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Spinoza, the EpicureanAuthority and Utility in Materialism$
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Dimitris Vardoulakis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474476041

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474476041.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

The Freedom to Philosophize: The Two Paths to Virtue (chapters 14 and 15)

The Freedom to Philosophize: The Two Paths to Virtue (chapters 14 and 15)

(p.203) 6 The Freedom to Philosophize: The Two Paths to Virtue (chapters 14 and 15)
Spinoza, the Epicurean

Dimitris Vardoulakis

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter presents a more nuanced account of Spinoza’s concept of freedom as distinct from the free will. This adds a social and political dimension to the earlier determination of freedom in ch. 1 as the capacity to calculate one’s utility. Vardoulakis demonstrates how Spinoza understands the freedom to philosophize as the capacity to make practical judgments. This suggests that Spinoza’s conception of freedom prefigures the notion of the transindividual as developed by Etienne Balibar. Vardoulakis also pays close attention to Balibar’s argument that Spinoza offers two paths to virtue or the good. According to Spinoza’s Epicureanism, the first path relies on the emotions and adherence to authority, and the second on the calculation of utility based on practical rationality. These two paths substitute the more traditional distinction between faith and reason while also offering a radical political philosophy through the figure of what Spinoza calls the “necessary rebel.”

Keywords:   Freedom, Free Will, Faith and Reason, Transindividuality, Etienne Balibar, Rebellion, Herbert Marcuse

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