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Environmental Ethics

Volume 19, Issue 4, Winter 1997

K. L. F. Houle
Pages 417-431

Spinoza and Ecology Revisted

Spinoza has been appropriated as a philosophical forefather of deep ecology. I identify what I take to be the relevant components of Spinoza’s metaphysics, which, at face value, appear to be harmonious with deep ecology’s commitments. However, there are central aspects of his moral philosophy which do not appear to be “environmentally friendly,” in particular the sentiments expressed in the Ethics IV35C1 and IV37S1. I describe environmental ethics’ treatment of these passages and then indicate what I take to be a more satisfactory route toward “ecologizing Spinoza.”