Journal of the History of Philosophy 60 (2):343-345 (2022)

Justin Steinberg
Brooklyn College (CUNY)
The driving question behind Sandra Leonie Field's exciting new book, Potentia, is: what, exactly, constitutes popular power? Field turns to two seventeenth-century political theorists, Thomas Hobbes and Benedict de Spinoza, to try to extract an account that might avoid Joseph Schumpeter's dismal conclusion that we should abandon all pretenses to popular power. In the process, she exposes problems with recent populist interpretations of Hobbes and Spinoza, showing that both of these figures appreciated the problems with identifying plebiscites with popular power better than their "radical" interpreters. The result is a rich and stimulating work on a topic—namely, power—that remains somewhat undertheorized, at least...
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2022.0027
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Response to Critics.Sandra Leonie Field - 2021 - European Hobbes Society Online Colloquium.
Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics.Sandra Leonie Field - 2020 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
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