The 'Wordsworth-Spinoza Link' and Ethics: Motivating the Wordsworthian Moral

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Logan Ginther


Marjorie Levinson has established a link between Spinoza's philosophy and Wordsworth's poetry, focussing specifically on the two authors' shared metaphysics. In this paper I will follow the chain of Levinson's link and show that Spinoza and Wordsworth share an ethics, too. Spinoza's is an ethics of perspective; his primary prescription is to hold a perspective which acknowledges the metaphysical truth of the interconnectedness of all things for the sake of one's mental health. After grounding Wordsworth's well-known prescriptions of communion with nature in a metaphysics of monistic Nature (as Spinoza suggests), we will be in possession of vocabulary with which to describe a much deeper version of the Wordsworthian moral than has hitherto been familiar. Importantly, though we arrive at our description of the Wordsworthian moral by following Spinoza, it remains markedly Wordsworthian and is a novel particularization of Spinoza's general ethical suggestion.