‘Citizen jurisprudence’ and the people’s power in Spinoza

Contemporary Political Theory 12 (3):146 (2013)
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Despite the increasing attention devoted to the theme of political judgment, the question of how to theorize judgment as specifically democratic remains elusive. This article shows the promise of Spinoza for approaching such a vexing issue. Through a combined reading of his major political and metaphysical texts, I develop a new concept of political judgment that I call ‘citizen jurisprudence’. Citizen jurisprudence is at once a right and a power that is internally related to the ‘power of the people’. Put another way, citizen jurisprudence is the figure and effect of democracy understood in an expansive sense: not solely as a state form but as an activity of equally free individuals determining the sense and the scope of common affairs. An account of this concept simultaneously nuances Spinoza’s current profile as a political thinker and contributes to efforts within contemporary political theory to recuperate the radical potential of judgment as a mode of democratic agency



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Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Spinoza, practical philosophy.Gilles Deleuze - 1988 - San Francisco: City Lights Books.
Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy.Hannah Arendt - 1982 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ronald Beiner.

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