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Spinoza Now$
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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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Spinoza and the Conflict of Interpretations

Spinoza and the Conflict of Interpretations

(p.3) 1 Spinoza and the Conflict of Interpretations
Spinoza Now

Christopher Norris

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter provides an overview of the way Spinoza has been received by various philosophical traditions. It starts by observing the great conflict in the interpretation of Spinoza, namely, that Spinoza has been viewed either as an atheist or as a mystic, either as a materialist or as a spiritualist. Tracing some aspects of this variegated history, the chapter argues that its latest incarnation divides an interpretation of Spinoza between analytic and continental philosophers. Spinoza’s radically monist understanding of body and mind or world and mind offers by far the most effective counterinstance to the whole way of thinking and its hold on philosophers from Descartes down. Thus, his work has very often been taken up by radicals or dissidents.

Keywords:   Spinoza, philosophical traditions, atheist, mystic, materialist, spiritualist, philosophers, Descartes, radicals

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