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Benedict de Spinoza was born in Amsterdam in 1632, where his orthodox Jewish family had fled from persecution in Portugal. Spinoza was expelled from the synagogue for his heterodox philosophy, and earned his living as an optical-lens grinder. He identified God with nature and denied the possibility of an act of creation. Ethics was published in 1677 after his death and explored a doctrine which inspired the Romantic poets. Edwin Curley is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan and editor and translator of Spinoza's Collected Works. Stuart Hampshire was elected a Fellow of All Souls in 1936 and was a tutor in philosophy. He has held numerous presitigious academic posts.

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The noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers ... ethically he is supreme. (Bertrand Russell)

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