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Title: Social contract and change : a discussion of Spinoza's contract theory
Author: Lamonica, Maria Gabriella.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3604 4687
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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Introduction Chapter 1 contains an outline of the main positions held by scholars in the debate about Spinoza's social contract theory. I spell out those which are commonly regarded as the main "anomalies" of Spinoza's contractarianism, and those which are regarded as the contractarian aspects of his theory. Ch 2: I present, and argue against Matheron's evolutionary theory, a noncontractarian reading of Spinoza's political works. Matheron claims that the fragile and problematic contract theory that Spinoza holds in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus is deeply revised and substantially abandoned in Spinoza's last work, the Tractatus Politicus. He also shows that we can deduce the details of Spinoza's political position from his metaphysical determinism. I try to show the limitations of Matheron's reading of Spinoza's TP, especially in regard of the notions of individual advantage and social/political conflict. Ch 3: I give an exposition of the "conceptual model of natural law theory", which Bobbio offers in highlighting the similarities of different contract theorists. I discuss Bobbio's contractarian reading of Spinoza's work, with special regard to the issue of the natural law theory. Ch 4: I offer my own reading of Spinoza's text, by exploring how the fundamental notions of Spinoza's theory interplay in the construction of an accomplished social contract theory. Ch 5: I show how Spinoza accommodates the notions of social contract and political change, in this way solving some traditional problems of the contract theory, Ch 6: I briefly discuss the relation between the Tractatus Politicus and Spinoza's earlier works. Ch 7: I contrast Spinoza's social contract theory to that of Hobbes. Spinoza's criticism seems directed against some precise aspects of Hobbes's theory rather than against the contract theory in general. I also discuss certain implications of Spinoza's contractarian approach. Conclusion 2
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available