Spinoza for Our Time

Spinoza for Our Time: Politics and Postmodernity

Antonio Negri
Translated by William McCuaig
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  • Book Info
    Spinoza for Our Time
    Book Description:

    Antonio Negri, one of the world's leading scholars on Baruch Spinoza (1632--1677) and his contemporary legacy, offers a straightforward explanation of the philosopher's elaborate arguments and a persuasive case for his ongoing relevance. Responding to a resurgent interest in Spinoza's thought and its potential application to contemporary global issues, Negri demonstrates the thinker's special value to politics, philosophy, and related disciplines.

    Negri's work is both a return to and an advancement of his initial affirmation of Spinozian thought in The Savage Anomaly. He further defends his understanding of the philosopher as a proto-postmodernist, or a thinker who is just now, with the advent of the postmodern, becoming contemporary. Negri also connects Spinoza's theories to recent trends in political philosophy, particularly the reengagement with Carl Schmitt's "political theology," and the history of philosophy, including the argument that Spinoza belongs to a "radical enlightenment." By positioning Spinoza as a contemporary revolutionary intellectual, Negri addresses and effectively defeats twentieth-century critiques of the thinker waged by Jacques Derrida, Alain Badiou, and Giorgio Agamben.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50066-1
    Subjects: Philosophy, Political Science, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xx)
    Rocco Gangle

    Our relation to the seventeenth-century Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza via the twenty-first century Italian thinker Antonio Negri is to an unthought or barely thought radical democracy, a concrete potentiality and smoldering power of our time. In the Ethics, Spinoza provides us with an ontology and an anthropology of creative relations, a constructive account of immanent being on the one hand and, on the other, an affective, desiring conception of human liberation achieved through embodied joy and intellectual power. In his other great work, the Theological-Political Treatise, Spinoza leads us—against the mainstream modern political tradition and, today, against neoliberalism—...

    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Spinoza and Us
    (pp. 1-34)

    Thirty years have now gone by since the publication of The Savage Anomaly.¹ I wrote it in prison, and when they ask me today how I managed that, I am sorry to have to say that the answer is still the same: resistance. Call it an instantiation of potentia if you like. Nor does my astonishment lessen as I leaf through The Savage Anomaly today, for not only does it remain relevant and hold its place in the scholarly literature on Spinoza, but even those critics (I marvel to note) who did react negatively to some of my positions or...

  6. ONE SPINOZA: A Heresy of Immanence and of Democracy
    (pp. 35-54)

    Some time ago now, when I was working on the political undertones in the thought of Descartes, I provided an outline of what I called the “reasonable politics” of the ideology of modernity,¹ plotting its different lines of development and range of alternatives. Recently I have returned to the topic, comparing my own reading to the new readings of Descartes that have appeared over the last thirty years. And I have found my earlier theses confirmed. These focused on the genesis and development of early capitalism, and the choices made by bourgeois ideology at a time when it was attempting...

  7. TWO POTENCY AND ONTOLOGY: Heidegger or Spinoza
    (pp. 55-68)

    The real, or what Hegel calls modernity, is the immediate unity of essence and existence, of the inner and the outer, in form and in dialectic: there you have it, the stormy cape around which philosophical critique has been struggling to make headway for almost two centuries. It looked as though Hegel had achieved a resolution of the problem. But during the silver age of contemporary German philosophy, and even more in its bronze age (the nineteenth century and fin-de-siècle period of “critical critique” and great university philosophy), essence and existence, substance and potency—Germanized as Wirklichkeit and Da-Sein—drifted...

    (pp. 69-82)

    My task will be to sketch the development of the notions of multitude and singularity in the thought of Spinoza, but I beg the reader’s indulgence for a small digression first. In preparing this paper, I was forced to pay heed to certain authors who have found a niche for themselves in recent years in the international philosophical gazettes and in academic publishing. What their discourse boils down to is the radical refusal of the relationship or rapport between the singularities and the multitude. Such a relation, at once open and perfectly essential, lies at the core of the democratic...

  9. FOUR SPINOZA: A Sociology of the Affects
    (pp. 83-98)

    When I was thinking about how to organize my paper, a certain number of difficulties that hadn’t occurred to me at the outset began to crop up. These difficulties have to do not so much with the project of linking Spinoza to sociology as with the way the sociological discipline is normally defined. For the most part, sociology poses as a Wertfrei science, meaning a nonevaluative science bearing on a specific object (“the social”), in the tradition running from Max Weber to Pierre Bourdieu. Alternatively, it presents itself as a positive discipline dealing with an institutional object: the tradition running...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 99-106)
    (pp. 107-110)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 111-126)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 127-128)