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BOOK REVIEWS 107 Aristotelian investigation .... The historical accuracy of an account that makes an Aristotelian of Spinoza is open to question, particularly in view of Spinoza's disparaging remarks about Aristotle, although some writers, notably Wolfson, have regarded Aristotle as an important influence on Spinoza..." (pp. 10-11). Elsewhere, Mark claims that "Wolfson's unfortunate tendency to underplay Platonist elements in Spinoza can be illustrated by his treatment of Leone Ebreo" (p. 124, n. 14). And finally: "The presence of Platonist elements in Spinoza should not come as a surprise; and if it does it is perhaps partly because one of the most formidable works on Spinoza in English, Woffson's The Philosophy o/ Spinoza, unfortunately tends to emphasize Aristotelian characteristics at the expense of others" (p. 125). Now, the "disparaging remarks about Aristotle" to which Mark refers are those in Letter LVI, which are equally disparaging to Plato. In any case, while Wolfson does say that Aristotle, along with Maimonides and Descartes, is one of the three dominant influences on Spinoza, his thesis is not so much that Spinoza was an Aristotelian, as that he was the "last of the mediaevals," and was in particular influenced by the mediaeval Hebrew tradition. Although Mark (perhaps justly) decries Wolfson for underplaying Leone Ebreo's influence on Spinoza, he nowhere indicates which aspects of Spinoza's theory of Intellectual Love are found in the Dialoghi d'Amore and not in, say, the Guide o] the Perplexed . While Mark's references to Platonism are vague, his wariness of relating Spinoza to anything "Aristotelian" has restrained him from following up Wolfson's references to Maimonides, references which would have helped him in his analysis of Spinoza's theory of truth, especially in his final chapter, "Truth and Freedom." Notwithstanding these historical faults, Mark's book makes an estimable contribution to the study of Spinoza. Its analysis does clarify aspects of Spinoza's conception of truth; and beyond that, its vigorous argumentation entices the reader to work with the author in rethinking Spinoza. WARRENHARVEY McGill University Struggle ]or Synthesis. The Seventeenth Century Background o] Leibniz's Synthesis o] Order and Freedom. By Leroy E. Loemker. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972. Pp. xi + 318.) This study is richer in research and illumination, as well as controversy, than its subtitle might suggest. While Leibniz is often involved in the book's key issues, and serves as a focal point of the synthesis theme, others studied are by no means "background." Detailed exposition is presented of such philosophers as Zabarella, Campanella, Juan Luis Vives, Bruno, Suarez, Ramus, John Henry Alsted, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, John Henry Bisterfeld , Pascal, Malebranche and Locke, though Leibniz is accorded the greatest care (and is faulted where faults are found). Professor Loemker's thesis is that, thanks to the contributions of Zabarella, Campanella, Vives, Ramus, Bruno, Alsted and Bisterfeld, "the great systematizers" were able to undertake the task of defining those ideals necessary to the establishment of a new social order, yet responsive to the new pressures toward diversity and a "more socialized sense of freedom." This task required synthesis of the inherited courtier tradition of the man of honor, with the "libertine" tradition of new-found selfconsciousness and rejection of older "higher" authority. Loemker sees several of the systematic philosophers, most notably Leibniz, as achieving this synthesis under the concept homo honestatis, wherein freedom is achieved through reasoned action loyal to the universal order increasingly reflected by order and virtue within oneself. Hence the great systematic philosophers---and he has in mind especially Spinoza, Hobbes, Malebranche and Leibniz--undertake the "apologetic and strategic" task of grounding the best ideals of the time in a real rational order from which classical virtues still could be nurtured by 108 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY way of ontologies responsive to the new dynamics and mathematics of the seventeenth century. The second theme of the book is that the emerging syntheses were eventually "undermined," sometimes even from within (i.e., by their creators), so that by 1716 or so the "libertine" tradition was on its way to becoming dominant, subjectivism and isolation were becoming pervasive, science merely phenomenal, and man's most vital virtues reduced to mere private feelings...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 107-111
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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