Chapter

What Counts as an Individual for Spinoza?

Steven Barbone

in Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780195128154
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786008 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019512815X.003.0006
 What Counts as an Individual for Spinoza?

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This essay explores Spinoza’s concept of an individual. It focuses on the ontological status of the political state, and rejects Matheron’s view that political states are individuals. For Spinoza, the individual is first and foremost, and it follows that political institutions take second place in importance to the individuals who live in them. The state exists for the benefit of each individual, and it cannot be the case that an individual exists for the benefit of the state.

Keywords: Spinoza; individual; political state; Matheron

Chapter.  13212 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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