Monday, April 21, 2008
Steinberg, Justin. "Spinoza's Political Philosophy." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY April 21, 2008.
At least in anglophone countries, Spinoza's reputation as a political thinker is eclipsed by his reputation as a rationalist metaphysician. Nevertheless, Spinoza was a penetrating political theorist whose writings have enduring significance. In his two political treatises, Spinoza advances a number of forceful and original arguments in defense of democratic governance, freedom of thought and expression, and the subordination of religion to the state. On the basis of his naturalistic metaphysics, Spinoza also offers trenchant criticisms of ordinary conceptions of right and duty. And his account of civil organization, grounded in psychological realism, stands as an important contribution to the development of constitutionalism and the rule of law. . . . Read the rest here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spinoza-political/.