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Dimitris Vardoulakis (ed), Spinoza Now (University of Minnesota)

What does it mean to think about, and with, Spinoza today? This collection, the first broadly interdisciplinary volume dealing with Spinozan thought, asserts the importance of Spinoza’s philosophy of immanence for contemporary cultural and philosophical debates.

Engaging with Spinoza’s insistence on the centrality of the passions as the site of the creative and productive forces shaping society, this collection critiques the impulse to transcendence and regimes of mastery, exposing universal values as illusory. Spinoza Now pursues Spinoza’s challenge to abandon the temptation to think through the prism of death in order to arrive at a truly liberatory notion of freedom. In this bold endeavor, the essays gathered here extend the Spinozan project beyond the disciplinary boundaries of philosophy to encompass all forms of life-affirming activity, including the arts and literature. The essays, taken together, suggest that “Spinoza now” is not so much a statement about a “truth” that Spinoza’s writings can reveal to us in our present situation. It is, rather, the injunction to adhere to the attitude that affirms both necessity and impossibility.

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