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)
The study deals with the matter of three of the most puzzling doctrines of Baruch Spinoza's system, the so-called 'final doctrines', which are intuitive knowledge, intellectual love of God, and the eternity of the (human) mind. Contrary to many commentators, but also in concordance with many others, this account strives to affirm the utmost importance of these doctrines to Spinoza's system as a whole, but mostly to his ethical theory. Focusing specifically on the cultivation of the human mind, the paper (...) offers partial analyses of the central notions of these doctrines and their conceptual contexts. It is argued that the cultivation of the human mind, i.e., its determination to its perfect activity, should be considered as Spinoza's ultimate ethical goal, and that the mind truly only advances to this goal by means of these cognitive, affective, and intellectual transformations of thinking. (shrink)
In this paper, I investigate whether Spinoza theory of intellect can be considered as an Averroistic, Themistian or Alexandrian theory of intellect. I identify key doctrines of these theories that are argumentatively and theoretically independent from Aristotelian hylomorphism and thus can be accepted by someone rejecting hylomorphism. Next, I argue that the textual evidence is inconclusive: depending on the reading of Spinoza's philosophy accepted, Spinoza's theory of intellect can or cannot be considered as an Averroistic theory.
This work presents an alternative reading of the respective works of Moses Maimonides and Baruch Spinoza. It argues that both thinkers are primarily concerned with the singular perfection of the complete human being rather than with attaining only rational knowledge. Complete perfection of a human being expresses the unique concord of concrete activities, such as ethics, politics, and psychology, with reason. The necessity of concrete historical activities in generating perfection entails that both thinkers are not primarily concerned with an “escape” (...) to a metaphysical realm of transcendent or universal truths via cognition. Instead, both are focused on developing and cultivating individuals’ concrete desires and activities to the potential benefit of all. This book argues that rather than solely focusing on individual enlightenment, both thinkers are primarily concerned with a political life and the improvement of fellow citizens’ capacities. A key theme throughout the text is that both Maimonides and Spinoza realize that an apolitical life undermines individual and social flourishing. (shrink)
Spinoza attributes mentality to all things existing in nature. He claims that each thing has a mind that perceives everything that happens in the body. Against this panpsychist background, it is unclear how consciousness relates to the nature of the mind. This study focuses on Spinoza’s account of the conscious mind and its operations. It builds on the hypothesis that Spinoza’s panpsychism can be interpreted as a self-consistent philosophical position. It aims at providing answers to the following questions: what is (...) consciousness, for Spinoza, and what are the causes that determine its presence in nature? How can human and non-human individuals be distinguished on account of their mentality? How can Spinoza conceive of the human mind as consisting entirely of conscious perceptions? And how, according to Spinoza’s mind-body parallelism, is the content of consciousness determined so that it reflects in thought the order and connection of the actions and passions of the body? To address these questions, I first determine what Spinoza’s notion of “consciousness” is and how he uses it. Then, I investigate whether he has a theory of recognition capable of accounting for specifically human behaviour and mentality. Further, I examine his description of memory and the way in which memory shapes the framework of human conscious thought. Finally, I look for an account of discursive reasoning, capable of explaining the existence of activities of the mind that, by operating on the content provided by memory, preserve themselves through time and change. (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)
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)
Spinoza’s account of memory has not received enough attention, even though it is relevant for his theory of consciousness. Recent literature has studied the “pancreas problem.” This paper argues that there is an analogous problem for memories: if memories are in the mind, why is the mind not conscious of them? I argue that Spinoza’s account of memory can be better reconstructed in the context of Descartes’s account to show that Spinoza responded to these views. Descartes accounted for the preservation (...) of memories by holding that they are brain states without corresponding mental states, and that the mind is able to interpret perception either as new experience or as memory. Spinoza has none of these conceptual resources because of his substance monism. Spinoza accounts for memories as the mind’s ability to generate ideas according to the order of images. This ability consists in the connection of ideas, which is not an actual property, but only a dispositional one and thus not conscious. It is, however, grounded in the actual property of parts of the body, of which ideas are conscious. (shrink)
The young Spinoza and the mature Leibniz both characterize the soul as a self-moving spiritual automaton. Though it is unclear if Leibniz’s use of the term was suggested to him from his reading of Spinoza, Leibniz was aware of its presence in Spinoza’s Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect. Considering Leibniz’s staunch opposition to Spinozism, the question arises as to why he was willing to adopt this term. I propose an answer to this question by comparing the spiritual automaton (...) in both philosophers. For Spinoza, the soul acts as a spiritual automaton when it overcomes imaginative ideas and produces true ideas. For Leibniz, the soul acts as a spiritual automaton when it spontaneously produces its perceptions according to the universal harmony preestablished by God. Thus, for Leibniz contra Spinoza, the spiritual automaton is a means to render intelligible a providential order in which everything happens for the best. (shrink)
У статті здійснено порівняльний аналіз концепцій ментального слова (verbum mentis) могилянських професорів Інокентія Ґізеля і Йосифа Волчанського. Аналіз спирається на латинськомовні рукописні трактати «De anima» Ґізеля (1646–1647 рр.) і «De corpore animato» Волчанського (1715–1717 рр.). Запропоновані тут концепції інтелектуального пізнання розглядаються у контексті західної схоластичної традиції. З’ясовано, що розуміння інтелектуального пізнання Інокентієм Ґізелем і Йосифом Волчанським суттєво відрізнялися. Концепція Ґізеля відзначається еклектичним характером і поєднує в собі елементи томістичної, скотистичної і суаресіанської інтерпретацій, тоді як Волчанський орієнтується на Франсиско Суареса та (...) Фансиско де Овієдо. (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.
In this paper I argue, based on a comparison of Spinoza's and Descartes‟s discussion of error, that beliefs are affirmations of the content of imagination that is not false in itself, only in relation to the object. This interpretation is an improvement both on the winning ideas reading and on the interpretation reading of beliefs. Contrary to the winning ideas reading it is able to explain belief revision concerning the same representation. Also, it does not need the assumption that I (...) misinterpret my otherwise correct ideas as the interpretation reading would have it. In the first section I will provide a brief overview of the notion of inherence and its role in Spinoza‟s discussion of the status of finite minds. Then by examining the relation between Spinoza‟s and Descartes‟ distinction of representations and attitudes, I show that affirmation can be identified with beliefs in Spinoza. Next, I will take a closer look at the identification of intellect and will and argue that Spinoza's identification of the two is based on the fact that Spinoza sees both as the active aspect of the mind. After that, I analyze Spinoza‟s comments on the different scopes of will and intellect, and argue that beliefs are affirmations of the imaginative content of the idea. Finally, through Spinoza‟s example of the utterance of mathematical error, I present my solution to the problem of inherence of false beliefs. (shrink)
This paper aims at reconstructing the ethical issues raised by Spinoza's early Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect. Specifically, I argue that Spinoza takes issue with Descartes’ epistemology in order to support a form of “ethical intellectualism” in which knowledge is envisaged as both necessary and sufficient to reach the supreme good. First, I reconstruct how Descartes exploits the distinction between truth and certainty in his Discourse on the Method. On the one hand, this distinction acts as the basis (...) for Descartes’ epistemological rules while, on the other hand, it implies a “morale par provision” in which adequate knowledge is not strictly necessary to practice virtue. Second, I show that Spinoza rejects the distinction between truth and certainty and thus the methodological doubt. This move leads Spinoza to substitute the Cartesian Cogito with the idea of God as the only adequate standard of knowledge, through which the mind can attain the rules to reach the supreme good. Third, I demonstrate that in the Short Treatise Spinoza develops this view by equating intellect and will and thus maintaining that only adequate knowledge can help to contrast affects. However, I also insist that Spinoza's early epistemology is unable to explain why human beings drop conceive of the idea of God inadequately. Thus, I suggest that in his later writings Spinoza accounts for the insufficiency of adequate knowledge in opposing the power of the imagination and passions by reconnecting the nature of ideas with the mind's conatus. (shrink)
Spinoza's doctrine of the eternity of the mind is often understood as the claim that the mind has a part that is eternal. I appeal to two principles that Spinoza takes to govern parthood and causation to raise a new problem for this reading. Spinoza takes the composition of one thing from many to require causal interaction among the many. Yet he also holds that eternal things cannot causally interact, without mediation, with things in duration. So the human mind, since (...) it is the idea of a body existing in duration, cannot have an eternal part. In order to solve this problem, I propose an aspectual reading of Spinoza's doctrine of the eternity of the mind: the mind itself is eternal, under one of its aspects. (shrink)
The article includes the French to English translation of a seminal article by Alexandre Koyré (“Le chien, constellation céleste, et le chien animal aboyant”, in Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 55e Année, N° 1, Jan-Mar 1950, pp. 50-59), accompanied by an explanatory introduction. Koyré's French text provides an illuminating commentary of E1p17s, where Spinoza exposes at length his account of the relationship existing between God's intellect and the human intellect. The lack of an English translation of this article has (...) led to some misunderstanding within the English-speaking Spinoza scholarship. This publication aims to correct this lack and improve worldwide understanding of Spinoza’s philosophy. (shrink)
Spinoza Contra Phenomenology fundamentally recasts the history of postwar French thought, typically presumed to have been driven by a critique of reason indebted to Nietzsche and Heidegger. Although the reception of phenomenology gave rise to many innovative developments in French philosophy, from existentialism to deconstruction, not everyone in France was pleased with this German import. This book recounts how a series of French philosophers used Spinoza to erect a bulwark against the nominally irrationalist tendencies of phenomenology. From its beginnings in (...) the interwar years, this rationalism would prove foundational for Althusser's rethinking of Marxism and Deleuze's ambitious metaphysics. There has been a renewed enthusiasm for Spinozism of late by those who see his work as a kind of neo-vitalism or philosophy of life and affect. Peden counters this trend by tracking a decisive and neglected aspect of Spinoza's philosophy—his rationalism—in a body of thought too often presumed to have rejected reason. In the process, he demonstrates that the virtues of Spinoza's rationalism have yet to be exhausted. (shrink)
In the current age there exists a widespread and extremely negative opinion of humankind held almost everywhere. The prevailing theory and application in all of science and religion holds that 'human perception is deeply flawed'. In all of the established religions of the world human kind is somehow seen as fallen and in need of a powerful intervention and 'saving' from our frail natures. In the scientific community our limitations require external proofs to substantiate our assertions about nature. There lived (...) a philosopher, 350 years ago, who understood us far better than this. His name was Baruch Spinoza. Under his own formidable power of understanding of life he recognized our actual merit and inestimable worth. He shared that understanding in a book titled, the "Ethics". In it he details; not only the nature of God as adequately conceived, but also the existence and structure and functions of the human mind. He also wrote a short treatise which has come to be called the 'Fragment'. From the outset of the piece he set out his goal for us; to recognize "...the knowledge of the union existing between the mind and the whole of nature". This 'Fragment' holds the key to unlocking the complexity of the "Ethics". This key consists in grasping the nature of reality which comes to each of us in the form of the 'idea'. The idea resides within each human mind and serves as the nexus where human understanding and the objects in our world co-habit. In this little pamphlet, first in a proposed series of six, together we will discuss and illustrate his discovery of the mind. Most important for you dear friend a challenge will be extended; to discover within you the existence and nature of your own mind and to learn to harness its near unlimited power to understand and to manage our environment and the future. It will prove a lifelong challenge to reach the point where we clearly understand and dutifully accept the responsibility which we owe to all of our ancestors and to those who will follow us to recognize the human mind as the most sublime of all the elements which have evolved on the planet. Sincerely, Charles M. Saunders. (shrink)
Spinoza unequivocally states in the Ethics that intuitive knowledge is more powerful than reason. Nonetheless, it is not clear what exactly this greater power promises in the face of the passions. Does this mean that intuitive knowledge is not liable to akrasia? Ronald Sandler offers what, to my knowledge, is the only explicit answer to this question in recent Spinoza scholarship. According to Sandler, intuitive knowledge, unlike reason, is not susceptible to akrasia. This is because, intuitive knowledge enables the knower (...) to greater power over the passions due to its immediacy, its foundation and because it engenders the boundlessly powerful intellectual love of God. In this paper, I consider to what extent intuitive knowledge is liable to akrasia by exploring whether Sandler's claim can justifiably be attributed to Spinoza. I argue that, given our modal status, it is not plausible to claim that akrasia would never apply to intuitive knowledge. Since intuitive ideas are the ideas of a finite .. (shrink)
Yitzhak Melamed here offers a new and systematic interpretation of the core of Spinoza's metaphysics. In the first part of the book, he proposes a new reading of the metaphysics of substance in Spinoza: he argues that for Spinoza modes both inhere in and are predicated of God. Using extensive textual evidence, he shows that Spinoza considered modes to be God's propria. He goes on to clarify Spinoza's understanding of infinity, mereological relations, infinite modes, and the flow of finite things (...) from God's essence. In the second part of the book, Melamed relies on this interpretation of the substance-mode relation and the nature of infinite modes and puts forward two interrelated theses about the structure of the attribute of Thought and its overarching role in Spinoza's metaphysics. First, he shows that Spinoza had not one, but two independent doctrines of parallelism. Then, in his final main thesis, Melamed argues that, for Spinoza, ideas have a multifaceted structure that allows one and the same idea to represent the infinitely many modes which are parallel to it in the infinitely many attributes. Thought turns out to be coextensive with the whole of nature. Spinoza cannot embrace an idealist reduction of Extension to Thought because of his commitment to the conceptual separation of the attributes. Yet, within Spinoza's metaphysics, Thought clearly has primacy over the other attributes insofar as it is the only attribute which is as elaborate, as complex, and, in some senses, as powerful as God. (shrink)
This paper outlines the role of the bodily essence in Spinoza’s epistemology. Spinoza maintains in the Ethics that the power of the imagination depends on bodily affections and it explains the inadequateness of imaginative ideas. However, Spinoza also exploits the capabilities of the human body to work out his account of common notions, which grounds the adequate knowledge provided by reason. Moreover, the essentia corporis plays a crucial role in the fifth part of the Ethics. Indeed, the “eternal part” of (...) the mind depends on the adequate idea of the eternal essence of the human body. By connecting this idea with other ideas, the mind has the power of ordering its ideas according to the intellect. Thus, the mind increases the number of the ideas it conceives of sub specie aeternitatis. In this sense, the bodily essence is not only the ground of Spinoza’s epistemology but also of Spinoza’s doctrine of the eternity of the mind. (shrink)
While both intuitive knowledge and reason are adequate ways of knowing for Spinoza, they are not equal. Intuitive knowledge, which Spinoza describes as the ‘greatest virtue of mind’, is superior to reason. The nature of this superiority has been the subject of some controversy due to Spinoza's notoriously parsimonious treatment of the distinction between reason and intuitive knowledge in the Ethics. In this paper, I argue that intuitive knowledge differs from reason not only in terms of its method of cognition—but (...) also in terms of its content. More specifically, I maintain that there is something that is known by intuition, namely the unique essences of things, that is not known by reason. My argument is supported by an examination of Spinoza's account of essences in the Ethics, which reveals that he is committed to both unique and shared essences. Based on this dual commitment, I argue that whereas for Spinoza both reason and intuition can be said to reach adequate knowledge of the shared essence of a thing, the unique essence of a singular thing, which is nothing but its actual essence, can only be known through intuitive knowledge. (shrink)
The Preface to Part 4 of Spinoza’s Ethics claims that we all desire to formulate a model of human nature. I show how that model serves the same function in ethics as the creed or articles of faith do in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, the function of allowing the imagination to provide a simularcrrum of rationality for finite, practical human beings.
Spinoza claims we can control any passion by forming a more clear and distinct idea of it. The interpretive consensus is that Spinoza is either wrong or over-stating his view. I argue that Spinoza’s view is plausible and insightful. After breaking down Spinoza’s characterization of the relevant act, I consider four existing interpretations and conclude that each is unsatisfactory. I then consider a further problem for Spinoza: how his definitions of ‘action’ and ‘passion’ make room for passions becoming action. I (...) propose two solutions to this problem, both of which yield a hint regarding what act Spinoza has in mind. Using that hint, I propose that we can appreciate Spinoza’s insight by considering how philosophizing about a feeling can 'kill the mood.' The act of grasping how a passion exemplifies certain general truths, I hold, is a distinctly rational activity that has all the features Spinoza describes. I conclude by showing how this interpretation fits with Spinoza’s larger views on rational knowledge, rational joy, the comprehensibility of passions, and the relation between second- and first-order ideas. (shrink)
In this paper, I suggest an outline of a new interpretation of core issues in Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind. I argue for three major theses. (1) In the first part of the paper I show that the celebrated Spinozistic doctrine commonly termed “the doctrine of parallelism” is in fact a confusion of two separate and independent doctrines of parallelism. Hence, I argue that our current understanding of Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind is fundamentally flawed. (2) The clarification (...) and setting apart of the two doctrines will also put us in a position to present my second major thesis and address one of the more interesting and enduring problems in Spinoza’s metaphysics: how can the attribute of thought be, on the one hand, isomorphic with any other attribute, and yet, on the other hand, be isomorphic with God himself, who has infinitely many attributes? In the second part of the paper, I present Spinoza’s solution to this problem. I argue that the number and order of modes is the same in all attributes. Yet, modes of Thought, unlike modes of any other attribute, have an infinitely-faceted internal structure so that one and the same idea represents infinitely many modes by having infinitely many facets (or aspects). (3) This new understanding of the inner structure of ideas in Spinoza will lead us to my third thesis in which I explain and solve another old riddle in Spinoza’s metaphysics: his insistence on the impossibility of the human mind knowing any of God’s infinite attributes other than Thought and Extension. In the third part, I show some of the major ramifications of my new interpretation and respond to some important objections. In my conclusion I discuss the philosophical importance of my interpretation. I explain why Spinoza could not embrace reductive idealism in spite of the preeminence he grants to the attribute of Thought. I argue that Spinoza is a dualist -- not a mind-body dualist, as he is commonly conceived to be, but rather a dualist of Thought and Being. Finally, I suggest that Spinoza’s position on the mind-body issue breaks with the traditional categories and ways of addressing the subject by suggesting a view which grants clear primacy to Thought without accepting any idealist reduction of bodies to thought. (shrink)
According to Spinoza, what is the relationship between the mental – ideas, minds, and the attribute of Thought – and the conceptual – concepts, conceiving, and conceptual dependence? The natural and pervasive interpretive assumption that Spinoza’s appeals to the conceptual are synonymous with appeals to the mental ought to be rejected, a rejection that prevents some of his central metaphysical doctrines from otherwise collapsing into incoherence. A close reading of key texts shows instead that conceptual relations are attribute-neutral for Spinoza; (...) mental relations comprise a proper subset of conceptual relations. This surprising conclusion, that the conceptual outstrips the mental, also sheds new light the relationship between the attributes, the extent of parallelism, and the nature of extension. It also shows how Spinoza’s frequent privileging of the conceptual avoids collapsing into a kind of idealism, a central point on which the most novel recent interpretation of Spinoza (Michael Della Rocca’s) falters. (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.
Spinoza presents the “dictates of reason” as the foundation of “the right way of living”. An influential reading of his position assimilates it to that of Hobbes. The dictates of reason are normative principles that prescribe necessary means to a necessary end: self-preservation. Against this reading I argue that, for Spinoza, the term “dictates of reason” does not refer to a set of prescriptive principles but simply the necessary consequences, or effects, of the mind's determination by adequate ideas. I draw (...) on this conclusion in highlighting an abiding tension in Spinoza's notion of the preservation of one's being, which reinforces his divergence from Hobbes. (shrink)
The relation between ideas in the human mind and ideas in the mind of God in Spinoza is problematic because it is often expressed in obscure language and because Spinoza seems to be making puzzling and contradictory statements about it. I try to eliminate the problem by going from the idea that God has of himself to his idea of the essence and existence of the human mind and the human body. I then go from the idea of the essence (...) of the human mind to the idea of the essence of other things, including God. (shrink)
The fourth volume in the Spinoza by 2000 series presents the reader with issues central to Part IV of Spinoza's Ethics. Readers of this text face one of the most difficult questions in Spinoza scholarship - Is Spinoza presenting a rational ethics, capable of making human beings free, or is he merely drawing an ethical ideal, never to be reached within the confines of reason alone? Indeed, 'freedom' is meant here mainly in the context of human bondage to the affects, (...) but it is also addressed in connection with human sociability. Whether rational self-understanding is, in itself, sufficient for human emancipation is an open question. The participants of this volume help to clarify the various aspects of the problem, providing an indispensable guide both for Spinoza scholars and the general reader. This collection also links the previous volume in this series, on Spinoza's psychological theory, to the forthcoming volume, which concentrates on the culminating last part of the Ethics. (shrink)
Depuis son important Hegel ou Spinoza publié en 1979, Pierre Macherey s'est progressivement imposé comme l'une des figures les plus importantes du renouveau spinoziste. La publication de cinq volumes d'Introduction à l'Éthique de Spinoza aux Presses Universitaires de France de 1994 à 1998, dont celui-ci est l'avant-dernier, confirme sa place désormais proéminente parmi les grands interprètes français. Or Macherey nous assure dans son introduction ne justement pas vouloir imposer une «interprétation», qui viendrait se superposer à la lettre de ce qu'écrit (...) Spinoza, mais bien au contraire ouvrir, à partir d'une étude littérale de l'Éthique, un champ d'interprétation dont il se contenterait d'indiquer les bornes. Et ces bornes, certes, apparaissent, car en mettant au clair ce que Spinoza a dit, il fait voir aussi ce qu'il n'a pas dit, et ruine ainsi systématiquement nombre d'interprétations erronées. De cette puissance de critique fondée sur une analyse lente et minutieuse du texte, Macherey tire finalement une assurance très grande qui donne à son commentaire un ton peut-être plus autoritaire qu'il ne l'aurait souhaité parfois, mais dont la cohérence d'ensemble renforce le pouvoir de persuasion. Et malgré l'impossibilité foncière de ne pas faire quelques choix d'interprétation dans un commentaire de ce type, ces tomes de Macherey ont réussi leur pari de rester des introductions à la lecture du texte lui-même, plutôt que des surtextes qui masqueraient leur source. Son commentaire du De Mente en particulier, la seconde partie de l'Éthique qui nous concerne ici, ouvre réellement à la lecture de ce qu'a écrit Spinoza, avec une rigueur remarquable. (shrink)