This post gets multiple hits from the same individuals. If you have questions please put them in the comments box with your email address, or use mine on the home page, and I will answer them. A king that is prey to lust often manages everything to suit the whim of some concubine or catamite … If we also consider human passions, and consider that men generally love women out of mere lust, judge their ability and wisdom by their beauty, are highly indignant if the women show the slightest favour to others, and so on, we shall easily see that it is impossible for men and women to govern on equal terms without great damage to the peace.
Betraying Spinoza. By Rebecca Goldstein. To anatomize influence, you may well begin with its greatest denier, Baruch Spinoza.
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Topics treated here include the mind-body problem and its relation to the sex-gender distinction; relational autonomy; the nature of love and friendship; sexuality and normative morality; free will and determinism and their relation to Christian theology; imagination and recognition between the sexes; emotion and the body; and power, imagination, and political sovereignty. The essays engage in a rich and challenging conversation that opens new paths for feminist research. This stimulating collection of essays offers readers in both fields some provocative, and sometimes controversial, new interpretations of the classic rationalist philosopher.
Adolescence is always a search for meaning, despite us recollecting it as the most deplorably shallow time in our lives. Indeed, the crippling disgust with which most of us recall our adolescence comes largely from the embarrassing knowledge that we sought meaning in what we now consider to be the most meaningless places: hair gel, terrible music and deeply codependent relationships with boys. The most tragic sort of adolescent, however, eschews such paltry mainstream sources in his or her search for meaning.
Spinoza was generally silent on the topic of women. When he was not silent, feminists wish he had been. What accounts for this unlikely companionship between Spinoza and feminism?
Philosophers claim to explore the most fundamental features of existence, but have been disappointingly silent on one all-important subject: Sex. Sure, Michel Foucault addressed the sociological discourses around sex and Simone de Beauvoir definitively demonstrated the value of sexual equality, but what about sex itself—or, as philosophy professor Jeanne Proust researches, sexual desire? Proust, who has an upcoming ThinkOlio lecture on the subject, says she was hugely frustrated by the near-absence of philosophical discussion about sex.
Spinoza did not focus his attention on issues of sex and gender. However, his philosophical system offers many resources for current feminist discussions. This collection of essays considers Spinoza's system from this point of view, and in doing so, provides a service for both feminist and Spinoza scholarship. Feminist scholars benefit from considering the possibility of a genealogical alternative to Cartesian dualism, for instance, how Spinoza's understanding of the mind-body relationship might be used to challenge the distinction between sex and gender.
Feelings of pain or pleasure or some quality in between are the bedrock of our minds. We often fail to notice this simple reality because the mental images of the objects and events that surround us, along with the images of the words and sentences that describe them, use up so much of our overburdened attention. But there they are, feelings of myriad emotions and related states, the continuous musical line of our minds, the unstoppable humming of the most universal of melodies that only dies down when we go to sleep, a humming that turns into all-out singing when we are occupied by joy, or a mournful requiem when sorrow takes over.