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By Elhanan Yakira

This ebook analyzes 3 often-debated questions of Spinoza's legacy: was once Spinoza a non secular philosopher? How should still we comprehend Spinoza's mind-body doctrine? What that means should be given to Spinoza's notions - resembling salvation, beatitude, and freedom - that are probably incompatible together with his determinism, his secularism, and his critique of faith. via an in depth analyzing of often-overlooked sections from Spinoza's Ethics, Elhanan Yakira argues that those doubtless conflicting components are certainly suitable, regardless of Spinoza's iconoclastic meanings. Yakira argues that Ethics is an try out at supplying a simply philosophical - in place of theological - starting place for the idea of worth and normativity.

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Extra info for Spinoza and the Case for Philosophy

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Although Spinoza was no conservative, let alone reactionary (as opposed to Hobbes or Leibniz for example), there was also no room in his political theory for anarchistic or libertarian idealizations of political freedom. Nor was he prefiguring political messianism or anything that would be much later referred to as political (or secular) religions. Given the tendency of so much modern thought – from Hobbes to Fichte, Hegel, and Marx, and all the way to their more recent heirs on the right and on the left – to turn political theory – the theory of the state or, more subtly, of the political – into philosophia prima, Spinoza’s actual position, as described here, and especially given his unique status in this tradition, becomes quite striking.

Here is one of the many places in the TTP – besides the explicit uses of Jewish sources – where there is a strong Jewish resonance. Layer upon layer of irony add up in the subtext to a complex play of overt and covert messages of rejection and criticism, but also of what looks like a paradoxical nostalgic love-hate attitude toward the religion of his ancestors and at the same time a somewhat condescending view of the gentile readers of the book. The traditional seven Noachite mitzvoth are essentially moral or moralreligious rules: they prohibit idolatry, murder, theft, incest, blasphemy, and eating flesh taken from live animals, and they enjoin the establishment of See Schwarzschild (1990), which is a comprehensive study of the debates about this Maimonidean principle and its ramification in Spinoza and in the anti-Spinoza literature (notably Herman Cohen’s), as well as its philosophical significance.

I shall not discuss this issue in the context of this general remark on the TTP, where I wish to emphasize Spinoza’s own theory, which, I believe, is quite original. 20 Spinoza and the Question of Religion t­ heologico-political catastrophe that had led to his writing the TTP was in the last analysis unfounded, Spinoza now writes in a more detached and objective, but also less philosophical, way on the political question. The deduction of the theory of the state from general principles does not necessarily diminish the specificity of the doctrine of the political.

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