Ethical Dilemmas: The Great Philosopher Baruch Spinoza

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When faced with an ethical dilemma, many people, look to their faith in God for guidance. It is quite understandable that the defined moral characteristics that religion provides helps individuals see through the uncertainty of life. The great philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, was a fervent believer of the almighty, and even argued that God predestined everything that happens to you. However, he encouraged his readers to not blindly worship the text. Instead, he advocated for the use of philosophical thinking to decipher God’s meaning. I commend Spinoza’s idea of worshipping beyond the biblical text, but my main criticism is purely subjective. I am not a heavily religious person. Therefore, when faced with a ethical dilemma, I choose to look for…show more content…
He believed since god is all knowing (of past, present, and future), than there is nothing to surprise him. That is especially true when considering action, and in this case choosing between options when approaching an ethical dilemma. This idea of forfeiting free will to rely on God’s infinite wisdom doesn’t sit well with me. I, personally, like to believe that there is a right or wrong answer. Even when the choices don’t necessarily present “right” versus “wrong”. I prefer to believe there is a “lesser of the two evils” in one of the choices/actions I might take. Spinoza instead believes we should not stress because an individual 's destiny is already written. “Every idea of any body or particular thing existing in actuality necessarily involves the eternal and infinite essence of God” (Cahn, proposition 45). What Spinoza is saying here is a confirmation that he believes that God has a hand in anything. Spinoza’s belief that whatever happens, happens for a reason, doesn’t resonate well with me. When I see a person fail at a task, whether that be at work, school, or in everyday life; I fully believe it is someone 's fault. Whether that be the user, or the lack of training by the instructor, or a total mistake entirely. I’d rather blame myself for mistakes, and learn from them, than use Spinoza’s philosophy as a scapegoat. I believe my criticism of Spinoza’s idea to be entirely subject…show more content…
Epictetus was a stoic philosopher who preached the value of free thought. I found his approach to life to be more laid back then the other two philosophers mentioned so far. Epictetus mentions very early on in his writing “Encheiridion”, that he doesn’t believe in material importance. To him the only thing we can control in life are our “...opinions...impulses, desires, [and] aversions” (Cahn, line 2). Basically, anything that was not of our own doing does not belong to us, nor is it apart of one’s true self. His rally against materialism is probably a nurturing of his time spent as a slave. Most of his philosophy in the “Encheiridion” actually seems to stem from his enslaved lifestyle. One of his main points revolves around the fact that it is our judgements about things that affect us. “For example, death is not dreadful, but instead the judgement about death that is dreadful” (Cahn, pt. 5). His message here is intense but the point he is communicating is that if you view everything as “not yours” than you cannot be upset when it leaves existence. A particular message Epictetus presents is his realism. I can identify with that half heartedly but his logic is sound. “Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well” (Cahn, pt. 8). In short, don’t live life wanting fame and fortune and you won’t feel despair when you never
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