New article on Spinoza’s concept of equality

Beth Lord’s paper on Spinoza’s concept of equality in the Theological-Political Treatise has been published online and in print in Epoche: A Journal for the History of Philosophy.

The journal article can be accessed here (only to those with a personal or institutional subscription to Epoche). An open-access version of the paper can be accessed here.

Abstract: Spinoza recognizes that in a democracy, ideals of freedom and equality shape our thoughts about ourselves as human beings. This paper examines Spinoza’s concept of equality in the Theological-Political Treatise, and considers its complexi­ties and ambiguities in light of his theories of freedom and democracy there and in the Ethics. Because Spinoza takes human beings to have unequal power, he does not believe we are naturally or intrinsically equal. Nor does he think equality is good in itself. Equality is good to the extent that it promotes human flourishing. The kind of equality Spinoza endorses is economic equality, which encourages human beings to become more powerful, virtuous, and free. I demonstrate this with reference to Spinoza’s discussion of the state of nature, democracy, and the Hebrew state in the Theological-Political Treatise and his remarks on charity, economic exchange, and their associated affects in the Ethics.

Spinoza and Proportion Conference – Speakers announced

Spinoza and Proportion

A conference of the AHRC Equalities of Wellbeing project

5-6 May 2015, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

This conference will explore different aspects of proportion in Spinoza’s philosophy. We are delighted to announce our list of speakers. Please follow the blog by email to receive updates.

Spinoza and Proportion provisional programme now available.

Speakers:

Simon Duffy (Yale-NUS College, Singapore): “Proportion as a barometer of the affective life in Spinoza”

Helene Frichot (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm): “Slownesses and Speeds, Latitudes and Longitudes: In the Vicinity of Beatitude”

Gokhan Kodalak (Cornell University): “Spinoza, affective architecture, and proportionate power”

Mike LeBuffe (University of Otago): “The place of body in Spinoza’s metaphysics” (by Skype)

Beth Lord (University of Aberdeen): “Spinoza’s ratios and relational autonomy”

Heidi Ravven (Hamilton College): “Ratio and activity: Spinoza’s biologizing of the mind in an Aristotelian key” (by Skype)

Peg Rawes (University College London): “Dissimiliarity: Spinoza’s geometric ratios and housing crises”

Anthony Uhlmann (University of Western Sydney): “‘The eyes of the mind’: ratio and art in Spinoza and Swift”

Valtteri Viljanen (University of Turku): “Spinoza’s ontology geometrically illustrated: a reading of Ethics 2P8S”

Stefan White (Manchester Metropolitan University): “The greater part: how intuition makes a better world”

Timothy Yenter (University of Mississippi): “Harmony in Spinoza and his critics”

Eventbrite - Spinoza and Proportion Conference

Organization: Beth Lord s.b.lord@abdn.ac.uk

Project PhD student

PhD student Tiff Thomas joined the project and the University of Aberdeen this month. He will be conducting his own research into subjectivity and ethico-aesthetics in Spinoza, while also contributing to the broader project themes and activities.

We are gearing up for our first meetings with members of our Advisory Board, and work is underway on the Equalities of Wellbeing website, which we aim to launch early in the new year.