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Philosophy, theology, and politics

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Chapter Summary

The philosophical teaching of the treatise is the teaching of nature. The theological teaching of the treatise is the teaching of piety and obedience. The political teaching of the treatise is the teaching of the protection of life and the protection of the republic. But it is not immediately obvious how the three teachings of the Tractatus theologico-politicus are related to each other nor is the connection among them entirely clear. The connection between the theological and political parts of the treatise is introduced by Spinoza's remark in the Preface to the treatise that the conclusions he reaches concerning the liberty of thought and the liberty of speech in a democratic political regime derive from his examination of the Scriptures. The theologico-political teaching of Spinoza's old book is "fabrica" devised by a philosopher for the sake of solving the perennial natural or philosophic problem of human selfishness or human unsociability.

Keywords: Benedict Spinoza; human selfishness; human unsociability; philosophic problem; philosophical teaching; political teaching; theological teaching; Tractatus theologico-politicus



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