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Benedict Spinoza

Date of Birth:
November 24, 1632

Date of Death:
February 21, 1677

Quote count:

Times favorited:

Baruch or Benedict de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death. Today, he is considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy, laying the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. By virtue of his magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, Spinoza is also considered one of Western philosophy's definitive ethicists.

Spinoza lived quietly as a lens grinder, turning down rewards and honors throughout his life, including prestigious teaching positions, and gave his family inheritance to his sister. Spinoza's moral character and philosophical accomplishments prompted 20th-century philosopher Gilles Deleuze to name him "the absolute philosopher." Spinoza died in February 1677 of a lung illness, perhaps tuberculosis or silicosis caused by fine glass dust inhaled while tending to his trade.

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