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2 Spinoza: An Ontology of Relation?

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Chapter Summary

From Bayle's early Dictionary article to Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy, the core of Spinoza's philosophy was said to be its unheard-of gesture of making God the sole res that could be thought through the concept of substance. In line with a whole series of interpretative developments in France over the last thirty years, this chapter disperses this identification by employing a paradoxical formulation. By emphasising his negation of the substantiality of what he calls res singulares, we can locate Spinoza's originality less in having posited the existence of a single substance than his laying out the foundation for this ontology of relation. The undisputed primacy of substance over all other characteristics of being is constitutive of the Western tradition. Within this tradition, the hierarchy between substance and these other traits is structured and governed by the rule of inherence.

Keywords: Bayle's early Dictionary article; Lectures on the History of Philosophy; ontology of relation; paradoxical formulation; Spinoza's philosophy; Western tradition



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