Politics as a model of pedagogy in Spinoza

Ethics and Education 15 (2):158-172 (2020)

Justin Steinberg
Brooklyn College (CUNY)
ABSTRACTIn this paper, I argue that Spinoza’s political theory gives us a model for how he might have approached a treatise on moral education. Indeed, his account of the method and aims of politics resembles Renaissance humanist rhetorical approaches to pedagogy – particularly, the work of sixteenth century Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives – so strongly that it is hardly an exaggeration conclude that, for him, politics is education writ large. For Spinoza and for Vives, the governor-or-instructor must study the prevailing character, or ingenium, of the subject and adopt means that promote the cognitive and emotional development of the subject, which can be accomplished only to the extent that subjects willingly participate in their own governance-or-instruction. Spinoza joins this rhetorical procedure to a Hobbesian scientific approach to studying ingenia, resulting in a political method that is part science, part art.
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DOI 10.1080/17449642.2020.1731657
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Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 2006 - In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.
On the Citizen.Thomas Hobbes - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes.Quentin Skinner - 1996 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 31 (1):74-79.

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