Gary Mitchell considered this reading to be "longhair stuff" when James Kirk tried to interest him in it at Starfleet Academy. Infused with psionic energy at the galactic barrier in 2265, a mutated Mitchell viewed the work on a library-computer screen in sickbay and found it "simple – childish almost."
Discussing Spinoza with Kirk, Mitchell had just been reading Part IV, the proof of Proposition XXXVII, which stated: "The good which every man, who follows after virtue, desires for himself he will also desire for other men, and so much the more, in proportion as he has a greater knowledge of God." (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")
In 2366, The Ethics was listed as the general knowledge file 3069 on the library computer of USS Enterprise-D. The android Lal studied the book as part of her instruction into the nature of humanity. (TNG: "The Offspring")
Background information Edit
The 21st century translation of the Latin title drops the word "The" from the title, naming it simply "Ethics". The original Latin title is "Ethica".
For remastered TOS, certain pages from Ethics were considered to be added into the episode. VFX Line Producer Michael Okuda said of the literary work, "We tracked it down, we got the text and we really wanted to put it into the screen [....] We wanted to splash it on, frame by frame, to show Gary reading it, but... just couldn't make it happen." (Starfleet Access for "Where No Man Has Gone Before", TOS Season 1 Blu-ray special features)