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    The affective cost of philosophical self-transformation

    James, Susan (2018) The affective cost of philosophical self-transformation. Intellectual History Review , ISSN 1749-6977. (In Press)

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    It is not uncommon for early-modern philosophers to portray a perfectly philosophical way of life as a condition that approaches 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 - The Childhood of Jesus and The Schooldays of Jesus - to elucidate a significant though suppressed form of emotional loss that is integral to Spinoza’s image of the philosophical life.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Special issue on 'Spinoza and Artes' ed. Moira Gatens and Anthony Uhlmann. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Spinoza, David Sedley, Plato, Coetzee, Jesus Christ, self-transformation, affective loss
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Depositing User: Susan James
    Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2018 09:49
    Last Modified: 10 Feb 2021 02:28


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