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Dimitris Vardoulakis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816672806

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816672806.001.0001

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A Matter of Life and Death: Spinoza and Derrida

A Matter of Life and Death: Spinoza and Derrida

Chapter:
(p.351) 14 A Matter of Life and Death: Spinoza and Derrida
Source:
Spinoza Now
Author(s):

Alexander García Düttmann

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816672806.003.0014

This chapter explores the relation between life and death by staging a dialogue between Spinoza and Derrida. Spinoza asserts that a free man fears death least of all. This entails that freedom requires liberation from the affect of fear and, liberation from the bondage of affect—which also means the attainment of wisdom. For Spinoza, freedom as an affirmation of life is nothing other than the acceptance of the law’s necessity—a freeing oneself from the necessity even though that necessity but always in terms of indecision. Derrida also sides with life, which is understood as the infinite deferral of the law, as the suspension of its necessity. From that perspective, the Spinozan position about freedom being the acceptance of the necessity of the law appears thoroughly incompatible with Derrida.

Keywords:   life, death, Spinoza, Derrida, free man, freedom, liberation, affect, fear, wisdom

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