‘Spinoza and Politics’ by Étienne Balibar

Published by Vers in 1998 (first published 1985)


With Hobbes and Locke, Spinoza is arguably one of the most important political philosophers of the modern era, a premier theoretician of democracy and mass politics. In this revised and augmented English translation of his 1985 classic, Spinoza et la Politique, Étienne Balibar presents a synoptic account of Spinoza’s major works in relation to the political and historical conjuncture in which they were written. Balibar admirably demonstrates, through fine readings of the principal treatises, Spinoza’s relevance to contemporary political life.

In successive chapters Balibar he examines the political situation in the United Provinces during Spinoza’s lifetime, Spinoza’s own religious and ideological associations, the concept of democracy developed in the Theologico-Political Treatise, the theory of the state advanced in the Political Treatise and the anthropological basis for politics established in the Ethics.

Written with supreme clarity and engaging liveliness, this book will appeal to specialists and general audiences alike. It is certain to become the standard introductory work on Spinoza, an indispensable guide to the intricacies of this most vital of the seventeenth-century rationalists.

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