Multitude

In Andre Santos Campos (ed.), Spinoza: Basic Concepts. Imprint Academic. pp. 129-141 (2015)
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Abstract

Spinoza’s ‘multitude’, while a key concept of his political philosophy, allows us to better understand Spinoza’s work both in its historical context and as a systematic unity. In this piece, I will propose that we understand Spinoza’s concept of the ‘multitude’ in the context of the development of his political thought, in particular his reading and interpretation of Thomas Hobbes, for whom ‘multitude’ was indeed a technical term. I will show that Spinoza develops his own notion of multitude as an interpretive extension of Hobbes’s concept. Spinoza’s notion of ‘multitude’ is shaped by the new answers he gives to the Hobbesian questions about the human power, human emotion and the metaphysical-political questions of how individuals can become a whole, or a state.

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Ericka Tucker
Marquette University

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