Spinoza took it to be an important psychological fact that belief cannot be compelled. At the same time, he was well aware of the compelling power that religious and political fictions can have on the formation of our beliefs. I argue that Spinoza allows that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fictions. His complex account of the imagination and fiction, and their disabling or enabling roles in gaining knowledge of Nature, is a site of disagreement among commentators. The novels of George (...) Eliot (who translated Spinoza's works) represent a significant development for those who aim to resolve such disagreement in favour of the epistemic value of the imagination and fiction. Although Eliot agreed with Spinoza that belief cannot be compelled, she nevertheless affirmed the potential of certain kinds of fiction to be not only compelling but also edifying. The parallel reading of Eliot and Spinoza offered here raises the question of whether his philosophy can accommodate a theory of art in which the artist is seen to be capable of attaining and imparting dependable knowledge. (shrink)
: This paper reads Deleuze through a Spinozist lens to conceive of the human being as a dynamic and complex whole in constant interchange with its environment. The author thus moves beyond philosophical dualisms, and challenges the assumption that a hierarchical normative organization is the only possible world. Using the example of rape, she argues that micropolitical strategies might disrupt and "pass" the juridical order and open up alternative, more equitable, forms of sociability.
As a constructive alternative to the exclusionary binaries of Cartesian philosophy, Genevieve Lloyd and Moira Gatens turn to Spinoza. Spinoza's understanding of the body as "in relation" takes the focus of philosophical thought from the homogeneous subject to the heterogeneity of the social, and the focus of politics from individual rights to collective responsibility. The implications for feminism are radical; Spinoza enables a reconceptualization of the imaginary and the possibility of a sociability of inclusion.
: As a constructive alternative to the exclusionary binaries of Cartesian philosophy, Genevieve Lloyd and Moira Gatens turn to Spinoza. Spinoza's understanding of the body as "in relation" takes the focus of philosophical thought from the homo-geneous subject to the heterogeneity of the social, and the focus of politics from individual rights to collective responsibility. The implications for feminism are radical; Spinoza enables a reconceptualization of the imaginary and the possibility of a sociability of inclusion.
In this intriguing book, Moira Gatens and Genevieve Lloyd show us that in spite of-or rather because of-Spinoza's apparent strangeness, his philosophy can be a rich source for cultural self-understanding in the present. Collective Imaginings draws on recent reassessments of the philosophy of Spinoza and develops new ways of conceptualizing issues of freedom and difference. These newly contextualized theories are easily applied to contemporary issues, such as environmental debates, issues of feminism, the conception of democracy, and the idea of the (...) individual and community, providing relevance to our everyday lives. A fine counter to the 'read and raid' and the 'read and destroy' schools of history of philosophy . . . a careful interpretation of Spinoza that helps resolve contemporary problems about the relation between (what we think of as) the individual and the conflicts and harmony that form social life. -- Ame;lie Rorty, Brandeis University A fresh look at Spinoza and how his thoughtis applicable today. (shrink)
Imaginary Bodies is a collection of essays that offer a sustained challenge to traditional philosophical notions of the body, sex and gender. Moira Gatens explores alternative positions to dualism by exploring psychoanalytic, Foucaultian and Spinozist notions of embodiment. The book traces a largely neglected geneaology of philosophers from Spinoza, Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault and Deleuze and sets this tradition against that of the Enlightenment. What emerges are new ways of thinking those aspects of life which Gatens calls "imaginary." Confining herself to (...) neither philosophy of "the subject" nor an ahistorical philosophy of "the body" at the expense of broader ethical and socio-political issues, Gatens shows the many connections between theories of bodies politic and the (sexed) individual. She compellingly, lucidly, and trenchantly engages with the ethical, legal and sexual relations between men and women which are placed in its proper historical and political context. (shrink)