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Idealistic Studies

Volume 45, Issue 1, Spring 2015

Andreea Smaranda Aldea
Pages 21-39

Spinoza's Imagination
Rethinking Passivity

This paper seeks to elucidate the nature and import of the imagination as Spinoza discusses it in his Ethics. This is an attempt to go beyond the apparently predominant negative tone that seems to permeate Spinoza’s discussion of the imagination as passivity and as epistemic stage that needs to be overcome. As such the focused goal of this present inquiry is to unravel the ways in which the imagination and passivity play a positive role in Spinoza’s epistemology and ethics. This other angle of approaching the topics of imagination and passivity, which have not taken center stage in mainstream Spinoza scholarship, is primarily made possible through Spinoza’s conception of the human condition as potentia agendi et patiendi. Beyond this, however, the paper also aims at emphasizing facets of Spinoza’s rationalism that are all too often overlooked—these include his interest in and positive evaluation of the body, senses, imagination, and the emotions.

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