more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 4853

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 3. Universalisability]

Full Idea

Men who are governed by reason - that is, who seek what is useful to them in accordance with reason - desire for themselves nothing, which they do not also desire for the rest of mankind, and so are just, faithful and honourable in their conduct.

Gist of Idea

Rational people are self-interested, but also desire the same goods for other people


Baruch de Spinoza (The Ethics [1675], IV Pr 18)

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Ethics, Improvement of Understanding, Letters', ed/tr. Elwes,R [Dover 1955], p.202

A Reaction

This is pulling a rather Kantian rabbit out of a very social contract hat. It chimes in with Aristotle's account of self-interest, which leads to good civic virtues. True Kantianism is self-abnegating, but Spinoza lets selfishness take the lead.