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The Grand Inquisitor

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The tale is told by Ivan with brief interruptive questions by Alyosha. In the tale, Christ comes back to Earth in Seville at the time of the Inquisition. He performs a number of miracles (echoing miracles from the Gospels). The people recognize him a...

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, a former law student, lives in extreme poverty in a tiny, rented room in Saint Petersburg. Isolated and antisocial, he has abandoned all attempts to support himself, and is brooding obsessively on a scheme he has devise...

The Philosophy of Spinoza

Baruch Spinoza

Spinoza's political philosophy is scattered in three books, the Theologico-political Treatise, the Ethics and the Political Treatise. A first look at its main principles could bring the uninformed reader to believe that it is the same as Hobbes's. Ye...

Theologico-Political Treatise Part IV

Baruch Spinoza

Spinoza agreed with Thomas Hobbes that if each man had to fend for himself, with nothing but his own right arm to rely upon, then the life of man would be "nasty, brutish, and short". The truly human life is only possible in an organised community, t...

Theologico-Political Treatise Part III

Baruch Spinoza

Spinoza was not only the real father of modern metaphysics and moral and political philosophy, but also of the so-called higher criticism of the Bible. He was particularly attuned to the idea of interpretation; he felt that all organized religion was...

Theologico-Political Treatise Part II

Baruch Spinoza

In the treatise, Spinoza put forth his most systematic critique of Judaism, and all organized religion in general. Spinoza argued that theology and philosophy must be kept separate, particularly in the reading of scripture. Whereas the goal of theolo...

Theologico-Political Treatise Part I

Baruch Spinoza

In the treatise, Spinoza put forth his most systematic critique of Judaism, and all organized religion in general. Spinoza argued that theology and philosophy must be kept separate, particularly in the reading of scripture. Whereas the goal of theolo...

On the Improvement of the Understanding

Baruch Spinoza

Spinoza commenced this treatise with the intention of examining the problem of knowledge, but the work was never completed. In his other works epistemological discussions are intimately linked with the rest of his philosophy. Indeed, even in the Trea...

Emile

Jean Jacques Rousseau

In Book I, Rousseau discusses not only his fundamental philosophy but also begins to outline how one would have to raise a child to conform with that philosophy. He begins with the early physical and emotional development of the infant and the child....

The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories

Mark Twain

In 1590, three boys, Theodor, Seppi, and Nikolaus, live relatively happy simple lives in a remote Austrian village called Eseldorf (German for "Assville" or "Donkeytown"). The story is narrated by Theodor, the village organist's son. Other local char...