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Spinoza and the Cunning of Imagination$
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Eugene Garver

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226575568

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226575735.001.0001

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Ethics and the Ethics: How Does Reason Become Practical?

Ethics and the Ethics: How Does Reason Become Practical?

(p.229) Chapter 8 Ethics and the Ethics: How Does Reason Become Practical?
Spinoza and the Cunning of Imagination

Eugene Garver

University of Chicago Press

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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