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Sandra Leonie Field
Yale-NUS College
  1. Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics.Sandra Leonie Field - 2020 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    This book offers a detailed study of the political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and Benedict de Spinoza, focussing on their concept of power as potentia, concrete power, rather than power as potestas, authorised power. The focus on power as potentia generates a new conception of popular power. Radical democrats–whether drawing on Hobbes's 'sleeping sovereign' or on Spinoza's 'multitude'–understand popular power as something that transcends ordinary institutional politics, as for instance popular plebsites or mass movements. However, the book argues that these (...)
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  2.  82
    Political Power and Depoliticised Acquiescence: Spinoza and Aristocracy.Sandra Leonie Field - 2020 - Constellations 27 (4):670-684.
    According to a recent interpretive orthodoxy, Spinoza is a profoundly democratic theorist of state authority. I reject this orthodoxy. To be sure, for Spinoza, a political order succeeds in proportion as it harnesses the power of the people within it. However, Spinoza shows that political inclusion is only one possible strategy to this end; equally if not more useful is political exclusion, so long as it maintains what I call the depoliticised acquiescence of those excluded.
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  3.  9
    Authors Meets Readers: Martin Powers in Conversation with Sandra Field, Jeffrey Flynn, Stephen Macedo, and Longxi Zhang. [REVIEW]Sandra Leonie Field, Jeffrey Flynn, Stephen Macedo, Longxi Zhang & Martin Powers - 2020 - Journal of World Philosophies 5 (1):188-240.
    Sandra Field, Jeffrey Flynn, Stephen Macedo, Longxi Zhang, and Martin Powers discussed Powers’ book China and England: The Preindustrial Struggle for Social Justice in Word and Image at the American Philosophical Association’s 2020 Eastern Division meeting in Philadelphia. The panel was sponsored by the APA’s “Committee on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies” and organized by Brian Bruya.
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  4. China and England: On the Structural Convergence of Political Values. [REVIEW]Sandra Leonie Field - 2020 - Journal of World Philosophies 5 (1):188-195.
    At the centre of Powers' (2019) China and England is an extraordinary forgotten episode in the history of political ideas. There was a time when English radicals critiqued the corruption and injustice of the English political system by contrasting it with the superior example of China. There was a time when they advocated adopting a Chinese conceptual framework for thinking about politics. So dominant and prevalent was the English radicals' use of this framework, that their opponents took to dismissing their (...)
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  5. Course Design to Connect Theory to Real-World Cases: Teaching Political Philosophy in Asia.Sandra Leonie Field - 2019 - Asian Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 9 (2):199-211.
    Students often have difficulty connecting theoretical and text-based scholarship to the real world. When teaching in Asia, this disconnection is exacerbated by the European/American focus of many canonical texts, whereas students' own experiences are primarily Asian. However, in my discipline of political philosophy, this problem receives little recognition nor is it comprehensively addressed. In this paper, I propose that the problem must be taken seriously, and I share my own experiences with a novel pedagogical strategy which might offer a possible (...)
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  6.  31
    Conversations From the Region: A Conversation with Sandra Leonie Field.Sandra Leonie Field, Racher Du, Alan Bechaz, Will Cailes & Thomas Spiteri - 2021 - Undergraduate Philosophy Journal of Australasia 2021.
    In May 2021, Alan Bechaz, Racher Du, Will Cailes and Thomas Spiteri interviewed Sandra Leonie Field for UPJA’s Conversations from the Region. A series of discussions that invites philosophers from or based in Australasia to share their student and academic experiences. The segment looks into what inspires people to study philosophy, how they pursue their philosophical interests, and gives our audiences a better idea of philosophy as an undergraduate.
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  7.  42
    Contentious Politics: Hobbes, Machiavelli and Corporate Power.Sandra Leonie Field - 2015 - Democracy Futures Series, The Conversation.
    Political protesters often don’t play by the rules. Think of the Occupy Movement, which brought lower Manhattan to a standstill in 2011 under the slogan, “We are the 99%”. Closer to home, think of the refugee activists who assisted a breakout from South Australia’s Woomera detention centre in 2002. Both are examples of contentious politics, or forms of political engagement outside the institutional channels of political decision-making. The democratic credentials of contentious politics are highly ambivalent. On the one hand, contentious (...)
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  8.  68
    Hobbes on Power and Gender Relations.Sandra Leonie Field - forthcoming - In Marcus P. Adams (ed.), A Companion to Hobbes. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. Ch 11.
    In this paper, I articulate two Hobbesian models of interpersonal power relations that can be used to understand gender relations in society: what I will call the dominion model and the deference model. The dominion model discerns vertical subjection to another's will, whereas by contrast the deference model places individuals in a complex and shifting webs of favor and disfavor. Hobbes himself analyses gender relations through the dominion model. Indeed, more broadly this is the most prominent model of interpersonal power (...)
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  9.  41
    Hobbes's On The Citizen: A Critical Guide. [REVIEW]Sandra Leonie Field - 2021 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    In this review, I discuss the justifications for focussing on Hobbes's On the Citizen (De Cive), the middle recension of his political philosophy, separately from his better known Leviathan. I provide an overview of the collection's chapter contents, and I close by calling for further research regarding the impact of this text on later European political philosophy (such as Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant).
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  10. Huang Zongxi: Making It Safe Not to Be Servile.Sandra Leonie Field - 2020 - In Charlotte Alston, Amber Carpenter & Rachael Wiseman (eds.), Portraits of Integrity: 26 Case Studies from History, Literature and Philosophy. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 83-91.
    Integrity is often conceived as a heroic ideal: the person of integrity sticks to what they believe is right, regardless of the consequences. In this article, I defend a conception of ordinary integrity, for people who either do not desire or are unable to be moral martyrs. Drawing on the writings of seventeenth century thinker Huang Zongxi, I propose refocussing attention away from an abstract ideal of integrity, to instead consider the institutional conditions whereby it is made safe not to (...)
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  11.  30
    La democracia y la multitud: Spinoza contra Negri.Sandra Leonie Field - 2021 - Revista Argentina de Ciencia Política 1 (26):1-25.
    Spanish translation of Field, S. L. (2012). 'Democracy and the multitude: Spinoza against Negri'. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, 59(131), 21-40. Translated by María Cecilia Padilla and Gonzalo Ricci Cernadas. Negri celebra una concepción de la democracia en la que los poderes concretos de los individuos humanos no se alienan sino que se agregan: una democracia de la multitud. Pero ¿cómo puede actuar la multitud sin alienar el poder de nadie? Para contestar esta dificultad, Negri explícitamente apela (...)
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  12.  56
    Marx, Spinoza, and 'True Democracy'.Sandra Leonie Field - forthcoming - In Jason Maurice Yonover & Kristin Gjesdal (eds.), Spinoza in Germany: Political and Religious Thought in the Long Nineteenth Century. New York: Oxford University Press.
    It is common to assimilate Marx’s and Spinoza’s conceptions of democracy. In this chapter, I assess the relation between Marx’s early idea of “true democracy” and Spinozist democracy, both the historical influence and the theoretical affinity. Drawing on Marx’s student notebooks on Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise, I show there was a historical influence. However, at the theoretical level, I argue that a sharp distinction must be drawn. Philosophically, Spinoza’s commitment to understanding politics through real concrete powers does not support with Marx’s (...)
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  13.  46
    Précis of Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics.Sandra Leonie Field - 2021 - European Hobbes Society Online Colloquium.
    The European Hobbes Society Online Colloquium featured my book, Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics. This is a précis of the book.
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  14. Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics. [REVIEW]Sandra Leonie Field - 2018 - European Hobbes Society Online Colloquium.
    In this review of Abizadeh's book, I question whether identifying a human 'capacity for reason' really resolves the problems with Hobbes's philosophy's distinctive combination of mechanistic materialism and moral normativity.
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  15.  25
    Response to Critics.Sandra Leonie Field - 2021 - European Hobbes Society Online Colloquium.
    The European Hobbes Society Online Colloquium featured my book, Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics, with critical commentaries from Alissa MacMillan, Chris Holman, and Justin Steinberg. This is my response to their commentaries.
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  16.  28
    Spinoza and the Freedom of Philosophizing. [REVIEW]Sandra Leonie Field - forthcoming - History of Political Thought.
    In this review, I outline Lærke's interpretation of Spinoza's freedom of philosophizing as a rich, positive freedom, encompassing but extending far beyond mere legal permission for free expression. Lærke's book takes on the challenge to explain how such freedom is to be brought about. I suggest that Lærke's reconstruction overlooks a central plank of Spinoza's approach: the role of good institutional design in supporting freedom. The longer version is the original author submission; the shorter version was trimmed on the journal's (...)
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  17.  12
    Spinoza's Political Philosophy.Sandra Leonie Field - 2021 - ThinKnow: A Magazine of Ideas 1 (2):21-28.
    This article offers an entry into Spinoza's political philosophy for a popular audience. In it, I lay out what is–to me–most distinctive about his political philosophy: his deep disinterest in the question of the justifiability of political resistance.
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  18.  15
    The Ethics of Joy: Spinoza on the Empowered Life, by Andrew Youpa. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. Pp. 208.Sandra Leonie Field - forthcoming - Mind.
    The central argument of Youpa's book is that Spinoza's moral philosophy offers a distinctive variety of moral realism, grounded in a standard of human nature. In this review essay, I provide an overview of Youpa's remarkably lucid interpretation of Spinoza. However, I also critique Youpa's conception of the 'free man' as an objective standard of perfection which (a) applies equally to all humans, and (b) which has objective moral force in the sense that it ought to be approached. I sketch (...)
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  19.  80
    The Politics of Being Part of Nature.Sandra Leonie Field - 2020 - Australasian Philosophical Review 4 (3):225-235.
    ABSTRACT Genevieve Lloyd argues that when we follow Spinoza in understanding reason as a part of nature, we gain new insights into the human condition. Specifically, we gain a new political insight: we should respond to cultural difference with a pluralist ethos. This is because there is no pure universal reason; human minds find their reason shaped differently by their various embodied social contexts. Furthermore, we can use the resources of the imagination to bring this ethos about. In my response, (...)
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  20.  22
    Why Big Protests Aren't a Good Measure of Popular Power.Sandra Leonie Field - 2020 - OUPBlog.
    In this article I provide a Spinozist perspective on popular power. It is written as a blog post for a popular audience, and draws on my book, Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics (OUP: 2020).
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  21.  34
    What's in a Name? How a Democracy Becomes an Aristocracy.Sandra Leonie Field - 2016 - Democracy Futures Series, The Conversation.
    Is there something about the deep logic of democracy that destines it to succeed in the world? Democracy, the form of politics that includes everyone as equals – does it perhaps suit human nature better than the alternatives? After all, surely any person who is excluded from the decision-making in a society will be more liable to rise up against it. From ancient thinkers like Seneca to contemporary thinkers like Francis Fukuyama, we can see some version of this line of (...)
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