Spinoza's Project

Susan James

in Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion, and Politics

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698127
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740558 | DOI:
 						Spinoza's Project

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This chapter explains Spinoza's reasons for writing and publishing the Treatise. His central goal is, as he says, to establish that the freedom to philosophize is compatible with the peace and piety of the republic, and to show that, without this freedom, peace and piety cannot be maintained. An understanding of these insights is currently blocked by superstitious forms of religion, which rely on misinterpretations of the Bible to subordinate philosophy to theology, and condemn philosophizing as politically dangerous. The Treatise will uncover the errors and suspect motivations on which these claims are based. Spinoza begins by setting out the traditional conception of superstition (espoused by Plutarch and Bacon among others) that he will discredit, and implicitly accuses the Dutch Reformed Church of upholding it. By explaining what it is directed against, he sets the stage for his own argument.

Keywords: audience of Treatise; goals of Treatise; Plutarch; Bacon; superstition; Dutch Reformed Church; freedom to philosophize; relation of theology and philosophy; peace and piety of republic

Chapter.  13361 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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