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Title: Free for eternity : Spinoza's philosophical eschatology
Author: Misiewicz, Michael Andrzej
ISNI:       0000 0004 4692 2668
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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In this dissertation, I put forward an interpretation of Spinoza's seemingly intractable notion of the 'eternity of the mind', an enduring puzzle in the history of early modern philosophy. The originality of my contribution will lie in the use that I make of Spinoza's philosophy of freedom as a key to unlock what he meant by this notion. By presenting Spinoza as a philosopher who was genuinely concerned with human salvation and the need to provide an adequate response to the existential predicament posed bu human mortality, I begin b motivating a serious engagement with this aspect of his thought. After presenting a critical history of prior engagements with the question, from Spinoza's own time up until the recent efforts that make up the status quaetionis, I proceed to examine he various philosophical elements out of which his eschatology is composed, tracing their development through his intellectual career, and subjecting them to critical scrutiny. I argue for what I call a 'qualitative' reading of Spinoza's conception of eternity, and therefore also that the eternity of the mind described in Ethics V should be understood as a form of 'realised eschatology', in virtue of its implicit subversion of the classic theological distinction between 'this' and the 'next' life. I argue that what qualifies a state of human existence as eternal, and so as 'deathless', for Spinoza, is the autonomous expression of one's true nature, or freedom. Caught between the expression of our true nature and the unpredictable course of 'fortune', we struggle to align ourselves with the former and live 'authentically'. To the extent that we succeed, we 'feel and know ourselves to be eternal', but these transient episodes of eternity are threatened by our own 'superficial' shadow, a kind of self-imposed captivity.
Supervisor: Antognazza, Maria Rosa; Carlisle, Clare Louise Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available