Singularity, similarity, and exemplarity in Spinoza’s philosophy

Ethics and Education 15 (2):200-212 (2020)

Moira Gatens
University of Sydney
ABSTRACTIn the Preface to Part Four of the Ethics, Spinoza offers the reader an exemplar of human nature. However, Spinoza does not conceive of human nature as a universal in which each human being participates, simply by virtue of being human. Rather, each human being is conceived as singular. Thriving individual lives assume thriving communities composed of like-minded and like-embodied individuals. The model, or exemplar, then, may be considered to play the role of an enabling fiction in his educational and moral philosophy. The approach taken here is to explore Spinoza’s notions of singularity, similarity, and exemplarity in relation to the distinctive human capacity to educate the senses and the passions and to cultivate reason, and thereby to flourish. The final section of the paper reads the education of Victor Frankenstein’s ‘monster’ through the lens of Spinoza’s philosophy of affect.
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DOI 10.1080/17449642.2020.1731660
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A Spinozistic Model of Moral Education.Johan Dahlbeck - 2017 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 36 (5):533-550.
Spinoza, Experimentation and Education: How Things Teach Us.Aislinn O’Donnell - 2018 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 50 (9):819-829.

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