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There are places in the text, however, when Spinoza seems to imply that we have obligations to the sovereign irrespective of our psychological or motivational state.

In some of these instances, a careful reading reveals that nothing of the sort is implied. Still, there are other places when he does imply that de facto obedience is neither necessary nor sufficient for establishing the legitimacy of a civil body. For instance, he claims that the sovereign alone has right over religious matters such as interpreting Scripture, excommunicating heretics, and making provisions for the poor TTP 19, - 40 , despite the fact that the church had, in fact, been exercising power in these matters.

One might wonder why Spinoza, having published the TTP in , spent the last years of his life until his death in working on a second political treatise that covers some of the same ground as the first. It is tempting to suppose that he must have come to reject many of his earlier views. However, with the possible exception of his view of the social contract see 4. Rather, the TP is distinguished from the earlier treatise chiefly by its aims and rhetorical style. Whereas the TTP was an occasional piece, written for an audience of liberal Christian theologians to address the problems posed by officious Calvinist theocrats, the TP is concerned with the general organization of the state and was written for philosophers.

Balibar , The TP is a fitting sequel to the Ethics Matheron Whereas the Ethics reveals the path to individual freedom, the TP reveals the extent to which individual freedom depends on civil institutions Steinberg a. The work can be divided into three sections. In the first section roughly through Chapter 4 , Spinoza discusses the metaphysical basis of the state and the natural limits of state power. In the second section Chapter 5 , Spinoza lays out the general aims of the state.

And in the third section Chapter 6 to the end , Spinoza gives specific recommendations for how various regime forms—monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy—are to be constituted so as to satisfy the aims of the state as set out in section two. In the early chapters of the TP, Spinoza puts forth his naturalistic program, beginning with the premise that the state, like everything else, is a natural thing res naturalis , governed by the laws of nature see Bartuschat , It has seemed to some e.

This view is supported by the fact that virtually no mention of a social contract is made in the later treatise Wernham , 25; Matheron At the very least, this passage illustrates a break with the ultra-rational conception of the social contract that appears to lie behind some of the claims of the TTP.


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They stand under the right or power of the sovereign, because they are held psychologically in its sway. But what exactly does it mean to deduce the foundations of the state from the nature of men? E IVP5dem. The state is thus an unintended, but salutary, outcome of the natural interplay of human passions.