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Ethics of Spinoza - est ut

Latin Language Asked by Ali Nikzad on August 25, 2021

Spinoza, Ethics, De Deo, Propositio 33, Scholium 2:

Quare non est ut in hoc absurdo refutando tempus consumam.

William White translates it:

Therefore it is not worthwhile that I should waste time in refuting this absurdity.

Oxford Latin Dictionary:

est ut, It is the case that

I have found no dictionary or grammar book which writes est ut means it is necessary, needed or worthwhile.

One Answer

Est, ut can indeed mean something like “there is reason to,” and conversely, when negated, something like “it is unnecessary.”

This applies to non est, ut (+ subjunctive) and similar forms like: non est, quod (+ indicative or subjunctive) / nihil est, quod / nihil est, cur etc. All these mean “there is no reason, it is unnecessary, not worthwhile.”

I cannot comment on the Oxford Latin Dictionary, but Lewis & Short give (I.B.5.b.α):

Also, est ut, there is reason, that

(Note: Perseus completely messes up the structure of that article. It is much better displayed at Collatinus-web, but I do not know how to link articles there, so you have to look it up yourself.)

One example they give is indeed negated (translation from the Latin, however, by me):

neque est ut putemus ignorari ea ab animalibus
there is no reason for us to believe, perhaps even: we should/must not believe

If you can read German, Georges (I.B.d) (also available at Collatinus-web) is even clearer and mentions the negated case quite explicitly (translation from the Latin, where given, by Georges, and from the German by me):

however, non est quod or ut etc., or nihil est quod or cur, there is no grounds, I (you etc.) have no reason to etc., nihil est, quod gestias, Cic.: non est igitur, ut mirandum sit, so one need not wonder, Cic.

Correct answer by Sebastian Koppehel on August 25, 2021

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