The First Draft of Spinoza's Ethics

In Spinoza in 21st-Century French and American Philosophy. Bloomsbury (forthcoming)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
The two manuscripts of the Korte Verhanedling that were discovered in the mid-nineteenth century contain two appendices. These appendices are even more enigmatic than the KV itself, and it is the first appendix that is the subject of this study. Unfortunately, there are very few studies of this text, and its precise nature seems to be still in question after more than a century and a half of scholarship. It is commonly assumed that the appendices were written after the body of the KV and I am not going to challenge this assumption. The first appendix is written in a geometric manner, and it contains seven axioms and four propositions. Strikingly, it does not include any definitions. This is in sharp contrast with Spinoza's Ethics and his 1663 book on Descartes' Principles of Philosophy, which are similarly written in a geometric manner but include both definitions and axioms. One could perhaps suspect that the text we currently have is merely a fragment from a more extensive work which included definitions. In my paper, I will show that this is not the case, and that the first appendix belongs to a genuine work of Spinoza that never contained definitions. I would further argue that the first appendix is most probably the earliest draft we currently have of Spinoza's magnum opus, the Ethics, but we have a long way to go before we reach that conclusion.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-02-07
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
104 ( #22,798 of 39,620 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
14 ( #27,406 of 39,620 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.