The Reemergence of Spinoza’s Conatus in the Political Sphere


Spinoza’s metaphysical concept of striving (conatus) entails that all particular things without exception partake in the similar goal of self-preservation. From this position, he derives psychological principles for humans that account for social behavior in terms of one’s effort to preserve one’s community. His position stands in opposition to common sense descriptions of ‘unselfish’ behaviors such as altruism and Michael Della Rocca’s formulation of “other directed striving.” Spinoza accounts for humans acting in the interest of others via community, without compromising his metaphysics or rigorous commitment to naturalism. His explanations outline a means to act socially that minimizes the threat violent emotions pose to political harmony.

Download options


External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

784 (#9,626)

6 months
30 (#30,026)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Politics.David Aristotle & Keyt - 1998 - Hackett Publishing Company.
Spinoza.Michael Della Rocca - 2008 - New York: Routledge.
Spinoza.Don Garrett - 1991 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (4):952-955.

Add more references

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Spinoza Contra Curie.Lance Byron Richey - 1993 - Philosophy and Theology 7 (3):323-331.
The Individuality of the State in Spinoza's Political Philosophy.Andre Santos Campos - 2010 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 92 (1):1-38.
Perfection and Desire: Spinoza on the Good.Matthew J. Kisner - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (1):97-117.
Spinoza's Cosmological Argument in the Ethics.Mogens Laerke - 2011 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 49 (4):439 - 462.
Inherence, Causation, and Conceivability in Spinoza.Yitzhak Y. Melamed - 2012 - Journal of the History of Philosophy.