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Spinoza and the Stoics: Power, Politics and the Passions (Bloomsbury Studies in Philosophy) Reprint Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0826421814
ISBN-10: 0826421814
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Mentioned in The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 23 2007, volume LIII, No. 29.


'Although the link between Spinoza and Stoicism has been explored to a certain extent ... DeBrabander's is the first book-length study. As such it cannot be valued too highly ... this is an interesting and stimulating book, and one any student of Spinoza should read.'
Theo Verbeek, University of Utrecht - for Notre Dame Philosophy Review, Nov 10, 2007


'Although the link between Spinoza and Stoicism has been explored to a certain extent … DeBrabander's is the first book-length study. As such it cannot be valued too highly … this is an interesting and stimulating book, and one any student of Spinoza should read.’
Theo Verbeek, University of Utrecht - for Notre Dame Philosophy Review, Nov 10, 2007

About the Author

Firmin DeBrabander is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Maryland Institute College of Art, USA.
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Product Details

  • Series: Bloomsbury Studies in Philosophy
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; Reprint edition (June 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826421814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826421814
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,128,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a Spinoza enthusiast, I've heard way too many glib efforts over the years to link Spinoza to the Stoics. Thankfully, we finally have a book -- and a very well written one at that -- that analyzes how Spinoza borrows from the Stoics and how his philosophy departs from theirs. DeBrabander's Spinoza comes across as altogether different from the model Stoic philosopher. Rather than burying the emotions beneath that Leviathan known as the Stoic capacity for "self control," Spinoza is shown to be a philosopher who respects the power of passions. In fact, DeBrabander's Spinoza embraces the passions as the "path to salvation."

Well, OK. I'm not exactly suggesting the hero of this book is a wine-woman-and-song hedonist. But I couldn't help but enjoy the vitality of the Spinozist philosopher portrayed in this book. It is infinitely more attractive than, say, the ascetic stereotype of the Spinozist depicted in I.B. Singer's "The Spinoza of Market Street."

"Spinoza and the Stoics" may sound like a narrow topic for a book, but it covers quite a range of topics. Politics, ethics, theology, and psychology are all discussed at some length. For me, the single greatest portion of this work is its ending, in which DeBrabander demonstrates that Spinoza should no more be thought of as a utilitarian than as a Stoic. I am slated to teach a Spinoza workshop next month and very much look forward to sharing with the group verbatim this book's beautiful and insightful conclusion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The subject the influence of Stoicism on Spinoza is of considerable interest, but this book in many sections presents nothing better to represent Stoic thinking than a two dimensional characterture of the Stoic sage and without bothering to explain the difference between a Stoic sage (a theoretical construct that Stoics found useful) and the Stoic philosophers (the living practitioners of Stoicism who were so prominent and active in the Hellenistic world). The author's frequent use of that characterture as a basis for comparison with the philosophy of Spinoza produces an unsatisfying result.

The book does discuss many interesting and thought provoking points, but it nevertheless disappointing because it could have been a much better book than it actually is.
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By Scoglio on August 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Spinoza literature is rapidly increasing -- particularly for a thinker who is not a favorite of the Analytic School of Anglo-American philosophy.

As another reviewer has said here, the picture of Stoicism here has some detail, but is off target as the broader significance of Stoicism is not recognized, and hence, the picture of Spinoza is necessarily unbalanced. So the volume is readable if not particularly perceptive or original. There are so many wonderful and creative works on Spinoza (even the modest biography of Gullan Whur has merit), that I suggest non-academic readers look elsewhere.

However, I do have reduce the rating by one star for the author's recent article in the New York Times trying to lasso Spinoza's profound ideas to support the current President. It's highly doubtful that Obama's criticism of the private sector is sustained by Spinoza's concept of the 'deus sive natur'. I'm grateful, however, that the author didn't impute godlike qualities to contemporary politicians (of any stripe).
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