In Yitzhak Melamed Michael Rosenthal (ed.), Spinoza’s ‘Theological-Political Treatise’: A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 210 – 230. (2010)

Authors
Justin Steinberg
Brooklyn College (CUNY)
Abstract
In this essay I consider what grounds Spinoza’s defense of the freedom to philosophize, considering why Spinoza doesn’t think that we should attempt to snuff out irrationality and dissolution with the law’s iron fist. In the first section I show that Spinoza eschews skeptical, pluralistic, and rights-based arguments for toleration. I then delineate the prudential, anticlerical roots of Spinoza’s defense, before turning in the final section to consider just how far and when toleration contributes to the guiding norms of governance: peace and empowerment. Once we see how the defense of toleration is anchored in these norms, we form a clearer picture of Spinoza as a liberal perfectionist for whom the bounds of political toleration depends on pragmatic and circumstance-specific assessments of what conduces to the flourishing of the state. This will help to illuminate what is distinctive—and, perhaps, distinctively commendable—about Spinoza’s form of liberalism.
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References found in this work BETA

Spinoza on Civil Liberation.Justin Steinberg - 2009 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (1):pp. 35-58.
Introduction.David Archard & Susan Mendus - 2009 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (3):217-218.
Spinoza on Positive Freedom.David West - 1993 - Political Studies 41 (2):284-96.
Introduction.John Horton & Susan Mendus - 1985 - In John Horton & Susan Mendus (eds.), Aspects of Toleration: Philosophical Studies. Methuen.

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Citations of this work BETA

Spinoza’s Liberalism.Matthew J. Kisner - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (11):782-793.
‘Citizen Jurisprudence’ and the People’s Power in Spinoza.Christopher Skeaff - 2013 - Contemporary Political Theory 12 (3):146-165.

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