BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    The affective cost of philosophical self-transformation

    James, Susan (2020) The affective cost of philosophical self-transformation. In: James, Susan (ed.) Spinoza on Learning to Live Together. Taylor and Francis. ISBN 9780198713074.

    [img] Text
    23695.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript
    Restricted to Repository staff only

    Download (291kB) | Request a copy


    Some early-modern philosophers portray a perfectly philosophical way of life as a condition approaching the divine. The philosopher becomes as like God as a human being can, and in doing so experiences unparalleled and unalloyed joy. Spinoza advocates a version of this view and defends it with impressive consistency. To suggest that the process of philosophical enlightenment involves any affective cost, he argues, is simply to display a lack of understanding, and thus to fall short of the insight and joy that understanding ultimately yields. Nevertheless, something seems to be missing. I turn to a pair of novels by J. M. Coetzee to elucidate a significant though suppressed form of emotional loss that is integral to Spinoza’s image of the philosophical life.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Spinoza, David Sedley, Plato, Coetzee, Jesus Christ, self-transformation, affective loss
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Susan James
    Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2018 09:49
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:43


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item