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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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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

A Matter of Life and Death: Spinoza and Derrida

A Matter of Life and Death: Spinoza and Derrida

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

Alexander García Düttmann

University of Minnesota Press

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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