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Ethics and the Ethics: How Does Reason Become Practical?

Ethics and the Ethics: How Does Reason Become Practical?

Chapter:
(p.229) Chapter 8 Ethics and the Ethics: How Does Reason Become Practical?
Source:
Spinoza and the Cunning of Imagination
Author(s):
Eugene Garver
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226575735.003.0009

The final chapter confronts the cunning of imagination in its ultimate form. The imagination is indispensable. Even if it interferes with our knowledge of God, and therefore our achievement of our highest good, we need imagination to negotiate a world which we cannot but see as contingent. The indispensability of imagination seems to make practical reason impossible, and thus threatens the entire project of the Ethics. The one place in our practical and ethical lives where we need reason and not imagination is in self-knowledge. There is never smooth sailing in the drama of the Ethics. Starting from universal premises, the Ethics ends with the statement that good things are as difficult as they are rare.

Keywords:   practical reason, contingency, necessity, self-knowledge, highest good

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