Baruch Spinoza is one of the most influential and controversial political philosophers of the early modern period. Though best-known for his contributions to metaphysics, Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise (1670) and his unfinished Political Treatise (1677) were widely debated and helped to shape the political writings of philosophers as diverse as Rousseau, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, and (although he publicly denied it) even Locke. In addition to its enormous historical importance, Spinoza’s political philosophy is also strikingly contemporary in its advocacy of toleration of unpopular religious and political views and his concern with stabilizing religiously diverse democratic societies.
The first Guidebook to Spinoza’s political writings, The Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Spinoza on Politics covers the following key points:
- Spinoza’s life and the background to his philosophy
- the key themes and arguments of the Theological-Political-Treatise and Political Treatise
- the continuing importance of Spinoza’s work to philosophy.
This book is an ideal starting point for anyone new to Spinoza and essential reading for students of political philosophy and seventeenth-century philosophy.
Preface 1. The Theological-Political Problem 2. Naturalism, Right, and Power 3. The State of Nature and the Origins of Civil Society 4. Critique of Traditional Biblical Religion 5. The Universal Religion 6. Toleration 7. Democratic Theory. Index
"Spinoza’s political thought has not nearly received the attention it deserves. This thorough and highly readable guidebook is thus a very welcome addition to the literature, and the perfect place to start the study of Spinoza’s important and still relevant views on the state, religion, and toleration." - Steven Nadler, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA