Evaluation and Significance
In the final analysis Spinoza was an original thinker for any number of reasons. This original thinking caused him no small amount of harassment from authorities. When he described nature as necessarily what it is, he attacked the teleological view that says nature has a design or end. “We have shown … that nature does nothing for the sake of an end, for that eternal and infinite being whom we call God or Nature acts by the same necessity by which he exists.”
Spinoza was not only influenced by Aristotle's thoughts on substance but also by the ethical portion of Aristotle's doctrine. Spinoza maintained that “Each thing, insofar as it can, endeavors to persevere in its being.” From this it follows that “Man necessarily endeavors, insofar as he can, to persevere in his being.” Like Aristotle, Spinoza begins with the general statement that “according to the laws of his own nature each person aims at which he considers to be good.” From a consideration of this end he finds the means to achieve that end.