Volume 12, 2018
Spinoza: Freedom in an Ultramoral Sense
In the Spinozist universe man is free from the moral dogma of good and bad imposed from outside, but with a responsibility to understand the natural laws with which his own body encounters with other bodies in nature, as well as the nature of affections such encounters produce. Freedom here is understood not as acting freely but having ‘adequate ideas’ of how one body in nature encounters other body. For Spinoza, a free man knows how to act according to the nature of laws of his own body. This knowing makes him a free man. By knowing the laws of nature, he acts to maximize his pleasure. Spinozist universe is not free and man’s action is not free. Everything works with the necessity. But in knowing that he is determined in a way he is determined makes man free. It is because this understanding makes him active. And the more one becomes active, the more free man one becomes.