Riccardo Caporali

People, Plebian and Tyrant: on the XVIII chapter of Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Spinoza, Tractatus theologico-politicus, People, Plebian, Tyrant.

In the overall articulation of the Tractatus theologico-politicus, the eighteenth chapter would seem at first sight to play a secondary role, almost in harmony the previous one, more dense, on the principles that can be drawn from the history of the Jewish state. However, a slightly more detailed analysis of the text highlights how this chapter, through the notions of populus, plebs and tyrannus – and in the name of a pregnant Machiavellian influence – contains decisive conceptual elements both on the purely political way of handling the «historiae» by Spinoza, and on the fundamental difficulty of the whole treatise, problematically oriented towards the construction of a democracy that can disregard the turbulent passions and blind prejudices of the vulgus.

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