This publication articulated in three parts, and twelve chapters endeavours to engage with the complex negative emotions and consequent phenomenon of self-deceit, radicalisation and extremism. First part: Emotions as Lines of Demarcation or Guidelines to Our Self. The Psychodynamic Surrounding of our Intentional Self; second part: Case Studies of Some Concrete Societal Encapsulations of the Negative Passions; and third part: Resisting the Colonisation of Tyrannical Affections. Possible Paths of Mitigating Radicalisation and Extremism. What kind of educational responses can be given (...) to extremist claims of territory, identity, resources, power, and interpretations? How can a dialogue on unifying ethical principles and values aid in developing common grounds for preventing radical and extremist excesses? With authors from three continents, this publication endeavours to not only ask the uncomfortable questions with regard to the exteriorisation of human emotive predispositions and inclinations to ostracize, stigmatise and discriminate. The exit door from the extreme is also clearly presented, through four contributions, notably the interplay of Charvaka philosophy, Sikh wisdom on balanced forms of engagement with strong emotions. (shrink)
This article frames the poetry of William Wordsworth and the philosophical writings of Spinoza as mutually illuminating works exploring the ethical and ontological questions raised by bodies in states of passivity and immobility. Both writers, it argues, revise our idea of what a “powerful” body might be by developing the concept of “dynamic passivity”—a passivity that does not stand in simple opposition to states of activity, and that ought to be cultivated rather than overcome in the process of empowering the (...) body. The article examines and contrasts the different ways in which Wordsworth and Spinoza conceive of this dynamic passivity, with particular attention paid to how the former embeds a cultivation of “wise passiveness” for the reader in the very form of his poems, through a variety of elements like syntax, metre, and acoustic effects. (shrink)
In this paper, we reconstruct the development of Spinoza’s theory of judgment against the backdrop of the development of his political views. In this context we also look at the difference between Descartes’ meta-act theory of judgment, which Spinoza criticises, and his own all-inclusive approach. By “meta-act theory” we understand the claim that content and judgment about the truth of the content are metaphysically really distinct mental items. By an “all-inclusive theory” we understand the claim that judgment and content constitute (...) only one mental act. We show further how the core intuitions of this all-inclusive theory are developed by Spinoza in an increasingly radical manner and how the practical implications of his all-inclusive theory come to the fore in the Theological-Political Treatise: given that content and act are not really distinct, it is metaphysically impossible that human subjects can give up their ability to judge, which is why Spinoza can plausibly contend that everybody has an inalienable right to form their own judgment. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Genevieve Lloyd argues that when we follow Spinoza in understanding reason as a part of nature, we gain new insights into the human condition. Specifically, we gain a new political insight: we should respond to cultural difference with a pluralist ethos. This is because there is no pure universal reason; human minds find their reason shaped differently by their various embodied social contexts. Furthermore, we can use the resources of the imagination to bring this ethos about. In my response, (...) I offer a friendly challenge to Lloyd’s characterisation of the lessons of Spinoza’s philosophy. I argue that Lloyd’s Spinoza remains excessively unpolitical, even in the moment that he is brought to bear on contemporary politics. An unpluralistic attitude may well be rationally inferior, but is it really explained by insufficient or inappropriate imagination? To the contrary, a properly Spinozist account of reason must include an account of the concrete determinants of reason’s imperfect realisation in the world. In Spinoza’s own oeuvre, this is carried out through an ever-increasing—and ever more sociological—interest in the political structures within which individual reason flourishes or withers. (shrink)
En filosofía es importante conocer las influencias entre los filósofos porque de ello depende tener un conocimiento más completo y preciso de sus propuestas. Ejemplo de esto son las investigaciones sobre los orígenes estoicos de la filosofía spinoziana, que se han incrementado notablemente en las últimas décadas, pero aún hace falta indagar con mayor detalle, autor por autor e idea por idea, qué tipo de estoicismo y qué parte del mismo influyó en el pensador neerlandés. En este artículo examino, a (...) partir sobre todo de las referencias explícitas, la influencia del estoico Séneca en la filosofía de Spinoza, para lo cual reviso, analizo y cotejo diversos pasajes de las obras de ambos pensadores. // Abstract: It is important in philosophy to know the influences between philosophers because of that it depends to have an accurate and more complete knowledge of their proposals. An example of this are the investigations about the stoics origins of Spinoza’s philosophy, which has been increasing in the last decades but it is still necessary to inquire in greater detail, author by author and idea by idea, what kind of stoicism and what part of it influenced the Dutch philosopher. In this paper I examine, particularly from explicit references, the influence of the Stoic Seneca in Spinoza’s philosophy, for which I review, analyze, and compare several passages of both philosophers’ works. (shrink)
Generosity is not best understood as an alliance of forces, necessary for mortal beings with limited time and skills. Sociability as generosity exceeds the realm of need and follows directly from our strength of character [fortitudo] because it expresses a positive power to overcome anti-social passions, such as hatred, envy, and the desire for revenge. Spinoza asserts that generous souls resist and overwhelm hostile forces and debilitating affects with wisdom, foresight, and love. The sociability yielded by generosity, then, is not (...) just a form of cooperation we need to survive and produce leisure for study and contemplation. Generosity is not a mere means but a positive expression of freedom, because it is the activity through which a strong soul (and body) transforms enemies into friends. It is not an expression of lack, but of an acquired power that infuses one’s social milieu with empowering love and joy, creating agreements in nature and power where they did not previously exist. Attention to generosity reveals not only that there are social virtues proper to Spinoza’s understanding of freedom but that freedom itself is, by necessity, social. (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.
The claim of this paper is to present Spinoza’s view on self-esteem and positive reciprocity, which replaces the human being in a monistic psycho-dynamical affective framework, instead of a dualistic pedestal above nature. Without naturalising the human being in an eliminative materialistic view as many recent neuro-scientific conceptions of the mind do, Spinoza finds an important entry point in a panpsychist and holistic perspective, presenting the complexity of the human being, which is not reducible to the psycho-physiological conditions of life. (...) From a panpsychist point of view, qualities and values emerge from the world, in a situation similar to what could be seen in animism, or early childhood psychology, where the original distance between the mind and the exterior thing is reduced ad minima, and both can even interrelate in a confusing manner. Human reality is nevertheless a social reality, it supposes a basis for shared competencies, that we will present as grounded on the one hand of the sustaining character of the essence of the animal-man as will-to-power. Negatively speaking we all share same asocial tendencies and affects. This aspect is not only negative but it is also a will to develop and master the environment, because values have an onto-metaphysical immanent dimension in nature, not because there is an individual bottom-up will to survive, but rather a will to live in harmony with the surrounding world. On the other hand, we shall see that Spinoza understood and described perfectly the power of the mind over the power of the affects, as a co-constituting dimension, which is alienating natural dependencies, leaving an inner space for the objectification of ethical values, not related to mere compensation mechanisms. (shrink)
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)
This work examines Michel Foucault’s critique of the present, through his analysis of our hidden but still active historical legacies. His works from the Eighties are the beginning of what he called a “genealogy of the desiring subject,” in which he shows that practices such as confession—in its juridical, psychological, and religious forms—have largely dictated how we think about our ethical selves. This constrains our notions of ethics to legalistic forbidden/required dichotomies, and requires that we engage in a hermeneutics of (...) the self which consistently fails to discover its imagined authentic self, or to find the happiness and freedom promised by contemporary ethics. In order to think the modern self in different terms, Foucault’s later works analyzed Classical and Hellenistic ethical sources, emphasizing their distance from today. He hoped doing so would allow us to rethink our current assumptions about ethical matters, the truth of oneself, and the relation to others. While Foucault’s genealogical descriptions critically diagnosed contemporary ills such as these, he did not prescribe a cure, preferring to let his readers experiment with new practices of their own design. This work attempts such an experiment, supplying concrete solutions to our ethical ills, in order to help us improve, as well as understand, our ethical selves. To that end, this work demonstrates that a form of subjectivity based on Benedict Spinoza’s ethical and political works avoids the pitfalls of modern ethics as diagnosed by Foucault. Additionally, the practices of the self found in Spinoza can be used to directly counter and displace each central element of “desiring subjectivity,” and thus supplies the kind of effective positive move which should follow after genealogical critique. (shrink)
Wichtige Aspekte der Spinoza-Rezeption sind lange Zeit im Hintergrund geblieben. Spinoza galt seit dem öffentlich gemachten Bekenntnis des Aufklärers Lessing zum Hen kai Pan als Vertreter einer Substanzenontologie für Atheisten. Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi war es, der 1785 und 1789 eine breite Debatte um Pantheismus, Atheismus, letztbegründende Prinzipien der Metaphysik, ferner um Freiheit und Notwendigkeit auslöste. Spinozas Trieb- und Affektenlehre blieb in der Forschung weitgehend unbeachtet. Weniger lautstark als im ausgehenden 18. Jahrhundert, aber durchaus wirksam, ist Spinoza im 20. und 21. (...) Jahrhundert durch Denker wie Gilles Deleuze oder den Neurologen Antonio Damasio erneut in den Fokus der Aufmerksamkeit geraten. Diesmal ist es Spinozas vormals wenig beachtete Affektenlehre, die für Theorien vom ganzen, nicht bloß vom einseitig rationalen Menschen Interesse weckte. Galt das Interesse der Aufklärung der Rationalität des Denkens, die gegen Aberglauben und Irreführungen der Vernunft ins Recht zu setzen war, so wenden sich das 20. und das 21. Jahrhundert der Entdeckung der Intelligenz und Rationalität der Gefühle zu – zuerst in der Psychologie, bald auch in der Philosophie. Der Band nimmt das neue Interesse an Spinoza zum Anlass zu untersuchen, ob und inwieweit im Deutschen Idealismus, in der Romantik und im 19. Jahrhundert bis heute der andere Spinoza, der Spinoza einer bemerkenswerten Trieb- und Affektenlehre sowie des amor Dei intellectualis, wahrgenommen wurde. Die Beiträge zu Spinoza selbst, zu Jacobi, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Hardenberg/Novalis, Friedrich Schlegel, Schleiermacher, schließlich zu Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre, Lacan, Deleuze zeigen, dass dieser andere Spinoza durchaus in der einen oder anderen Weise gesehen wurde. Mit Beiträgen von Karl Ameriks, Andreas Arndt, Ulrich Barth, Wolfgang Bartuschat, Arno Böhler, Konrad Cramer, Bärbel Frischmann, Patrizia Giampieri-Deutsch, Ulrike Kadi, Thomas Kisser, Jane Kneller, Konrad P. Liessmann, Elizabeth Millán, Ursula Renz, Helma Riefenthaler, Violetta L. Waibel, Reiner Wiehl und Jure Zovko. (shrink)
This short work asks how Baruch Spinoza might have valued the phenomenon of falling in love: is it a passion to be avoided or an action to seek? The question is illustrated by Somerset Maugham's On Human Bondage.
El objetivo de este trabajo es mostrar que, a partir de la filosofía de Spinoza, se puede elaborar otro concepto de razón, esto es, el de una razón afectiva, que, encontrando su envés en las pasiones alegres, nos pone en el camino de conquistar cierta dosis de libertad, virtud y felicidad. El trabajo se estructura en dos partes. En la primera, se trata de determinar cuáles son las causas del estado de servidumbre en el que se encuentra el hombre. En (...) este sentido, prestaremos especial atención a la tesis de que el conocimiento es necesario, pero no suficiente para alcanzar la libertad. La segunda parte se centra en el naturalismo ético de Spinoza, y, así, muestra que la razón no insta a extirpar nuestras pasiones, sino a seleccionar las que son mejores. (shrink)
El propósito de este trabajo es entablar un diálogo entre Spinoza y el estoicismo a propósito de su teoría de las pasiones. En este sentido, la tesis principal que se sostiene es que Spinoza mantiene una concepción de la virtud y de la felicidad similar a la aristotélica, y que, por esa razón, su terapia de las pasiones no insta a extirpar las pasiones, como sí hace el estoicismo, sino que propone seleccionarlas y encauzarlas racionalmente para aprovechar su fuerza en (...) el sentido de la virtud. (shrink)
Spinoza insists that we can during the course of our lives increase that part of the mind that is constituted by knowledge, but he also calls that part of the mind its eternal part. How can what is eternal increase? I defend an interpretation on which there is a sense in which the eternal part of the mind can become greater without changing intrinsically at all.
: Two common ways of explaining akrasia will be presented, one which focuses on strength of desire and the other which focuses on action issuing from practical judgment. Though each is intuitive in a certain way, they both fail as explanations of the most interesting cases of akrasia. Spinoza 's own thoughts on bondage and the affects follow, from which a Spinozist explanation of akrasia is constructed. This account is based in Spinoza 's mechanistic psychology of cognitive affects. Because Spinoza (...) 's account explains action asissuing from modes of mind that are both cognitive and affective, it captures the intuitions that motivate the two traditional views while avoiding the pitfalls that result from their one‐sided approaches. This project will allow us a fuller understanding of Spinozist moral psychology. In addition to this historical value, the Spinozist theory may offer a satisfactory explanation of certain hard cases of akrasia while avoiding the problems be set by other theories. For this reason, the Spinozist account could also be seen as a useful contribution to our philosophical understanding of the phenomenon of akrasia. (shrink)
This important book examines Spinoza's moral and political philosophy. Specifically it considers Spinoza's engagement with the themes of Stoicism and his significant contribution to the origins of the European Enlightenment. Firmin DeBrabander explores the problematic view of the relationship between ethics and politics that Spinoza apparently inherited from the Stoics and in so doing asks some important questions that contribute to a crucial contemporary debate. Does ethics provide any foundation for political theory and if so in what way? Likewise, does (...) politics contribute anything essential to the life of virtue? And what is the political place and public role of the philosopher as a practitioner of ethics? In examining Spinoza's Ethics, his most important and widely-read work, and exploring the ways in which this work echoes Stoic themes regarding the public behaviour of the philosopher, the author seeks to answer these key questions and thus makes a fascinating contribution to the study of moral and political philosophy. (shrink)
In a short piece written most likely in the 1690s and given the title by Loemker of “On Wisdom,” Leibniz says the following: “...we see that happiness, pleasure, love, perfection, being, power, freedom, harmony, order, and beauty are all tied to each other, a truth which is rightly perceived by few.”1 Why is this? That is, why or how are these concepts tied to each other? And, why have so few understood this relation? Historians of philosophy are familiar with the (...) fact that both Spinoza and Leibniz place strong emphasis on the notion of power in giving their accounts of the human passions. But, while many scholars have explicated the relation between power and the passions (especially in Spinoza’s philosophy), there has been considerably less attention given to the nature of perfection and its relation to both power and the passions.2 Consider the following passages from Spinoza and Leibniz in which these two thinkers seem to bring together the issue of perfection and passion. In Ethics IIIp11s, Spinoza says the following: We see, then, that the Mind can undergo great changes, and pass now to a greater, now to a lesser perfection. These passions, indeed, explain to us the affects of Joy and Sadness. By Joy, therefore, I shall understand in what follows that passion by which the Mind passes to a greater perfection. And by Sadness, that passion by which it passes to a lesser perfection. The affect of Joy which is related to the Mind and Body at once I call Pleasure or Cheerfulness, and that of Sadness, Pain or Melancholy.3 And, in the Monadology §49, Leibniz says this: “The creature is said to act externally insofar as it is perfect, and to be acted upon [patir] by another, insofar as it is imperfect.”4 In other words, for Spinoza, the primitive passions of joy and sadness are cases in which a being’s perfection is increasing or decreasing, while, for Leibniz, any passion, it would.. (shrink)
: Perhaps the central problem which preoccupies Spinoza as a moral philosopher is the conflict between reason and passion. He belongs to a long tradition that sees the key to happiness and virtue as mastery and control by reason over the passions. This mastery, however, is hard won, as the passions often overwhelm its power and subvert its rule. When reason succumbs to passion, we act against our better judgment. Such action is often termed 'akratic'. Many commentators have complained that (...) the psychological principles that Spinoza appeals to in his account of akrasia are mere ad hoc modifications to his philosophical psychology. I show, on the contrary, that these principles follow from some of the most important and interesting aspects of Spinoza's philosophy of mind. (shrink)
The question of the weakness of the will, traditionally named akrasia after Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (Book III), is tackled in part 4 of Spinoza’s Ethics. After a brief presentation of this problematic in the Ethics, the author shows how the geometrical order chosen by Spinoza to write his book constitutes a great part of the strategy put in place to concretely resolve this question.
Nous jouissons d'une eternite immediatement proportionnee au developpement de notre activite mentale: c'est ainsi que se distinguent le sage et l'ignorant... Dans la mesure ou l'eternite produit le salut, chacun trouve donc son chatiment ou sa recompense dans la vie qu'il mene et dans les efforts qu'il deploie: une existence d'imagination ou d'entendement, de passivite ou d'activite, de renoncements ou de realisations est en soi mort ou eternite, si bien que la sanction est immediate de la facon la plus stricte.
The Spinozistic essence is the factor of individuation of a particular or individual thing. Affects or emotions are properties of an essence, which, under the attribute of thought, is an idea, i.e., cognition. Such essence is the human mind, which is the idea of a particular actual body. Since our emotions are properties of our cognitions, whether adequate or not, concerning the state of our body, which reflects nature as a whole in a particular way, I entitle Spinoza’s theory of (...) emotions "cognitivism." In light of Spinoza’s cognitivism, I attempt to explain what is precisely the significance of the intellectual love of God and how cognitive means serves Spinoza’s philosophical psychotherapy or theory of salvation. (edited). (shrink)
Spinoza's ethics is founded on the idea that we are egoists who should do nothing but search our own advantage , but that in doing so, this is when we are most virtuous, most moral, and most social . Community, taken in any sense stronger than a mere collection of things, only occurs, then, when each is drawn to seek his self-interest. ;Spinoza would hold that no study of ethics can be done in a metaphysical vacuum . To discuss the (...) ethics of an individual existing in community, one must first address the metaphysical foundations of the individual, its rights, and its place in community. To this end, the greater part of this work examines just those metaphysical bases which define an individual and how it relates in community. The analysis is textually based; focusing on how Spinoza uses certain terms , we attempt to understand what Spinoza understood to be an individual, community, right, etc. Then, because society affects an individual and the individual in turn affects society, the study looks at human individuals and their affects, that is, how humans affect and are affected by other humans. Just as a group of rocks makes only a pile and not what might be called a community, so too a group of human individuals does not necessarily make a society. The move from many individuals to one community is examined. ;Finally, after the metaphysical and psychological considerations are established, the study addresses its main question, that is, the value that should be accorded to a particular human life vis-a-vis the society in which the person lives. The study touches, therefore, questions concerning capital punishment, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and even abortion. The surprising conclusion is that Spinoza's ethics do allow for and can support what could be called a consistent human life ethic in which the right to life remains primary. (shrink)
The psychotherapeutic theories of Descartes and Spinoza are heavily influenced by Stoicism. Stoic psychotherapy has two central features. First, we have a remarkable degree of voluntary control over our passions, and we can and should exercise this control to keep ourselves from having any irrational passions at all. Second, the universe is determined by the providential divine will, and in any situation we can and should align ourselves with this divine will in order to achieve equanimity. Whereas Descartes largely endorses (...) the Stoic picture, Spinoza develops a distinctive, intellectualized version of this view. (shrink)
After a sketch of the metaphysical and anthropological foundations of Spinoza's theory of affects, the basic notions of this theory and their relations are investigated. A short discussion on the difference between Descartes and Spinoza as to how to control our passive affects ends this paper.
Spinoza shared with his contemporaries the conviction that the passions are, on the whole, unruly and destructive. A life of virtue requires that the passions be controlled, if not entirely vanquished, and the preferred means of imposing this control over the passions is via the power of reason. But there was little agreement in the seventeenth century about just what gives reason its strength and how its power can be brought to bear upon the wayward passions.