Self-Knowledge as Self-Preservation?

  • J. Thomas Cook
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 91)


In this century much attention has been given to what might be called the naturalistic or scientific side of Spinoza’s thought. This attention is appropriate, I think, for it reflects a recognition of the seriousness with which our author claimed, in the Preface to Part III of the Ethics, that

… nature’s laws and ordinances, 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 (Spinoza, 1955, p. 129).

The uncompromising sweep of this methodological pronouncement is impressive, and recent commentators such as Hampshire (1951), Curley (1969) and Matson (1977) have responded appropriately by emphasizing Spinoza’s naturalism, seeing his system as an attempt to lay the metaphysical foundations for the new, developing “natural philosophy” of his time — that natural philosophy which was in many ways the progenitor of our own natural science.


Adequate Idea Common Notion Eternal Life Finite Mode Eternal Activity 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Thomas Cook
    • 1
  1. 1.Rollins CollegeWinter ParkUSA

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