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Human Non-Freedom And Disillusionment (4praef–4p18)

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Chapter Summary

Bondage refers to the relation of man to substance, to his own affects, and to other individuals. Thus, what is at issue is a non-freedom which is threatening, as opposed to that non-freedom which follows out of the denial of liber arbitrium. Spinoza translates the jargon of essence into that of power. Bondage is impotence understood as an antonymous term to strength, fortitude (4praef and 4p17s). A deeper understanding of bondage is, paradoxically, a precondition for the power of reason, i.e. human freedom as announced in the fifth-part of Ethics. Because humans' impotence and passivity is never absolute, as long as they live, and because even in their impotence and passivity the same conatus retains its efficacy, room is left for a relative power and relative freedom. This relative power and relative freedom of man, which distinguishes him from a being without conatus and without philosophical intellect, must be improved.

Keywords: 4praef; bondage; conatus; disillusionment; Ethics; human; impotence; liber arbitrium; non-freedom; spinoza

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