Discussion Questions for Spinoza's
Ethics, Books II and V
In Book II of the Ethics, Spinoza
moves from a discussion of God to a discussion of the mind. Among
the interesting claims that he makes is that there is no free
will. The final Book of the Ethics concerns human freedom.
This has been a very influential part of Spinoza's philosophy
because it concerns the possibility of human blessedness, a state
of character that Spinoza presents as a genuine possibility for
human beings. We need to focus on how he thinks of human freedom,
since all things are caused, and how this can lead to the state
1. What is distinctive about Spinoza's conception of the human
2. Why does Spinoza think that there
is no free will?
3. Spinoza claims that love of God is the most constant of all
emotions. Why is this so?
4. What does Spinoza mean by blessedness? How can it be achieved?