being seen at one view, but has been set forth piece-meal, according as I thought each Proposition could most readily be deduced from what preceded it. I propose, therefore, to rearrange my remarks and to bring them under leading heads.

Ap.I:236  All our endeavours or desires so follow from the necessity of our nature, that they can be understood either through it alone, as their proximate cause, or by virtue of our being a part of Nature, which cannot be adequately conceived through itself without other individuals.

Ap.II:236  Desires, which follow from our nature in such a manner, that they can be understood through it alone, are those which are referred to the mind, in so far as the latter is conceived to consist of adequate ideas: the remaining desires are only referred to the mind, in so far as it conceives things inadequately, and their force and increase are generally defined not by the power of man, but by the power of things external to us: wherefore the former are rightly called actions, the latter passions, for the former always indicate our power, the latter, on the other hand, show our infirmity and fragmentary knowledge.

Ap.III:237  Our actions, that is, those desires which are defined by man's power or reason, are always good. The rest maybe either good or bad.

Ap.IV:237  (1) Thus in life it is before all things useful to perfect the understanding or reason, as far as we can, and in this alone man's highest happiness {better°PcM} or blessedness consists, indeed blessedness is nothing else but the contentment of spirit {peace-of-mind}, which arises from the intuitive knowledge of God: now, to perfect the understanding is nothing else but to understand God, God's attributes, and the actions which follow from the necessity of his Nature. (2) Wherefore of a man, who is led by reason, the ultimate aim or highest desire, whereby he seeks to govern [moderate] {influence} all his fellows, is that whereby he is brought to the adequate conception of himself and of all things within the scope of his intelligence [understanding].

Ap.V:237  Therefore, without intelligence there is not rational life: and things are only good, in so far as they aid man in his enjoyment of the intellectual life, which is defined by intelligence. (2) Contrariwise, whatsoever things hinder man's perfecting of his reason, and capability to enjoy the rational life, are alone called evil.

Ap.VI:237  As all things whereof man is the efficient cause are necessarily good, no evil can befall man except through external causes; namely, by virtue of man being a part of universal Nature, whose laws human nature is compelled to obey, and to conform to in almost infinite ways.

Ap.VII:237  It is impossible, that man should not be a part of Nature, or that he should not follow her general order; but if he be thrown among individuals whose nature is in harmony with his own, his power of action will thereby be aided and fostered, whereas, if he be thrown among such as are but very little in harmony with his nature, he will hardly be able to accommodate himself to them without undergoing a great change himself.

:238  (1) Whatsoever in nature we deem to be evil, or to be capable of injuring our faculty for existing and enjoying the rational life, we may endeavour to remove in whatever way seems safest to us; on the other hand, whatsoever we deem to be good or useful for preserving our being, and enabling us to enjoy the rational life, we may appropriate to our use and employ as we think best. (2) Everyone without exception may, by sovereign right of nature, do whatsoever he thinks will advance his own interest.

Ap.IX:238  (1) Nothing can be in more harmony with the nature of any given thing than other individuals of the same species; therefore (cf. vii.) for man in the preservation of his being and the enjoyment of the rational life there is nothing more useful than his fellow-man who is led by reason. (2) Further, as we know not anything among individual things which is more excellent than a man led by reason, no man can better display the power of his skill and disposition, than in so training men, that they come at last to live under the dominion of their own reason.

Ap.X:238  In so far as men are influenced by envy or any kind of hatred, one towards another, they are at variance, and are therefore to be feared in proportion, as they are more powerful than their fellows.

Ap.XI:238  Yet minds are not conquered by force, but by love and high-mindedness.

Ap.XII:238  It is before all things useful to men to associate their ways of life, to bind themselves together with such bonds as they think most fitted to gather them all into unity, and generally to do whatsoever serves to strengthen friendship.

Ap.XIII:238  (1) But for this there is need of skill and watchfulness. (2) For men are diverse (seeing that those who live under the guidance of reason are few), yet are they generally envious and more prone to revenge than to sympathy. (3) No small force of character is therefore required to take everyone as he is, and to restrain one's self from imitating the emotions of others. (4) But those who carp at mankind, and are more skilled in railing at vice than in instilling virtue, and who break rather than strengthen men's dispositions, are hurtful both to themselves and others. (5) Thus many from too great impatience of spirit, or from misguided religious zeal, have preferred to live among brutes rather than among men; as boys or youths, who cannot peaceably endure the chidings of their parents, will enlist as soldiers and choose the hardships of war and the despotic discipline in preference to the comforts of home and the admonitions of their father: suffering any burden to be put upon them, so long as they may spite their parents.

Ap.XIV:239  (1) Therefore, although men are generally governed in everything by their own lusts, yet their association in common brings many more advantages than drawbacks. (2) Wherefore it is better to bear patiently the wrongs they may do us, and to strive to promote whatsoever serves to bring about harmony and friendship.

Ap.XV:239  (1) Those things, which beget harmony, are such as are attributable to justice, equity, and honourable living. (2) For men brook ill not only what is unjust or iniquitous, but also what is reckoned disgraceful, or that a man should slight the received customs of their society. (3) For winning love those qualities are especially necessary which have regard to religion and piety (cf. IV:xxxvii.Notes.i., &.ii.; IV:xlvi.Note; and IV:lxxiii.Note).

Ap.XVI:239  (1) Further, harmony is often the result of fear: but such harmony is insecure. (2) Further, fear arises from infirmity of spirit {loss of peace-of-mind}, and moreover belongs not to the exercise of reason: the same is true of compassion, though this latter seems to bear a certain resemblance to piety.

Ap.XVII:239  (1) Men are also gained over by liberality, especially such as have not the means to buy what is necessary to sustain life. (2) However, to give aid to every poor man is far beyond the power and the advantage ]resources[ of any private person. (3) For the riches of any private person are wholly inadequate to meet such a call. (4) Again, an individual man's resources of character are too limited for him to be able to make all men his friends. (5) Hence providing for the poor is a duty, which falls on the State as a whole, and has regard only to the general advantage ]common good[.

Ap.XVIII:239  In accepting favours, and in returning gratitude our duty must be wholly different (cf. IV:lxx.Note; IV:lxxi.Note).

Ap.XIX:240  Again, meretricious love ]love of a mistress[, that is, the lust of generation arising from bodily beauty, and generally every sort of love, which owns anything save freedom of soul as its cause, readily passes into hate; unless indeed, what is worse, it is a species of madness; and then it promotes discord rather than harmony (cf. III:xxxi.Coroll.).

Ap.XX:240  As concerning marriage, it is certain that this is in harmony with reason, if the desire for physical union be not engendered solely by bodily beauty, but also by the desire to beget children and to train them up wisely; and moreover, if the love of both, to wit, of the man and of the woman, is not caused by bodily beauty only, but also by freedom of soul.

Ap.XXI:240  (1) Furthermore, flattery begets harmony; but only by means of the vile offence of slavishness or treachery. (2) None are more readily taken with flattery than the proud, who wish to be first, but are not.

Ap.XXII:240  (1) There is in abasement a spurious appearance of piety and religion. (2) Although abasement is the opposite to pride, yet is he that abases himself most akin to the proud (IV:lvii.Note).

Ap.XXIII:240  (1) Shame also brings about harmony, but only in such matters as cannot be hid. (2) Further, as shame is a species of pain, it does not concern the exercise of reason.

Ap.XXIV:240  The remaining emotions of pain towards men are directly opposed to justice, equity, honour, piety, and religion; and, although indignation seems to bear a certain resemblance to equity [fairness], yet is life but lawless, where every man may pass judgment on another's deeds, and vindicate his own or other men's rights.

Ap.XXV:240  (1) Correctness of conduct (modestia), that is, the desire of pleasing men which is determined by reason, is attributable to piety (as we said in IV:xxxvii.Note.i.). (2) But, if it spring from emotion, it is ambition, or the desire whereby, men, under the false cloak of piety, generally stir up discords and seditions. (3) For he who desires to aid his fellows. either in word or in deed, so that they may together enjoy the highest good, he, I say, will before all things strive to, win them over with love: not to draw them into admiration, so that a system may be called after his name, nor to give any cause for envy. (4) Further, in his conversation he will shrink from talking of men's faults, and will be careful to speak but sparingly of human infirmity: but he will dwell at length on human virtue or power, and the way whereby it may be perfected. (5) Thus will men be stirred not by fear, nor by aversion, but only by the emotion of joy, to endeavour, so far as in them lies, to live in obedience to reason.

Ap.XXVI:241  Besides men, we know of no particular thing in Nature in whose mind we may rejoice, and whom we can associate with ourselves in friendship or any sort of fellowship; therefore, whatsoever there be in nature besides man, a regard for our advantage does not call on us to preserve, but to preserve or destroy according to its various capabilities, and to adapt to our use as best we may.

Ap.XXVII:241  (1) The advantage which we derive from things external to us, besides the experience and knowledge which we acquire from observing them, and from recombining their elements in different forms, is principally the preservation of the body; from this point of view, those things are most useful which can so feed and nourish the body, that all its parts may rightly fulfil their functions. (2) For, in proportion as the body is capable of being affected in a greater variety of ways, and of affecting external bodies in a great number of ways, so much the more is the mind capable of thinking (IV:xxxviii., IV:xxxix.). (3) But there seem to be very few things of this kind in nature; wherefore for the due nourishment of the body we must use many foods of diverse nature. (4) For the human body is composed of very many parts of different nature, which stand in continual need of varied nourishment, so that the whole body may be equally capable of doing everything that can follow from its own nature, and consequently that the mind also may be equally capable of forming many perceptions.

Ap.XXVIII:241  (1) Now for providing these nourishments the strength of each individual would hardly suffice, if men did not lend one another mutual aid. (2) But money has furnished us with a token for everything: hence it is with the notion of money, that the mind of the multitude is chiefly engrossed: nay, it can hardly conceive any kind of pleasure, which is not accompanied with the idea of money as cause.

:242. (1) This result is the fault only of those, who seek money, not from poverty or to supply their necessary wants, but because they, have learned the arts of gain [making money], wherewith they bring themselves to great splendour. (2) Certainly they nourish their bodies, according to custom, but scantily, believing that they lose as much of their wealth as they spend on the preservation of their body. (3) But they who know the true use of money, and who fix the measure of wealth solely with regard to their actual needs, live content with little.

Ap.XXX:242  (1) As, therefore, those things are good which assist the various parts of the body, and enable them to perform their functions; and as pleasure consists in an increase of, or aid to, man's power, in so far as he is composed of mind and body; it follows that all those things which bring pleasure are good. (Ap30:2) But seeing that things do not work with the object of giving us pleasure, and that their power of action is not tempered to suit our advantage, and, lastly, that pleasure is generally referred to one part of the body more than to the other parts; therefore most emotions of pleasure (unless reason and watchfulness be at hand), and consequently the desires arising therefrom, may become excessive. (Ap30:3) Moreover we may add that emotion leads us to pay most regard to what is agreeable in the present, nor can we estimate what is future with emotions equally vivid. (IV:xliv.Note, and IV:lx.Note.)

Ap.XXXI:242  (1) Superstition, on the other hand, seems to account ]assert as good all that brings pain, and as bad all that brings pleasure. (2) However, as we said above (IV:xlv.Note), none but the envious take delight in my infirmity and trouble. (3) For the greater the pleasure whereby we are affected, the greater is the perfection whereto we pass, and consequently the more do we partake of the divine Nature: no pleasure can ever be evil, which is regulated ]controlled[ by a true regard for our advantage. (4) But contrariwise he, who is led by fear and does good only to avoid evil, is not guided by reason.

Ap.XXXII:242. (Ap32:1) But human power is extremely limited, and is infinitely surpassed by the power of external causes; we have not, therefore, an absolute power of shaping to our use those things which are without us ]external to[. (2) Nevertheless, we shall bear with an equal mind all that happens to us in contravention ]that is contrary[ to the claims of our own advantage, so long as we are conscious, that we have done our duty, and that the power which we possess is not sufficient to enable us to protect ourselves completely; remembering that we are a part of universal Nature, and that we follow her order. (Ap32:3) If we have a clear and distinct understanding of this, that part of our nature which is defined by intelligence, in other words the better part of ourselves, will assuredly acquiesce in what befalls us, and in such acquiescence will endeavour to persist. (Ap32:4) For, in so far as we are intelligent beings, we cannot desire anything save that which is necessary, nor yield absolute acquiescence to anything, save to that which is true: wherefore, in so far as we have a right understanding of these things, the endeavour of the better part of ourselves is in harmony with the order of Nature as a whole. <E4:Bk.XV:283note161>

End of Part IV of V.



E4:Title From Bk.XV:280132—

E4:Endnote N.11.- From Book XIV - Volume 2, Page 223—

E4:Endnote Prf(4). - From Book VII:152note1—

E4:Endnote Appendix. - From Book XV:283note161—

E4:Endnote Ap.IV- From Book XIA:135—

End of Endnotes of Part IV of V.


E5:Endnote Preface 1:2— From Bk.XIX:130.notea. Beatitude - Blessedness.

E5:Endnote 18:3 - Peace of Mind.







Cash Value (effective value)—G-D





External, Ego, Id, thing—1D7


G-D, Evolve—1D6

Golden-Rule, Organic—Righteousness

Good and Bad—Good or Bad


Idea, Adequate—



Mode— G-d







Prejudice - From Parkinson's Bk.XV:268note49 - Prejudice.


The Hebrew word often mis-translated as pity (compassion, love, is better) is rakh'-am, Strong:7355— to fondle, love, cherish, affection. A related word is rekh'em, Strong:7358— the womb (cherishing the foetus). Based on this etymology, the compassion, forgiveness, and LOVE we should feel for each other is like that of a mother for the issue of her womb, perhaps varying in degree but not in kind; it is in no way altruistic. HirPent:Gn 43:14.











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First Issued: August 25, 2000  
Revised: March 12, 2004  
by Joseph B. Yesselman  


"A Dedication to Spinoza's Insights"