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Spinoza and Relational Autonomy

Being With Others

Edited by Aurelia Armstrong, Keith Green, Andrea Sangiacomo

Hardback (Forthcoming)

Integrates Spinoza’s thought into the contemporary debate on interpersonal relationships and individual autonomy

  • 13 new essays explore Spinoza’s relational account of autonomy and individuality
  • Integrates different philosophical approaches and styles, both from analytic and continental traditions
  • Bridges the gap between history of philosophy and contemporary debates
  • Contributes to debates across a number of fields, including Spinoza studies, contemporary political philosophy and ethics, feminist philosophy, and the philosophy of action

The question of how to understand autonomy has emerged as a critical issue in contemporary political philosophy. Feminists and others argue that autonomy cannot be adequately conceived without taking into consideration the ways in which it is shaped by our relationships with others. This collection of 13 new essays shows what Baruch Spinoza can add to our understanding of the relational nature of autonomy. By offering a relational understanding of the nature of individuals centred on the role played by emotions, Spinoza offers not only historical roots for contemporary debates but also broadens the current discussion.

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Editors’ Introduction
Aurelia Armstrong , Keith Green and Andrea Sangiacomo

1. Relational Autonomy: State of the Art Debate
Catriona Mackenzie

2. Epistemic Autonomy in Descartes, Spinoza and Kant: The Value of Thinking for Oneself
Ursula Renz

3. Spinoza on the Interaction of Ideas: Biased Beliefs
Martin Lenz

4. Spinoza on Natures: Aristotelian and Mechanistic Routes to Relational Autonomy
Matthew Kisner

5. Spinoza’s Path from Imaginative Transindividuality to Intuitive Relational Autonomy: From Fusion, Confusion and Fragmentation to Moral Integrity
Heidi M. Ravven

6. Revisiting Spinoza’s concept of conatus: Degrees of Autonomy
Caroline Williams

7. Bodies Politic and Civic Agreement
Justin Steinberg

8. Power, Freedom and Relational Autonomy
Ericka Tucker

9. Spinoza on Affirmation, Anima and Autonomy: ‘Shattered Spirits’
Keith Green

10. A Spinozistic Approach to Relational Autonomy: The Case of Prostitution
Andrea Sangiacomo


About the Author

Aurelia Armstrong is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Queensland, Australia. She has published many essays on Spinoza, Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze and Feminism.

Keith Green is Professor of Philosophy at East Tennessee State University. He has published widely on Spinoza and Aquinas in a number of journals.

Andrea Sangiacomo is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Groningen. He is the author of Spinoza on Reason, Passions and the Supreme Good (Oxford University Press).s. He is the author of L’essenza del corpo. Spinoza e la scienza delle composizioni (Olms, 2013).


Autonomy is an absolutely central element in Spinoza’s metaphysics, ethics and political philosophy. This volume, with insightful essays by both seasoned and younger scholars, not only offers new perspectives on the nature of autonomy in Spinoza, but also shows once again his relevance for contemporary philosophical themes.

- Steven Nadler, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Spinoza: A Life.

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