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Tag Archives: Gábor Boros

Scholars On Spinoza Now: Politics, Religion and Democracy

Pensum over at However Fallible alerted me to this nice overview article in Eurozine on some of the importances of Spinoza to contemporary questions in society.

Spinoza scholars Gábor Boros, Herman De Dijn, Moira Gatens, Syliane Malinowski-Charles, Warren Montag, Teodor Münz, Steven B. Smith participate in answering a series of question sets directed mostly at religious and political issues:

1. To what extent is Spinoza’s interpretation of scriptures and revealed religion relevant today?

2. Could Spinoza be called a reductive naturalist?

3. What do you think about the attention Spinoza’s theory of emotions is receiving today from psychologists and cognitive scientists?

4. What do you take to be the advantages and disadvantages of Spinoza’s separation of political and religious authorities?

5. Do you think that Spinoza’s denial of free choice makes morality impossible?

6. What do you make of Spinoza’s favourable comments on democratic regimes? What do you think Spinoza thought of the multitude? Why do you think so many Marxist philosophers have found inspiration in Spinoza?

7. What do you make of Spinoza’s claim that the right of individuals is limited only by the extent of their power to be, to think and to act? In particular, how do you reconcile his equating power and right with his conception of political sovereignty?

The article form is uneven due to its format, but there is a certainly an advatage to having a spectrum of answers side by side. I’ll confess that I am not directly familiar with a few of the philosophers commenting, but Moira Gatens is one of my favorite authors on Spinoza. She doesn’t come off as vividly here as she does elsewhere, but her textual answers are substantive. And Montag is always wonderful.