Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-56f9d74cfd-wh2kg Total loading time: 0.329 Render date: 2022-06-26T19:04:45.161Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

6 - G. W. Leibniz's two readings of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2011

Yitzhak Y. Melamed
Affiliation:
The Johns Hopkins University
Michael A. Rosenthal
Affiliation:
University of Washington
Get access

Summary

INTRODUCTION

Spinoza famously concluded the preface of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus by requesting that “common people” should not read his book, because they would only “make trouble by interpreting it perversely,” while insisting that its contents would be “extremely useful” for the “philosophical reader” [philosophe lector]. The question concerning the intended or, as it were, ideal or potential reader of the TTP has been extensively discussed by numerous commentators since Leo Strauss. These discussions have been very helpful for clarifying the terms upon which Spinoza's reasoning relies and for understanding the motivations which led him to write the treatise. In order to complete such a historical, contextual approach to Spinoza's text, I believe, however, that we must also take into account the actual readers. The reception of the TTP constitutes an integral part of its historical meaning, whether this reception corresponds to Spinoza's intentions or not. This applies in particular when it comes to the reception of the book by readers that Spinoza would himself have found suitable. In the following, I will thus consider the question of how informed philosophical readers of Spinoza actually did understand him by examining one particular case, namely G. W. Leibniz.

One could object that Leibniz, who grew up in Leipzig in an intellectual milieu which was hardly open to modern philosophy but constituted one of the bastions of Lutheran orthodoxy, was not sufficiently free from such prejudices as would disqualify him as a true philosophe lector in Spinoza's eyes.

Type
Chapter
Information
Spinoza's 'Theological-Political Treatise'
A Critical Guide
, pp. 101 - 127
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×