Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

What Kind of Democrat Was Spinoza?

Steven B. Smith
Political Theory
Vol. 33, No. 1 (Feb., 2005), pp. 6-27
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30038393
Page Count: 22
  • Get Access
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($34.00)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
What Kind of Democrat Was Spinoza?
Preview not available

Abstract

Spinoza's Ethics is rarely read as a work of political theory. Its formidable geometric structure and its author's commitment to a kind of metaphysical determinism do not seem promising materials from which to fashion a theory of democratic self-government. Yet impressions can mislead. A close reading of the Ethics reveals it to be an impassioned, deeply political book. Its aim is not only to liberate the individualfrom false beliefs and systems of power but also to enable us to act in concert as members of a democratic community. Above all, the work represents a celebration of individuality and the joys of life in all its plenitude. The Ethics provides Spinoza's clearest answer to the question "What is a free people (libera multitudo)? " only briefly alluded to at the end of his unfinished Political Treatise.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
6
    6
  • Thumbnail: Page 
7
    7
  • Thumbnail: Page 
8
    8
  • Thumbnail: Page 
9
    9
  • Thumbnail: Page 
10
    10
  • Thumbnail: Page 
11
    11
  • Thumbnail: Page 
12
    12
  • Thumbnail: Page 
13
    13
  • Thumbnail: Page 
14
    14
  • Thumbnail: Page 
15
    15
  • Thumbnail: Page 
16
    16
  • Thumbnail: Page 
17
    17
  • Thumbnail: Page 
18
    18
  • Thumbnail: Page 
19
    19
  • Thumbnail: Page 
20
    20
  • Thumbnail: Page 
21
    21
  • Thumbnail: Page 
22
    22
  • Thumbnail: Page 
23
    23
  • Thumbnail: Page 
24
    24
  • Thumbnail: Page 
25
    25
  • Thumbnail: Page 
26
    26
  • Thumbnail: Page 
27
    27