Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (1):pp. 35-58 (2009)

Authors
Justin Steinberg
Brooklyn College (CUNY)
Abstract
In the final chapter of the Tractactus Theologico-Politicus , Spinoza declares that “the purpose of the state is, in reality, freedom.” While this remark obviously purports to tell us something important about Spinoza’s conception of the civitas , it is not clear exactly what is revealed. Recently, a number of scholars have interpreted this passage in a way that supports the view that Spinoza was a liberal for whom civic norms are rather more modest than the freedom of the Ethics . Against this view, I provide an interpretation of Spinoza’s account of civil liberation that enables us to view the political writings as an extension of his larger ethical enterprise. Specifically, I show that, according to Spinoza, the state can promote robust liberty in a variety of ways, not least by influencing the behavioral patterns and affective dispositions of its citizens.
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DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0082
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References found in this work BETA

Spinoza.Michael Della Rocca - 2008 - New York: Routlege.
Spinoza's Metaphysical Psychology.Michael Della Rocca - 1996 - In Don Garrett (ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 192--266.
Spinoza.Diane Steinberg - 1987 - Teaching Philosophy 10 (1):74-76.

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Citations of this work BETA

Spinoza’s Curious Defense of Toleration.Justin Steinberg - 2010 - In Yitzhak Melamed Michael Rosenthal (ed.), Spinoza’s ‘Theological-Political Treatise’: A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 210 – 230..
Spinoza’s Liberalism.Matthew J. Kisner - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (11):782-793.
The Politics of Being Part of Nature.Sandra Leonie Field - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review 2021.

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