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Publisher's Summary

Spinoza's brilliant metaphysical system was derived neither from reality nor experience. Starting from basic assumptions, with a series of geometric proofs he built a universe which was also God, one and the same thing, the classic example of pantheism. Although his system seems an oddity today, Spinoza's conclusions are deeply in accord with modern thought, from science (the holistic ethics of today's ecologists) to politics (the idea that the state exists to protect the individual). Both Spinoza's system and conclusions have compelling beauty unequaled in the history of philosophy.

In Spinoza in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Spinoza's life and ideas, and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Spinoza's work, a brief list of suggested readings for those who wish to delve deeper, and chronologies that place Spinoza within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.

©1998 Paul Strathern (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Well-written, clear, and informed, they have a breezy wit about them. I find them hard to stop reading." (The New York Times)

What listeners say about Spinoza in 90 Minutes

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very Useful for the Beginner

It can take a lot to sit down and digest 17th century Philosophy. I was interested in Spinoza because he's often mentioned as a proponent of Pantheism. The narrator is excellent (the same, BTW, as for A Short History of Everything - 5 stars). 90 minutes was just about right. Very useful for getting acquianted with Spinoza for the first time.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Silly Spinoza

This version of "90 Minutes" wasn't as good as the one on Hegel. The author made Spinoza out to be pretty goofy and introverted, more interested in eating raisin soup than educating others in philosophy. Id like to have heard more about his ideas of pantheism, than his eating habits. According to the author Spinoza died early because of his grinding away at lenses, which he swallowed and caused him to die at an early age.

3 people found this helpful

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It felt.like an undergrad research paper.

While it started with a nice tongue-in-cheek style and have a decent biography of the man, the book itself mostly expressed the author's opinions on the philosophy with little support. It felt like an undergrad research paper than an introduction to the works of one of the giants of philosophy.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting, clear and enticing

This is a good introduction to Spinoza's life and work. Reading his work will be easier since we already can place them within the context of his time and life.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Straight to the point!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I would. This book was a great way to familiarize one-self with Spinoza quickly and efficiently.

What other book might you compare Spinoza in 90 Minutes to and why?

This question does not compute. Clearly audible made poor choices in outsourcing this website. lol

What does Robert Whitfield bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

WTF? this question is unanswerable.

If you could give Spinoza in 90 Minutes a new subtitle, what would it be?

I would not.

Any additional comments?

Again, great audio book, straight to the point and useful.

1 person found this helpful

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Mr. Strathern: comedy and edification

I did not realize Spinoza birthed some of the philosophical underpinnings of western democracy. His thoughts on the role of government and its interaction with the individual, make understanding his great philosophy of high importance.

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A well done synopsis of a fascinating philosopher.

What a great way to be introduced to one of history's most enigmatic philosophers. The author does a superb job in just 90 mins..

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  • HT
  • 07-26-21

For Philosohy lovers and what are we doing here?

Excellent, to the point, interesting and easy to follow. A must for the big questions of life!

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Short and sweet summary, not bad at all

liked it and had no problem listening just felt like the bulk of it was already known through YouTube honestly

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Just enough information to get a person started

I think this audiobook comes in at a little under the ninety minutes advertised, but then again, its subject died at a relatively early age. I knew only the bare minimum about this philosopher and haven't read his work, so it was nice to have some idea of a few of the main ideas and the daring innovations he is associated with. It was clear that he didn't fit in with the time and place he occupied, and that the only way he could make his ideas known was to do what he did and have the bulk of it released only after his death. How much easier and more conducive it would have been for him to live in modern Western society! But then the rational approach he was after would not have been out there to influence the Enlightenment and it's anyone's guess where we would be by now. I'm not sure I can quite agree with Spinoza's pantheistic identification of the cosmos as a whole with anything I would call God, which puts the main argument in favor of existence the medieval Ontological Argument which never seemed sound to me anyhow.

There were a couple of times while listening to the narration I had to laugh out loud at some of the little jokes the author put in about his subject. I hadn't read any of his other books before but I expect this to be sort of a calling card of his style. Overall this gave just a bit more than a taste of what Spinoza's life and thinking were about, and I think anyone wondering whether they want to find out more would be able to make up their mind from such an introduction.