Spinoza and the concern for the Policy

Having read Baruch Spinoza from the end of the year 2012 (having spent several months reading of the Ethics, and then with other of his texts), I don’t suppose you will devote a series of entries. And take advantage that I am now reading the Political treaties (edition of Atilano Domínguez in Alliance, on Scribd at this link and on the site of the Alliance in this one). Although this means that the first entry will be rather less, but good is also not good to first get to comment such a great work.

The case is that Dominguez raises a little the strangeness of the concern for the politics of Spinoza, and devotes some pages to it. Now the case is in reality is not so strange. Because in between is the story.

The works devoted to the political themes are late in Spinoza: The Treatise theological-Political is of 1670 and the Treaty Politician was unfinished at his death in 1677. And those years are not any years in the history of the United Provinces. 1672 was the year of the disaster: the French invasion, the alliance between France and England against the republic, is the year of the murder of the brothers de Witt at the hands of a mob (a product of the almost popular uprising to defend the United Provinces against a government that he believed was not defending the homeland), the replacement of the government purely republican by the new estatúder William of Orange (Jonathan Israel, The Dutch Republic, it is a very good review of the history of this republic, link here) . There were few events, and in particular the threat that the war of 1672 involved for the State -attacked by its two more powerful neighbors who had every intention of reducing it to a condition of vassal – and the internal violence that had occurred that same year -in a republic, particularly more stable than the other states in the SEVENTEENTH century-were not milestones children. In other words, the existence of the state, where Spinoza lived, and the existence of a medium in which it was possible to engage in philosophizing (and, in particular, to develop a philosophy so outrageous as it was that of Spinoza for the time) could not be taken for granted. By the way was not that Spinoza could dedicate themselves to your stuff without problems-his eternal caution was not without reason – but in the environment of the time, there were no other place. In other words, the historical crises, as always, show the importance of the policy.

Even the reader most inattentive will notice that the crisis that I referred to is from 1672, while the Treaty’s Theological-Political is of 1670, and clearly the texts are thought to time before its writing and publication. So which it is not possible to attribute to that cause that effect. However, our argument relies more on the idea that the concern for politics is born of the perception that the political events that affect the lives of the people, and in the case of Spinoza to recognize that what happens in she was or wasn’t possible to devote themselves to philosophizing. And the Treaty’s Theological-Political is precisely a defence of the freedom to philosophize, to think; to declare that not only produces no danger to the community but also is good and positive for society. And this product that this issue was part of the political discussion of the period, with the official Church (the calvinist to the United Provinces) devoted rather to defend the idea that it could not be accepted that each and every one to think and write down what you would like. The defense of the tolerance of the Treaty is also, finally, a defense of the possibility of being able to continue on the path of life that has been chosen.

Ultimately, the concern for the policy is not casual, because the policy is something that is easy to forget in moments of supposed stability, is always personal.

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