This guide has an introduction and five chapters, one for each of the parts of Spinoza's Ethics. The Introduction includes background material necessary for productive study of the Ethics: advice for working with Spinoza's geometrical method, a biographical sketch of Spinoza, and accounts of important predecessors: Aristotle, Maimonides, and Descartes. The chapters that follow trace the Ethics in detail, including accounts of most of the elements in Spinoza's book and raising questions for further research. Chapter 1, "One Infinite Substance," covers (...) central arguments of Spinoza's substance monism. Chapter 2, "The Idea of the Human Body," follows Spinoza's detailed metaphysics of ordinary objects, his theory of mind, and his epistemology. Chapter 3, "Desire, Joy, and Sadness," works from Spinoza's broad theory of finite activity in the striving to persevere in being to his detailed accounts of human action and passion. Chapter 4, "Bondage to Passion," emphasizes Spinoza's formal theory of value, his intellectualism in ethics, and particular claims about value that follow from these commitments. Chapter 5, "The Power of the Intellect," begins with Spinoza's criticism of Descartes's account of our ability to control passion and moves to Spinoza's own theory, which emphasizes reason, the eternal part of the mind, and human blessedness. (shrink)
One of the most famous and identifiable of Spinoza’s ideas is his amor Dei intellectualis (the intellectual love of God). It has been argued that this concept is somewhat alien to the main tenets of the Ethics, especially since it is reminiscent of more orthodox religious relations to God, and has a certain mystical (and so, nonrational) quality. In this paper, I will show that it is a consistent development of Spinoza’s interconnected and elaborate theories of knowledge and the affects. (...) Spinoza discusses three kinds of love: passionate love, friendship and the intellectual love of God. The intellectual love of God is nothing but a necessary outcome of Spinoza’s rationalistic project as a whole. Moreover, by culminating his ethical theory with such a concept, Spinoza is placing himself in a rich tradition of thinkers who develop epistemological and ethical systems that put love (either as eros or philia) as the backbone of their philosophy. In order to illustrate the similarities between Spinoza’s philosophical use of love and that of his predecessors, I will address salient features of Plato’s and Aristotle’s thought, emphasizing the relationship between love and ethics, as well as the nature of the philosophical impulse. (shrink)
One of the most famous and identifiable of Spinoza’s ideas is his amor Dei intellectualis (the intellectual love of God). It has been argued that this concept is somewhat alien to the main tenets of the Ethics, especially since it is reminiscent of more orthodox religious relations to God, and has a certain mystical (and so, nonrational) quality.In this paper, I will show that it is a consistent development of Spinoza’s interconnected and elaborate theories of knowledge and the affects. Spinoza (...) discusses three kinds of love: passionate love, friendship and the intellectual love of God.The intellectual love of God is nothing but a necessary outcome of Spinoza’s rationalistic project as a whole. Moreover, by culminating his ethical theory with such a concept, Spinoza is placing himself in a rich tradition of thinkers who develop epistemological and ethical systems that put love (either as eros or philia) as the backbone of their philosophy. In order to illustrate the similarities between Spinoza’s philosophical use of love and that of his predecessors, I will address salient features of Plato’s and Aristotle’s thought, emphasizing the relationship between love and ethics, as well as the nature of the philosophical impulse. (shrink)
The monograph offers an original account of Spinoza’s philosophy and ethics concentrated on its concordance with selected modern neuroscientific theories. The book proceeds through the whole of Spinoza’s philosophy and by increasingly complex analytical account acquaints with its essential frameworks, terminology, and concepts, and is thus accessible also to readers who are not yet familiar with the thought of this peculiar thinker. The fundamental motives of this interpretation are the nature of the mind and the questions of human freedom and (...) human bondage, mainly in connection with the investigation of affects (passions and drives) that the mind tends to be bound with. In his philosophy, Spinoza not only offers brilliant analyses of human experience but in anticipation of modern psychotherapeutic techniques suggests practical methods for the realization of sufficiently functional affective-cognitive self-therapy aimed at the regulation and control of one’s passivity. The understanding of and working with one’s weaknesses is, according to Spinoza, the necessary condition for realizing one’s freedom, or – for being able to shift from pathetics to ethics. (shrink)
The Ethics of Joy offers reconstructive argument, careful engagement with select literature, and a big-picture presentation of Spinoza’s view of the well-lived human life. Not “convinced that Kantians in ethics are Kantians because of an argument that Kant or Korsgaard makes,” Andrew Youpa urges us to consider Spinoza’s view as “an alternative way of thinking about our lives—an alternative that is illuminating and insightful”. Since “the presentation of an illuminating alternative is arguably the best a philosopher can do”, this is (...) no small task. Youpa argues that Spinozan virtue—human excellence—is defined by our power to care for ourselves and others, not by our accountability. On his reading, power, and... (shrink)
RésuméLa philosophie de Spinoza est souvent célébrée pour son fort courant anti-normatif. Spinoza soutient, par exemple, que le bien et le mal n'indiquent rien de positif dans les choses, et que les affects sont toujours particuliers à la situation dans laquelle ils surviennent. Et pourtant, Spinoza soutient que la mélancolie est « toujours mauvaise » et la gaieté « toujours bonne », problématisant ainsi un principe métaphysique clé de son système. Prêtant attention à certaines sections de l’Éthique et du Traité (...) théologico-politique, cet article offre une lecture de ces deux affects problématiques, avant d’établir un lien entre Spinoza et des travaux récents sur la mélancolie aux débuts de l’époque moderne, qui la conceptualisent comme un « assemblage ». (shrink)
This article focuses on three of the affects discussed in Spinoza’s Ethics: pride, esteem, and scorn. At first, it focuses mainly on the delusional aspect Spinoza attributes to these passions as a matter of definition, emphasizing the monological and self-referential dimension in which they seem to imprison the subject. It then analyzes the reference to a notion of justice contained in their definitions, and how this triggers a struggle for recognition. In a third moment, it highlights the political efficacy of (...) these affects in producing not only conflict but also social bonds. Finally, it concludes by considering how Spinoza’s treatment of these affects fits within the framework of the more general problem of the relationship between passion and reason. (shrink)
Spinoza’s Ethics makes reference to three kinds of knowledge that humans are capable of winning: imagination, reason and intuitive knowledge of God. Of these, imagination is necessarily inadequate while the latter two are necessarily adequate. In other words, we remain passive in the first type of knowledge, but come into our power of acting in the latter two. The passage from the first to the second and third types of knowledge, however, remains, in Spinoza’s text, rather obscure. This paper seeks (...) to come to terms with how exactly the passage from passion to action is made in the Ethics while locating this particular problematic as a site at which various interpretations of Spinoza diverge with considerable stakes. I thus focus on Gilles Deleuze’s proposed answer to this problem as well as Pierre Macherey’s critique of Deleuze’s reading. I argue that the disagreement between Macherey and Deleuze is not merely interpretive, but rather indicates some of the stakes involved in assessing Spinoza’s theory of the passions and the imagination. An ‘optimistic’ appraisal of these features might lead one to Deleuze’s affirmationist project, while Macherey’s pessimism concerning the two might take a Spinozist politics in quite the opposite direction. I appreciate and assess multiple aspects of Macherey’s critique while nonetheless arguing that they do not prove damning for Deleuze’s affirmationist picture. I conclude with an analysis of vacillation of mind in Deleuze’s Spinoza, and place Deleuze’s thoughts on this note in conversation with his earlier reading of Nietzsche. (shrink)
Although the literature on Nietzsche is now voluminous one area where there has surprisingly been very little research concerns Nietzsche on the passions. This essay aims to correct this neglect. My focus is on illuminating Nietzsche on the passions in relation to his primary teaching on self-cultivation. To illuminate his position, I focus attention on examining his relation to Stoic teaching on the passions. If for Nietzsche the Christian mind-set involves a disturbing pathological excess of feeling, the Stoic way of (...) living results for him in a petrified of life devoid of movement and growth. After a consideration of his relation to Stoic teaching I then examine his relation to Spinoza on the emotions or affects. Whilst I acknowledge the affinities between the two thinkers and their criticisms of Stoic teaching, I maintain that it is an error to seek to construe Nietzsche and Spinoza as having an identical teaching on the passions. In the final section of the essay, I provide an appreciation of Nietzsche’s recommendation that instead of demonising the passions in the manner of the Christian psyche and its legacy, or extirpating our passions as recommended by the Stoics, we need to learn how to transform them into joys or delights. (shrink)
Several questions regarding Spinoza's concept of essence have been the topic of recent scholarly debate. In this paper, I show that the connection between love, desire and essence is ubiquitous in the Ethics, as well as metaphysically and psychologically coherent; moreover, it provides the key to answer unresolved questions. Analyzing the notion of essence through Spinoza's theory of love shows that essence can be expressed in different ways, and be reflected through different objects of love. These objects of love, in (...) turn, signify the extent to which the affected mind understands itself, God and things in the world. Each object is a different expression of the same single, unique essence of the individual, and therefore of the desire which defines them. This interpretation allows to solve some puzzles about essence, and also to establish the importance of love in Spinoza's philosophy as a whole-especially his epistemology and ethics. (shrink)
Este artículo propone una interpretación estética de la relación entre los sistemas filosóficos de Spinoza y Nietzsche a partir una base ontológica común. Aunque sea difícil defender una lectura de Spinoza por parte de Nietzsche, si nos dirigimos a la mediación desde el pensamiento indio entre los pilares de sus respectivos sistemas, podremos fundar una relación entre la voluntad de poder y el _conatus _spinozista. El propósito de esta investigación es doble: por un lado, proponer una interpretación estética de la (...) filosofía de Spinoza desde su sistema de los afectos; y, a partir de ahí, apuntar al fundamento afectivo de esta estética desde la voluntad de poder nietzscheana. (shrink)
El presente artículo se propone indagar el estatuto del miedo y sus declinaciones políticas en los pensamientos de Thomas Hobbes y Baruch Spinoza para interpretar su impacto en la democracia como un problema teórico político. Cuando se comparan a Hobbes y Spinoza, las interpretaciones predominantes, incluso aquellas que identifican algunas coincidencias respecto de los sentidos y efectos políticos de miedo, tienden a poner en primer plano las diferencias entre ambos. Sin embargo, la problematización de esta emoción es un punto de (...) partida para aproximarse a las teorías políticas de Hobbes y de Spinoza desde una óptica distinta. Con ese propósito, en una primera instancia, se repondrá, de manera sintética, la doctrina de los afectos de cada uno de los autores mencionados. Luego, se procederá a realizar una comparación entre dichas doctrinas, destacando un afecto en particular, el miedo. Finalmente, y es en esta sección donde se planteará el argumento central del artículo, se explotarán los corolarios de las conceptualizaciones del miedo de Hobbes y de Spinoza en relación con la política contemporánea. (shrink)
El artículo analiza la noción de amor en la filosofía de Spinoza a través del Tratado de la reforma del entendimiento, el Tratado breve y la Ética. El amor en Spinoza debe contextualizarse en su fenomenología crítica de los afectos y su teoría del conocimiento. Así es posible mostrar que, para Spinoza, cómo se ama —activa o pasiva-mente— es más importante que una distinción normativa entre objetos de amor correctos o incorrectos. Esta interpretación sobre el amor en Spinoza es coherente (...) con las premisas éticas y el monismo ontológico de su filosofía, y con su afirmación de que el amor es también una actividad de la Sustancia. (shrink)
Despite the theoretical uptake of ontological schemas that do not tie agency uniquely to individual humans, these new ontological geographies have had little penetration when it comes to designing institutions to prevent grave wrongs. Moreover, our persistent intuitions tie agency and responsibility to individuals within a figuration of blame. This article seeks to connect new materialist and actor network theories with the design of institutions that seek to prevent torture. It argues that although research into the causes and conditions of (...) torture points to the inadequacy of agent-centric explanations, the preponderance of prevention interventions emphasize the role of individual human agents. New materialist and ANT approaches could afford a rich theoretical underpinning for prevention approaches by addressing the broad ecology of causal factors. Drawing on Spinoza, the article considers the affective impediments to the uptake of understandings and their correlate practices that require moving beyond agent-centric explanations for grave wrongs. So long as anger, indignation and blame colonize the individual and broader institutional spheres, they will almost inevitably bind us to a particular type of inadequate causal analysis and make other types of preventative responses appear as derelictions of our duty to hold wrongdoers responsible for their acts. (shrink)
Philosophising, as Spinoza conceives it, is the project of learning to live joyfully. This in turn is a matter of learning to live together, and the most obvious test of philosophical insight is our capacity to sustain a harmonious way of life. Susan James defends this interpretation and explores Spinoza's influence on contemporary debates.
ABSTRACT Spinoza has often been cited as a classic example of the philosophical category of ‘rationalism’; and there is indeed much about his philosophy that can seem to warrant that classification. This essay will argue that it is nonetheless a simplification, which can cloud some of the most important and interesting insights that can be gained from reading Spinoza now. Although it is true that his treatment of human knowledge emphasized the exercise of reason, his crucial—and frequently misunderstood—concept of ratio (...) was much richer and more nuanced than the common understanding of ‘rationalism’ can capture. The essay seeks to clarify Spinoza’s version of human reason, elaborating its interconnections with imagination and emotion; and its positioning within the totality of Nature. It draws on comparisons with Pascal—and on consideration of Flaubert’s responses to Spinoza’s works—to illuminate what is distinctive in Spinoza’s account of human reason. What emerges, it is argued, is important—not only for contemporary philosophy, but more broadly for the understanding of conceptual aspects of current issues associated with the status of human beings within the natural world. (shrink)
From Pulitzer Prize-finalist Steven Nadler, an engaging guide to what Spinoza can teach us about life’s big questions In 1656, after being excommunicated from Amsterdam’s Portuguese-Jewish community for “abominable heresies” and “monstrous deeds,” the young Baruch Spinoza abandoned his family’s import business to dedicate his life to philosophy. He quickly became notorious across Europe for his views on God, the Bible, and miracles, as well as for his uncompromising defense of free thought. Yet the radicalism of Spinoza’s views has long (...) obscured that his primary reason for turning to philosophy was to answer one of humanity’s most urgent questions: How can we lead a good life and enjoy happiness in a world without a providential God? In Think Least of Death, Pulitzer Prize–finalist Steven Nadler connects Spinoza’s ideas with his life and times to offer a compelling account of how the philosopher can provide a guide to living one’s best life. In the Ethics, Spinoza presents his vision of the ideal human being, the “free person” who, motivated by reason, lives a life of joy devoted to what is most important—improving oneself and others. Untroubled by passions such as hate, greed, and envy, free people treat others with benevolence, justice, and charity. Focusing on the rewards of goodness, they enjoy the pleasures of this world, but in moderation. “The free person thinks least of all of death,” Spinoza writes, “and his wisdom is a meditation not on death but on life." An unmatched introduction to Spinoza’s moral philosophy, Think Least of Death shows how his ideas still provide valuable insights about how to live today. (shrink)
According to several researchers, core affect lies at the foundation of our affective lives and may be characterized as a consciously accessible state combining arousal (activated-deactivated) and valence (pleasure-displeasure). The interaction between these two dimensions is still a matter of debate. In this paper we provide a novel hypothesis concerning their interaction, by arguing that subjective arousal levels modulate the experience of a stimulus’ affective quality. All things being equal, the higher the arousal, the more a given stimulus would be (...) experienced as pleasant (or unpleasant). While marshaling some preliminary evidence in favor of this hypothesis, we also show how it might be relevant in reframing our conception of depressive disorders (i.e., major and bipolar depression). (shrink)
ABSTRACT This commentary defends an interpretation of Spinoza that preserves some key elements of traditional rationalism, in which reason does have an independent path to the truth. While it agrees with Lloyd’s general view, in which reason, imagination, and emotion are more closely tied than the Cartesian scheme, in which reason is distinct from the world of bodies, the paper disagrees with her central claim that reason is constituted by the imagination. It argues that the imagination is effective to the (...) extent that it produces forms of knowledge that are analogous to reason. The paper considers her interpretation of Flaubert and the Biblical prophets and claims that it cannot account for why some forms of the imagination might be mistaken or superior to others. In conclusion, it points out that, while ‘unresolved multiplicity’ might be the predicament of those led by the imagination, Spinoza thinks that reason leads to a common perspective and is a superior guide to life. (shrink)
Motivating my discussion is a puzzle in Spinoza’s account of the primary affects – his shift away from adopting Descartes’s list of six primitive passions in the Short Treatise to the three primary affects in the Ethics. I lay out this puzzle in Section 1. In Section 2, I approach this puzzle by considering the taxonomy offered by Descartes of the basic or primitive passions. In considering Descartes, I will also briefly consider Aquinas’s view since Descartes positions himself as rejecting (...) the Thomist account. Doing so brings out that the basic passions highlight structures of cognition for these thinkers. In Section 3, I return to Spinoza and consider what light his pared down account of the primary affects can shed on his account of the human mind. (shrink)
Si chacun a le pouvoir de vivre selon la raison, comment se fait-il que si peu la suivent, alors même qu'un grand nombre s'en réclament? Certains voient le meilleur, mais font le pire. D'autres font le pire en croyant qu'il est le meilleur. Tous font tout ce qu'ils peuvent, et se réjouissent finalement de ce qu'ils sont. La philosophie de Spinoza rend compte de ces paradoxes : toute puissance est en acte. Qui peut le plus s'efforce nécessairement de faire le (...) plus et ne peut faire moins. Qui peut le moins fait le moins volontiers, sans pouvoir faire plus. Chacun est aussi parfait qu'il peut l'être, et agit de la façon dont il y est disposé, malgré lui mais de gré, si ce n'est de bon gré. Le concept de disposition, tel qu'il s'élabore dans l'Éthique, permet de saisir la pratique commune des hommes dans un cadre nécessitariste et actualiste, de l'inconstance affective à la régularité des coutumes, des obsessions passionnelles à l'éducation et à l'affranchissement de la servitude. L'existence humaine n'est pas une comédie, encore moins une tragédie. Avec Spinoza, il s'agit d'en produire l'intelligence. (shrink)
The notion of divine love was essential to medieval Christian conceptions of God. Jewish thinkers, though, had a much more ambivalent attitude about this issue. While Maimonides was reluctant to ascribe love, or any other affect, to God, Gersonides and Crescas celebrated God’s love. Though Spinoza is clearly sympathetic to Maimonides’ rejection of divine love as anthropomorphism, he attributes love to God nevertheless, unfolding his notion of amor Dei intellectualis at the conclusion of his Ethics. But is this a legitimate (...) notion within his system? In the first part of this article, I will explain some of the problems surrounding this notion, and then turn, in the second part, to consider two unsatisfactory solutions. In the third part, I will attempt to rework Spinoza’s amor Dei intellectualis from his definitions of love and the other affects in part three of the Ethics. In the fourth part, I will examine closely how Spinoza tweaks his definition of love in order to allow for the possibility of divine intellectual love, and conclude by trying to explain what motivated this move. (shrink)
-/- Shitstorms, Hate Speech oder virale Videos, die zum Klicken, Liken, Teilen bewegen: Die vernetzte Gesellschaft ist von Affekten getrieben und bringt selbst ganz neue Affekte hervor. -/- Die Beiträge des Bandes nehmen die medientechnologischen Entwicklungen unserer Zeit in den Blick und untersuchen sie aus der Perspektive einer kritischen Affekt- und Sozialphilosophie. Sie zeigen: Soziale Medien und digitale Plattformen sind nicht nur Räume des Austauschs, sie erschaffen Affektökonomien – und darin liegt auch ihre Macht. Indem sie neue Formen des sozialen (...) Umgangs stiften und bestimmen, wie wir kommunizieren, verschieben sie auch die politische Topographie. -/- Mit einem Beitrag von Antonio Negri. (shrink)
Andrea Sangiacomo offers a new understanding of Spinoza's moral philosophy, how his views significantly evolved over time, and how he himself struggled during his career to develop a theory that could speak to human beings as they actually are--imperfect, passionate, and often not very rational.
Affect and emotion have come to dominate discourse on social and political life in the mobile and networked societies of the early 21st century. This volume introduces a unique collection of essential concepts for theorizing and empirically investigating societies as Affective Societies. The concepts engender insights into the affective foundations of social coexistence and are indispensable to comprehend the many areas of conflict linked to emotion such as migration, political populism, or local and global inequalities. Each chapters provides historical orientation; (...) detailed explication of the concept in question, clear-cut research examples, and an outlook toward future research. (shrink)
This chapter argues that contemporary literary criticism suffers from a reflexive faith in things, conceived broadly as static objects that reflect wider political, social, and cultural practices. Literature is re-imagined here as an open-ended event that demands an immanent materialism in which distinctions between literary objects and human bodies no longer stand up. By reflecting on the ambiguous “thing-ness” of Shakespeare, Vallelly draws attention to the elusive nature of things in theatrical spaces, and explores how this enigmatic materiality can be (...) applied to literary experience more generally. To do so, he draws on Roberto’s Bolaño’s 2666, affect theory, and new materialism to construct a new literary materialism, one in which literary meaning is located neither in the human nor in the non-human world, but in the affective correspondence between these worlds. To illustrate this point, the chapter concludes with a discussion of the relationship between characters and stones in Shakespearean drama. (shrink)
Andrew Youpa offers an original reading of Spinoza's moral philosophy, arguing it is fundamentally an ethics of joy. Unlike approaches to moral philosophy that center on praiseworthiness or blameworthiness, Youpa maintains that Spinoza's moral philosophy is about how to live lovingly and joyously. His reading expands to examinations of the centrality of education and friendship to Spinoza's moral framework, his theory of emotions, and the metaphysical foundation of his moral philosophy.
Spinoza's guiding commitment to the thesis that nothing exists or occurs outside of the scope of nature and its necessary laws makes him one of the great seventeenth-century exemplars of both philosophical naturalism and explanatory rationalism. Nature and Necessity in Spinoza's Philosophy brings together for the first time eighteen of Don Garrett's articles on Spinoza's philosophy, ranging over the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, ethics, and political philosophy. Taken together, these influential articles provide a comprehensive interpretation of that (...) philosophy, including Spinoza's theories of substance, thought and extension, causation, truth, knowledge, individuation, representation, consciousness, conatus, teleology, emotion, freedom, responsibility, virtue, contract, the state, and eternity-and the deep interrelations among them. Each article aims to resolve significant problems in the understanding of Spinoza's philosophy in such a way as to make evident both his reasons for his views and the enduring value of his ideas. At the same time, Garrett's articles elucidate the relations between his philosophy and those of predecessors and contemporaries like Aristotle, Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, and Leibniz. Lastly, the volume offers important and substantial replies to leading critics on four crucial topics: the necessary existence of God (Nature), substance monism, necessitarianism, and consciousness. (shrink)
Revisiting the generally accepted notion of psycho-physical parallelism in Spinoza, Chantal Jaquet offers a new analysis of the relation between body and mind. Looking at a range of Spinoza's texts, and using an original methodology, she analyses their unity in action through affects, actions and passions.
In this paper, I offer an argument for cultivating cheerfulness as a remedy to sadness and other emotions, which, in turn, can provide some relief to certain cases of depression. My thesis has two tasks: first, to establish the link between cheerfulness and sadness, and second, to establish the link between sadness and depression. In the course of accomplishing the first task, I show that a remedy of cultivating cheerfulness to counter sadness is supported by philosophers as diverse as Thomas (...) Aquinas, Baruch Spinoza, and David Hume in their writings on the passions. I also show that my argument can generalize to promote the cultivation of other emotions. In the course of accomplishing the second task, I consider different models of depression and how the emotions are related to depression. The purpose of this paper is to offer conceptual, philosophical support that is consistent with the most current empirical data on depression. (shrink)
Spinoza's Political Psychology advances a novel, comprehensive interpretation of Spinoza's political writings, exploring how his analysis of psychology informs his arguments for democracy and toleration. Justin Steinberg shows how Spinoza's political method resembles the Renaissance civic humanism in its view of governance as an adaptive craft that requires psychological attunement. He examines the ways that Spinoza deploys this realist method in the service of empowerment, suggesting that the state can affectively reorient and thereby liberate its citizens, but only if it (...) attends to their actual motivational and epistemic capacities. His book will interest a range of readers in Spinoza studies and the history of political thought, as well as readers working in contemporary political theory. (shrink)
The article examines the relation between two kinds of ontological relations that hold together the building blocks of Spinoza’s metaphysics: “being in” and “affection of.” It argues that in order to speak of existence in a single sense, Spinoza equivocates on the notion of affection. On the one hand, substance is in itself in the same sense that every other existing thing is in substance. On the other hand, substance is not the affections of itself, affections of substance are not (...) related to substance in the same sense that affections of modes are related to modes, and affections of modes, which are affections of affections of substance, cannot, at least in some cases, be regarded as affections of substance. Thus, although “God is without passions,” the passions themselves exist in the same sense that God, human beings, and other modes exist, that is, in the sense that they are all in nature; but while the meaning of “being” remains the same, the meaning of “being affected,” or “feeling,” necessarily changes as the Ethics unfolds. (shrink)
This paper develops an immanent ecological ethics that locates human flourishing within sustaining ecological relationships. I outline the features of an immanent ethics drawn from Spinoza, and indicate how this model addresses gaps left by approaches based in moral considerability. I argue that an immanent ecological ethics provides unique resources for contesting anthropogenic harm, by 1) shifting the focus from what qualifies as a moral subject to what bodies can or cannot do under particular relations, 2) emphasizing the constitutive role (...) of interaction and interdependence in ecosystemic existence, and 3) extending ethical regard to ecologically-ramified scales. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the question whether Spinoza can account for the necessity of death. I argue that he cannot because within his ethical intellectualist system the subject cannot understand the cause of her death, since by understanding it renders it harmless. Then, I argue that Spinoza could not solve this difficulties because of deeper commitments of his system. At the end I draw a historical parallel to the problem from medieval philosophy.
Spinoza is commonly perceived as the great metaphysician of coherence. The Euclidean manner in which he presented his philosophy in the _Ethics _has led readers to assume they are facing a strict and consistent philosophical system that necessarily follows from itself. As opposed to the prevailing understanding of Spinoza and his work, _The Role of Contradictions in Spinoza's Philosophy_ explores an array of profound and pervasive contradictions in Spinoza’s system and argues they are deliberate and constitutive of his philosophical thinking (...) and the notion of God at its heart. Relying on a meticulous and careful reading of the _Theological-Political Treatise_ and the _Ethics_, this book reconstructs Spinoza's philosophy of contradictions as a key to the ascending three degrees of knowledge leading to the _Amor intellectualis Dei_. Offering an exciting and clearly-argued interpretation of Spinoza’s philosophy, this book will interest students and scholars of modern philosophy and philosophy of religion, as well as Jewish studies. Yuval Jobani is Assistant Professor at the Department of Hebrew Culture Studies and the School of Education at Tel-Aviv University. (shrink)