58 Facts About Baruch Spinoza


Baruch Spinoza's given name, which means "Blessed", varies among different languages.

FactSnippet No. 558,267

Baruch Spinoza was frequently called an "atheist" by contemporaries, although nowhere in his work does Spinoza argue against the existence of God.

FactSnippet No. 558,268

Baruch Spinoza lived an outwardly simple life as an optical lens grinder, collaborating on microscope and telescope lens designs with Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens.

FactSnippet No. 558,269

Baruch Spinoza turned down rewards and honours throughout his life, including prestigious teaching positions.

FactSnippet No. 558,270

Baruch Spinoza died at the age of 44 in 1677 from a lung illness, perhaps tuberculosis or silicosis exacerbated by the inhalation of fine glass dust while grinding lenses.

FactSnippet No. 558,271

Baruch Spinoza is buried in the Christian churchyard of Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague.

FactSnippet No. 558,272

Baruch Spinoza's philosophy encompasses nearly every area of philosophical discourse, including metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science.

FactSnippet No. 558,273

Baruch Spinoza's philosophy is largely contained in two books: the Theologico-Political Treatise, and the Ethics.

FactSnippet No. 558,274

Baruch Spinoza was the second son of Miguel de Espinoza, a successful, although not wealthy, Portuguese Sephardic Jewish merchant in Amsterdam.

FactSnippet No. 558,275

Baruch Spinoza had a traditional Jewish upbringing, attending the Keter Torah yeshiva of the Amsterdam Talmud Torah congregation headed by the learned and traditional senior Rabbi Saul Levi Morteira.

FactSnippet No. 558,276

Baruch Spinoza's teachers included the less traditional Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel.

FactSnippet No. 558,277

However, Baruch Spinoza never reached the advanced study of the Torah, dropping out at the age of 17 in order to work in the family importing business after the death of his elder brother, Isaac.

FactSnippet No. 558,278

Baruch Spinoza duly recited Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, for eleven months as required by Jewish law.

FactSnippet No. 558,279

Some time between 1654 and 1658, Baruch Spinoza began to study Latin with Franciscus van den Enden.

FactSnippet No. 558,280

Baruch Spinoza adopted the Latin name Benedictus de Baruch Spinoza, began boarding with Van den Enden, and began teaching in his school.

FactSnippet No. 558,281

For example, questioned by two members of his synagogue, Baruch Spinoza apparently responded that God has a body and nothing in scripture says otherwise.

FactSnippet No. 558,282

The language of Baruch Spinoza's censure is unusually harsh, however, and does not appear in any other censure known to have been issued by the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam.

FactSnippet No. 558,283

In those works, Baruch Spinoza denies the immortality of the soul; strongly rejects the notion of a providential God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and claims that the Law was neither literally given by God nor any longer binding on Jews.

FactSnippet No. 558,284

Thus, the issuance of Baruch Spinoza's censure was almost certainly, in part, an exercise in self-censorship by the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam.

FactSnippet No. 558,285

Third, it appears likely that Baruch Spinoza had already taken the initiative to separate himself from the Talmud Torah congregation and was vocally expressing his hostility to Judaism itself, through his philosophical works, such as the Part I of Ethics.

FactSnippet No. 558,286

Baruch Spinoza had probably stopped attending services at the synagogue, either after the lawsuit with his sister or after the knife attack on its steps.

FactSnippet No. 558,287

Baruch Spinoza had committed the "monstrous deed", contrary to the regulations of the synagogue and the views of some rabbinical authorities, of filing suit in a civil court rather than with the synagogue authorities—to renounce his father's heritage, no less.

FactSnippet No. 558,288

Baruch Spinoza kept the Latin name Benedict de Baruch Spinoza, maintained a close association with the Collegiants (a Christian sect of Remonstrants) and Quakers, even moved to a town near the Collegiants' headquarters, and was buried at the Protestant Church, Nieuwe Kerk, The Hague.

FactSnippet No. 558,289

Hava Tirosh-Samuelson explains "For Baruch Spinoza truth is not a property of Scripture, as Jewish philosophers since Philo had maintained, but a characteristic of the method of interpreting Scripture.

FactSnippet No. 558,290

Baruch Spinoza spent his remaining 21 years writing and studying as a private scholar.

FactSnippet No. 558,291

Baruch Spinoza spent a brief time in or near the village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, but returned soon afterwards to Amsterdam and lived there quietly for several years, giving private philosophy lessons and grinding lenses, before leaving the city in 1660 or 1661.

FactSnippet No. 558,292

In 1660 or 1661, Baruch Spinoza moved from Amsterdam to Rijnsburg, the headquarters of the Collegiants.

FactSnippet No. 558,293

In Voorburg, Baruch Spinoza continued work on the Ethics and corresponded with scientists, philosophers, and theologians throughout Europe.

FactSnippet No. 558,294

Leibniz visited Baruch Spinoza and claimed that Baruch Spinoza's life was in danger when supporters of the Prince of Orange murdered de Witt in 1672.

FactSnippet No. 558,295

Baruch Spinoza was known for making not just lenses but telescopes and microscopes.

FactSnippet No. 558,296

The quality of Baruch Spinoza's lenses was much praised by Christiaan Huygens, among others.

FactSnippet No. 558,297

Baruch Spinoza was said by anatomist Theodor Kerckring to have produced an "excellent" microscope, the quality of which was the foundation of Kerckring's anatomy claims.

FactSnippet No. 558,298

Baruch Spinoza was offered the chair of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, but he refused it, perhaps because of the possibility that it might in some way curb his freedom of thought.

FactSnippet No. 558,299

Baruch Spinoza corresponded with Peter Serrarius, a radical Protestant and millenarian merchant.

FactSnippet No. 558,300

Baruch Spinoza's philosophy has been associated with that of Leibniz and Rene Descartes as part of the rationalist school of thought, " which means that at its heart is the assumption that ideas correspond to reality perfectly, in the same way that mathematics is supposed to be an exact representation of the world.

FactSnippet No. 558,301

Early in The Ethics Baruch Spinoza argues that there is only one substance, which is absolutely infinite, self-caused, and eternal.

FactSnippet No. 558,302

Baruch Spinoza defined God as "a substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence", and since "no cause or reason" can prevent such a being from existing, it therefore must exist.

FactSnippet No. 558,303

Baruch Spinoza believed that God is "the sum of the natural and physical laws of the universe and certainly not an individual entity or creator".

FactSnippet No. 558,304

Baruch Spinoza attempts to prove that God is just the substance of the universe by first stating that substances do not share attributes or essences, and then demonstrating that God is a "substance" with an infinite number of attributes, thus the attributes possessed by any other substances must be possessed by God.

FactSnippet No. 558,305

Baruch Spinoza argues that "things could not have been produced by God in any other way or in any other order than is the case".

FactSnippet No. 558,306

Baruch Spinoza has been described as an "Epicurean materialist", specifically in reference to his opposition to Cartesian mind-body dualism.

FactSnippet No. 558,307

Baruch Spinoza, however, deviated significantly from Epicureans by adhering to strict determinism, much like the Stoics before him, in contrast to the Epicurean belief in the probabilistic path of atoms, which is more in line with contemporary thought on quantum mechanics.

FactSnippet No. 558,308

That this is what Baruch Spinoza has in mind can be seen at the end of the Ethics, in E5P24 and E5P25, wherein Baruch Spinoza makes two final key moves, unifying the metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical propositions he has developed over the course of the work.

FactSnippet No. 558,309

Later in 1665, Baruch Spinoza notified Oldenburg that he had started to work on a new book, the Theologico-Political Treatise, published in 1670.

FactSnippet No. 558,310

Baruch Spinoza stated that both religions are made "to deceive the people and to constrain the minds of men".

FactSnippet No. 558,311

Jacobi claimed that Baruch Spinoza's doctrine was pure materialism, because all Nature and God are said to be nothing but extended substance.

FactSnippet No. 558,312

Baruch Spinoza inspired the poet Shelley to write his essay "The Necessity of Atheism".

FactSnippet No. 558,313

Baruch Spinoza was considered to be an atheist because he used the word "God" [Deus] to signify a concept that was different from that of traditional Judeo–Christian monotheism.

FactSnippet No. 558,314

Baruch Spinoza has therefore been called the "prophet" and "prince" and most eminent expounder of pantheism.

FactSnippet No. 558,315

For Baruch Spinoza, the universe is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension.

FactSnippet No. 558,316

Baruch Spinoza said, "a substance which is absolutely infinite is indivisible".

FactSnippet No. 558,317

Baruch Spinoza's philosophy played an important role in the development of post-war French philosophy.

FactSnippet No. 558,318

Many of these philosophers "used Baruch Spinoza to erect a bulwark against the nominally irrationalist tendencies of phenomenology", which was associated with the dominance of Hegel, Martin Heidegger, and Edmund Husserl in France at that time.

FactSnippet No. 558,319

Deleuze's interpretation of Baruch Spinoza's philosophy was highly influential among French philosophers, especially in restoring to prominence the political dimension of Baruch Spinoza's thought.

FactSnippet No. 558,320

Deleuze published two books on Baruch Spinoza and gave numerous lectures on Baruch Spinoza in his capacity as a professor at the University of Paris VIII.

FactSnippet No. 558,321

Baruch Spinoza equated God with Nature, consistent with Einstein's belief in an impersonal deity.

FactSnippet No. 558,322

Baruch Spinoza is an important historical figure in the Netherlands, where his portrait was featured prominently on the Dutch 1000-guilder banknote, legal tender until the euro was introduced in 2002.

FactSnippet No. 558,323

Baruch Spinoza was included in a 50 theme canon that attempts to summarise the history of the Netherlands.

FactSnippet No. 558,324