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Ethics As Medicine For The Mind (5P1–20)

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Chapter Summary

The Preface of Part 5 of Ethics is devoted to an extensive critique of the idea of freedom and free will both in Descartes and the Stoics. At the end of the Preface Spinoza claims that the power of ratio exists exclusively in the understanding (intelligere): only through or in understanding shall we find the remedia against the emotions or passions. What he describes, is a type of medicina or therapy that must lead to a full flourishing and a full freedom. The Preface to Part 5 explains that this ethica-medicina (mentis) should not be confused with medicina in the current sense. All the remedia of ethics or medicine of the mind can only exist in one or other form of intelligentia; they concern not the body, but the mind itself, and consist not of bodily but of mental processes.

Keywords: Ethics; freedom; intelligere; medicina; medicine; mind; ratio; remedia; Spinoza



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