Authors
Hasana Sharp
McGill University
Abstract
Michael Mack joins a number of thinkers - including Louis Althusser, Gilles Deleuze, Antonio Negri, and Jonathan Israel - in the effort to locate Spinoza within an alternative current of modernity. Akin especially to Israel's portrait, Mack presents Spinoza as an enlightenment thinker who deepens and radicalises the major concepts associated with the modern age: equality, fraternity, and liberty. Distinguishing Mack's study from either Israel's sweeping history of ideas or the Marxist effort to produce an anomalous thread in the history of philosophy is his alliance of Spinoza with Herder's philosophical anthropology, the literary productions of Goethe and Eliot, and the thought of Rosenzweig and Freud. Mack links these figures within a "spectral" constellation, not only because they together sketch an alternative to the dominant Kantian tradition, but also because they recognise and affirm the "undecidability" of the human condition. A spectre is between worlds, a disquieting figure of present absence, and thus blurs definitions, boundaries, and categories. Indebted significantly to feminist analyses of Spinoza (Gatens and Lloyd), Mack thematises Spinoza's influence on these thinkers primarily as a confounder of binary oppositions between mind/body, reason/passion, nature/culture, private/public, and self/other. The undecidability of frontiers and concepts that characterises this alter-tradition, according to Mack, yields a profound suspicion of hierarchies of any kind and a keen interest in narrative as "the constitutive fabric of politics, identity, society, religion, and the larger sphere of culture."
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DOI 10.5840/symposium201115242
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