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Cover for the book Feminist Interpretations of Benedict Spinoza

Feminist Interpretations of Benedict Spinoza

Edited by Moira Gatens
  • Copyright: 2009
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 256 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-03515-4
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-03516-1
  • Series Name: Re-Reading the Canon
“This volume makes a significant contribution, both to Spinoza studies and to feminist theory. This stimulating collection of essays offers readers in both fields some provocative, and sometimes controversial, new interpretations of the classic rationalist philosopher.”

This volume brings together international scholars working at the intersection of Spinoza studies and critical and feminist philosophy. It is the first book-length study dedicated to the re-reading of Spinoza’s ethical and theologico-political works from a feminist perspective. The twelve outstanding chapters range over the entire field of Spinoza’s writings—metaphysical, political, theological, ethical, and psychological—drawing out the ways in which his philosophy presents a rich resource for the reconceptualization of friendship, sexuality, politics, and ethics in contemporary life.

The clear and accessible Introduction offers a historical sketch of Spinoza’s life and intellectual context and indicates how Spinoza’s philosophy might be seen as a rich cultural resource today. Topics treated here include the mind-body problem and its relation to the sex-gender distinction; relational autonomy; the nature of love and friendship; sexuality and normative morality; free will and determinism and their relation to Christian theology; imagination and recognition between the sexes; emotion and the body; and power, imagination, and political sovereignty. The essays engage in a rich and challenging conversation that opens new paths for feminist research.

Contributors, besides the editor, are Aurelia Armstrong, Sarah Donovan, Paola Grassi, Luce Irigaray, Susan James, Genevieve Lloyd, Alexandre Matheron, Heidi Ravven, Amelie Rorty, and David West.

Moira Gatens is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney in Australia. Among her previous books is Collective Imaginings: Spinoza, Past and Present (1999).


Preface Nancy Tuana


List of Abbreviations and Notes on Translations

1. Introduction: Through Spinoza’s “Looking Glass”

  Moira Gatens

2. Dominance and Difference: A Spinozistic Alternative to the Distinction Between “Sex” and “Gender”

  Genevieve Lloyd

3. Autonomy and the Relational Individual: Spinoza and Feminism

  Aurelia Armstrong

4. Spinoza on the Pathos of Idolatrous Love and the Hilarity of True Love

  Amelie Rorty

5. Spinoza and Sexuality

  Alexandre Matheron

6. Reason, Sexuality, and the Self in Spinoza

  David West

7. What Spinoza Can Teach Us About Embodying and Naturalizing Ethics

  Heidi Morrison Ravven

8. Adam and the Serpent: Everyman and the Imagination

  Paola Grassi

9. The Envelope: A Reading of Spinoza’s Ethics, “Of God”

  Luce Irigaray

10. Re-reading Irigaray’s Spinoza

  Sarah Donovan

11. The Politics of the Imagination

  Moira Gatens

12. Law and Sovereignty in Spinoza’s Politics

  Susan James

Further Reading

List of Contributors


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