Digitizing the Geometry of Spinoza’s Ethics


Torin Doppelt, a PhD candidate in philosophy at Queen’s University, has created Spinoza’s Ethics 2.0, a an interesting digital humanities project that “provides a representation of the structure of the geometrical demonstrations of Spinoza’s Ethics” (via Philosophy Matters). I asked him if he could say a little more about the project for Daily Nous readers. He writes:

I see the broader project as an open-ended investigation into the nuances of the geometrical method as Spinoza employs (or doesn’t employ) it, but also into the ways in which digitization and formalization can augment humanities research in general. Spinoza’s Ethics does, at least on the surface (with a few caveats), lend itself rather naturally to being digitized and represented in this sort of systematic way, but I think it’s possible to do similar things with non-geometrical works — perhaps not unlike the way that Spinoza himself thought it would be helpful to recast Descartes’ arguments in the geometrical style (see: Spinoza’s Principles of Cartesian Philosophy). I’ve also been thinking about other ways of presenting and visualizing the data, beyond charts and searchable text, e.g., in the form of dynamically generated animated tracings of dependencies of elements and other relations between them, but I haven’t had time to work out the various kinks in doing this yet.
Doppelt welcomes comments on the project, which you can post here or send to him directly.

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