The book draws on the political writings of Hobbes and Spinoza to establish a conceptual framework for understanding the genesis, risks, and promise of popular power. Radical democrats–whether drawing on Hobbes’ “sleeping sovereign” or on Spinoza’s “multitude”–understand popular power as moments transcending ordinary institutional politics (e.g. popular plebsites or mass movements). However, a focus on the concept of power as potentia generates a new approach to popular power, according to which its true center lies in the slow, meticulous work of organizational design and maintenance. The book makes an original contribution at the intersection of early modern philosophy and democratic theory.
Early reviews are available: Yitzhak Y. Melamed (Johns Hopkins) describes the book as ’splendid, deep, and timely’.
The author has written a blog post to explain one of the book’s themes in plain language:
A new Latin and French critical edition of Ethica has been published and is now available.
Spinoza, Œuvres IV: Ethica/Éthique. Texte établi par Fokke Akkerman et Piet Steenbakkers, traduction par Pierre-François Moreau, introduction et notes par Pierre-François Moreau et Piet Steenbakkers, avec annexes par Fabrice Audié, André Charrak et Pierre-François Moreau. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2020. ISBN 978-2-13-081149-7, 696 pages, €32.
The Latin text is based on Spinoza’s Opera posthuma of 1677, which has been collated systematically with the 1677 Dutch version in De nagelate schriften and with the Vatican manuscript (copied from Spinoza’s completed autograph between November 1674 and May 1675, but only discovered in 2010). It is accompanied by a scrupulous new translation. The introduction examines the textual history of the work from its genesis to recent editions and translations, and presents an account of the constitution of the Latin text and of the principles governing the French translation. Historical, lexical and conceptual clarifications are offered in the notes. Three appendices deal with the geometric examples, the excursion on the nature of bodies, and the structure of the theory of the affects. The book is completed by a glossary, a bibliography and an index of names.
This series will broaden the understanding of Spinoza in the Anglophone world by translating central works by Continental scholars into English for the first time. These philosophers explore Spinoza’s most important themes in detail, opening up new possibilities for reading and interpreting Spinoza.
Two books have been published in the series so far:
Vittorio Morfino, The Spinoza-Machiavelli Encounter (trans. Dave Mesing)
Chantal Jaquet, Affects, Actions, and Passions in Spinoza (trans. Tatiana Reznichenko)
Education and Free Will: Spinoza, Causal Determinism and Moral Formation
by Johan Dahlbeck
Education and Free Will critically assesses and makes use of Spinoza’s insights on human freedom to construe an account of education that is compatible with causal determinism without sacrificing the educational goal of increasing students’ autonomy and self-determination. Offering a thorough investigation into the philosophical position of causal determinism, Dahlbeck discusses Spinoza’s view of self-determination and presents his own suggestions for an education for autonomy from a causal determinist point of view.
The book begins by outlining the free will problem in education, before expanding on a philosophical understanding of autonomy and how it is seen as an educational ideal. It considers Spinoza’s determinism and discusses his denial of moral responsibility. Later chapters consider the relationship between causal determinism and autonomy, the educational implications of understanding free will and how free will can be utilised as a valuable fiction in education.
This book will be of great interest to academics and postgraduate students in the field of education, especially those with an interest in moral education and philosophy of education. It will also be of interest to those in the fields of philosophy and psychology and specifically those focusing on the free will problem, on Spinoza studies, and on the relation between moral psychology and external influence.
We are delighted to announce the publication of Spinoza’s Philosophy of Ratio, edited by Beth Lord and published by Edinburgh University Press. The book brings together essays on Spinoza, ratio, architecture, and wellbeing from the Equalities of Wellbeing project.
Readers will learn from this book that a philosophy of ratio is not to be conflated with a rationalist philosophy. The authors draw on the three senses of ratio – reason, relation and proportion – to explore their interdependence and, crucially, the emergent and constructed conatus towards equality and wellbeing. This valuable book demonstrates that empiricism and rationalism need not be opposed. – Andrej Radman, Delft University of Technology
This volume represents an important collective re-thinking of Spinoza’s key concept of ratio. Along with new interpretations of his treatment of the relations between reason and emotion, it…
New e-book available free online here. The book contains several articles on Spinoza, by Davide Monaco, Filip Buyse, Keith Green, Gabor Boros, Oliver Istvan Toth, Brian Glenney, Christopher Davidson, and Zsolt Bagi.
Spinoza is among the most controversial and asymmetrical thinkers in the tradition and history of modern European philosophy. Since the 17th century, his work has aroused some of the fiercest and most intense polemics in the discipline. From his expulsion from the synagogue and onwards, Spinoza has never ceased to embody the secular, heretical and self-loathing Jew. Ivan Segré, a philosopher and celebrated scholar of the Talmud, discloses the conservative underpinnings that have animated Spinoza’s numerable critics and antagonists.
Through a close reading of Leo Strauss and several contemporary Jewish thinkers, such as Jean-Claude Milner and Benny Levy (Sartre’s last secretary), Spinoza: the Ethics of an Outlaw aptly delineates the common cause of Spinoza’s contemporary censors: an explicit hatred of reason and its emancipatory potential. Spinoza’s radical heresy lies in his rejection of any and all blind adherence to Biblical Law, and in his plea for the freedom and autonomy of thought. Segré reclaims Spinoza as a faithful interpreter of the revolutionary potential contained within the Old Testament.
Spinoza and Education: Freedom, understanding and empowerment
by Dr. Johan Dahlbeck
Spinoza and Education offers a comprehensive investigation into the educational implications of Spinoza’s moral theory. Taking Spinoza’s naturalism as its point of departure, it constructs a considered account of education, taking special care to investigate the educational implications of Spinoza’s psychological egoism. What emerges is a counterintuitive form of education grounded in the egoistic striving of the teacher to persevere and to flourish in existence while still catering to the ethical demands of the students and the greater community.
In providing an educational reading of Spinoza’s moral theory, this book sets up a critical dialogue between educational theory and recent studies which highlight the centrality of ethics in Spinoza’s overall philosophy. By placing his work in a contemporary educational context, chapters explore a counterintuitive conception of education as an ethical project, aimed at overcoming the desire to seek short-term satisfaction and troubling the influential concept of the student as consumer. This book also considers how education, from a Spinozistic point of view, may be approached in terms of a kind of cognitive therapy serving to further a more scientifically adequate understanding of the world and aimed at combating prejudices and superstition.
Spinoza and Education demonstrates that Spinoza’s moral theory can further an educational ideal, where notions of freedom and self-preservation provide the conceptual core of a coherent philosophy of education. As such, it will appeal to researchers, academics and postgraduate students in the fields of philosophy of education, theory of education, critical thinking, philosophy, ethics, and Spinoza studies.