AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Spinoza and an ethics of expression

by Sarah Redshaw

Institution: University of Western Sydney
Department: School of Humanities
Degree: PhD
Year: 2002
Keywords: Benedictus de Spinoza; philosophy; ethics
Record ID: 1040486
Full text PDF: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/615


There is interest in Spinoza in a range of disciplines with a focus on embodiment, agency and affect that has resulted in revisiting Spinoza as an alternative to the transcendence of dominant Cartesian thought. Spinoza offers a different understanding of reason that incorporates embodied experience through his alternative to abstract universals, the common notions. The role of affect and its relation to reason in Spinoza are discussed in relation to Descartes. Jonathan Bennett and Edwin Curley’s views on affect are discussed. It is argued that Deleuze’s discussion of expression in Spinoza is limited by the application of liberal ideas of power to Spinoza. Genevieve Lloyd and Moira Gatens offer a productive application of Spinoza’s thought to contemporary issues through a rethinking of imagination in the light of the focus in cultural studies on ‘imagined communities’. However, the inability of philosophy to distinguish abstract universals from alternatives such as Spinoza’s common notions has limited its ability to embrace embodied experience, which in turn limits the possibilities for applying Spinoza’s insights from within philosophy. The common notions are an alternative to abstract universals, and are able to confront the conflicting meanings and differences within them Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)