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Essays on Spinoza's Ethical Theory$
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Matthew J. Kisner and Andrew Youpa

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657537.001.0001

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Politics and Ethics in Spinoza

Politics and Ethics in Spinoza

The Problem of Normativity

(p.85) Politics and Ethics in Spinoza
Essays on Spinoza's Ethical Theory

Michael A. Rosenthal

Oxford University Press

This essay defends a reading according to which Spinoza is a type of moral anti-realist. Since Spinoza allows that we can have certain knowledge of the good, this naturally invites the question, what is it that such knowledge is knowledge of? Spinoza’s political theory, in Rosenthal’s view, holds the answer to this question. Just as there is neither a transcendent nor a natural foundation for knowledge of the means to our good, Rosenthal argues that, for Spinoza, there is neither a transcendent nor a natural foundation for knowledge of justice and a just society.

Keywords:   political theory, moral anti-realism, knowledge, natural law, justice

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