Chapter

Theology and Philosophy

Susan James

in Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion, and Politics

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698127
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740558 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698127.003.0010
 							Theology and Philosophy

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Spinoza is now in a position to conclude that, contrary to the view held by the Voetians, philosophy and theology are distinct and ‘neither is the handmaid of the other’. Philosophy aims at truth, theology at obedience, and since these are separate goals there need be no conflict between them. His argument builds on positions developed by Dutch Cartesians; but unlike these writers, Spinoza significantly diminishes the domain of theology and enlarges that of philosophy. The Treatise consequently faces the objection that, although it presents theology and philosophy as equal, it implicitly makes philosophy the more powerful of the two. This chapter explains the nature of this asymmtery by relating it to a Ciceronian account of honestas. According to Spinoza, theology provides an imperfect, imaginatively based account of the true honestas or virtue that only philosophers can fully achieve. Thus conceived, philosophy becomes a form of religion.

Keywords: Voetians; philosophy as pursuit of truth; theology as pursuit of obedience; Dutch Cartesians; Cicero; honestas; philosophy as religion

Chapter.  6876 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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