Naturalism and Democracy

A Commentary on Spinoza's "Political Treatise" in the Context of His System

Naturalism and Democracy, first published in German in 2014, presents a long-awaited commentary on Spinoza’s Political Treatise (Tractatus politicus). Its contents reflect a recent intensification in the interest in Spinoza’s political philosophy in Germany. The volume addresses Spinoza’s political philosophy according to its place within his philosophical system as a whole, beginning with his theory of the natural genesis of law and state. Following from this are commentaries on the foundations of political philosophy, the relation of natural and state law, the theory of sovereignty, and theory of international relations. These chapters lay the basis for four essays interpreting Spinoza’s attempt to conceive of a systematic optimization of political and legal institutions for all three forms of governance (monarchy, aristocracy, democracy). The volume closes with an analysis of the current relevance of Spinoza’s political thinking and his influence on contemporary debates.

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Wolfgang Bartuschat is professor (ret.) of Philosophy at Hamburg University. His areas of research are Philosophy of Modernity (emphasis on Spinoza and Kant), Systematic Metaphysics, Hermeneutics, and Philosophy of Law.
Stephan Kirste is professor of Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy at the University of Salzburg. His interests lie in Philosophy of Law and Constitutional Law.
Manfred Walther is professor (emeritus) of Philosophy of Law at the Law Faculty of the Leibniz University of Hannover. His main areas of research are the Philosophy of Law and State since antiquity, as well as Spinoza and his reception, mainly in Germany.
This book is of special interest not only for philosophers of law, but also, due to Spinoza’s approach, for political and social scientists and those interested at the theory of institutions and in the beginning of modern democratic theory.