Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Baruch Spinoza on State (Polity) - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 232
State/Spinoza/Höffe: Since the individual can hardly pursue [his self-preservation] alone, he gets involved in society and organizes himself in the state. The more his government strives for peace and freedom, the more stable the state is, because otherwise the citizens can expect indignation. There is one thing, however, that man cannot cede to the state, since it cannot be restricted anyway: the freedom to think. >Freedom/Spinoza.
State Goal: [Thus] it says in the Theological-Political Tractatus(1): "The purpose of the state is in truth freedom.”
In terms of institutional theory, Spinoza [in the Political Tractatus(2)] argues for a mutually controlling network of committees in which as many individuals as possible should be involved.
Freedom: [Spinoza] grants the public authorities the right to issue generally binding decisions, but with regard to personal conduct he recognizes an alternative to philosophy in the approach to happiness (beatitudo) or salvation (salus). For this alternative of a life based on religious faith does not need
Höffe I 234
certainty. Rather, the moral certainty of the biblical prophets(3) is sufficient, for which again no scholarly interpretation is required. The Holy Scriptures teach "only very simple things". That is foremost the obedience to God which is manifested in a life of justice and love(4). >Prejudices/Spinoza, >Constitution/Spinoza.


1. Spinoza, Tractatus theologico-politicus, Chap. 20
2. Spinoza, Tractatus politicus
3. Ibid., Chap. 2
4. Ibid., Introduction


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Spinoza I
B. Spinoza
Spinoza: Complete Works Indianapolis 2002

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-06-23
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