Friday, December 15, 2006

Spinoza, Ethics, Part IV, Proposition 65, Curley trans. Penguin

P65: From the guidance of reason, we shall follow the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils.
Dem.: A good which prevents us from enjoying a greater good is really an evil. For good and evil (as we have shown in the Preface of this Part) are said of things insofar as we compare them to one another. By the same reasoning, a lesser evil is really a good, so (by P63C) from the guidance of reason we want, or follow, only the greater good and the lesser evil, q.e.d.
Cor.: From the guidance of reason, we shall follow a lesser evil as a greater good, and pass over a lesser good which is the cause of a greater evil. For the evil which is here called lesser is really good, and the good which is here called lesser, on the other hand, is evil. So (by P63C) we want the [lesser evil] and pass over the [lesser good], q.e.d.


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