The Basis of Virtue in Spinoza’s Thought

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Theology, College of Farabi, University of Tehran, Qom, Iran

2 MSc, Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, ACECR, Tehran, Iran


Spinoza, the rationalist philosopher of the 17th century, believed that philosophy and science must be used to attain human perfection. As a result, he focused on making an intellectual system the ultimate goal of which for him was bliss, one which was based on the virtuous life. In this article, we try to understand the reality of virtue and its metaphysical and anthropological foundations in Spinoza’s philosophy. This study is based on the descriptive-analytical method and uses the philosophical approach for the specification of the question at hand. In brief, the study shows that Spinoza’s understanding of virtue is based on the unity of substance, the identity of substance/God and infinite power, the similarity between cause and effect, naturalism, parallelism of mind and body, and rationalism. He synthesizes some aspects of platonic, Aristotelian, hedonistic, utilitarian, stoic, and Hobbesian views and identifies true virtue with power (conatus), activity and rationality. He puts the rational knowledge about God and rational love to Him at the core of his theory. It is on the basis of this understanding that the human being can overcome his emotional passions and achieve stability.


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