Towards Spinoza through his Milieu
Why did Spinoza write a book on morals imitating Euclides’ Elements of Geometry, making it hard to read and sometimes even boring? So far, answers to this question found support in theoretical reasons. This research aims at providing a new approach, based on practical interactions between men, domains, families, experiences, allowing for a whole new interpretation of the Ethics.
History of philosophy has presented European philosophy as a sequence of conceptual “systems” built up by particular authors. This research project emphasizes the fact that Bento Spinoza (1632 – 1677), today one of the heroes of this history, was only one of several thinkers debating all sorts of ideas without coherence; and that these thinkers were in permanent contact with non-philosophical practices and problems. This new historical approach changes the very definition of philosophy. Some of the innovations made by Spinoza appear to be better understood when they are not traced back to the minds of one or two authors, but to extremely complex interactions. Usually unseen actors, such as reading circles of women or hung up criminals, then appear to play a role in intellectual history.
1) Spinoza. Méthodes pour exister, CNRS Editions, 2010.
2) Spinoza, Correspondance, translated into french, GF, 2010.
3) Spinozaland, Balans, 2020 (dutch version of Le Clan Spinoza, Flammarion, 2017).