Beyond Tolerance? Spinozist Proposals on Preferences and Justifications

Keywords: Spinoza, tolerance, religion


The term “tolerance”, strictly speaking, does not belong to Spinoza’s vocabulary, and the notion of “tolerance”, in its modern sense, is not part of his concepts either. However, the separation of theology and politics, which is the subject of the Theological-Political Treatise, envelops an even more radical separation between immanence and transcendence. An entirely immanent policy would be indifferent to “values” and “justifications” of any kind (moral, religious, rational). It would be based only on the “accounts” of individual “preferences”. We show that Spinoza’s philosophy can help us conceive (perhaps one day achieve) such a form of radical, or “absolute” democracy.


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