The mainstays of the moralistic polemic against the ethical philosophy of Spinoza have always been the doctrine in Ethices III., of mental conatus or desire, and its relation to its object, misinterpreted as coercive ‘force’ a tergo, and the extended correspondence with van Blyenbergh1 concerning what is usually called ‘the problem of evil,’ viz. its nature and incidence in a world created by a perfect Being. I shall contend that with a correct interpretation of determination by desire, and of the emanational ‘privation’ with which evil is identified, neither text conflicts with an ethical doctrine of the strictest kind, but that on the contrary both disclose essential grounds for the elaboration of any satisfactory ethical theory.
KeywordsAssimilation Dura Hate Emend
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