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Imitation Of The Affects And Interhuman Relations

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Chapter Summary

The second half of the third part of the Ethics is entirely dominated by the combination of the two ways of producing affects: the direct production of any affect from the three primary affects, and the mechanism of imitation along with its consequences. There are two types of affects: actions and passions. We feel passions as impotence and disruption, which are probably the most fundamental experiences of what Spinoza calls 'servitude'. So the principle of similarity conceived as a universal functional rule of human nature proves to be a powerful factor in the explanation of interhuman relations. We pass out of a world in which our passions simply give themselves their objects, and into a world in which they have to do with our relations to others of our kind. Spinoza's psychology is thereby characterized by a twofold genetic regularity: the interplay of primary passions and the imitation of affects.

Keywords: actions; affects; Ethics; imitation; interhuman relations; passions; Spinoza



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