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Philosophy and Its HistoryAims and Methods in the Study of Early Modern Philosophy$
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Mogens Laerke, Justin E. H. Smith, and Eric Schliesser

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199857142

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199857142.001.0001

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Philosophizing Historically/Historicizing Philosophy: Some Spinozistic Reflections

Philosophizing Historically/Historicizing Philosophy: Some Spinozistic Reflections

(p.134) 7 Philosophizing Historically/Historicizing Philosophy: Some Spinozistic Reflections
Philosophy and Its History

Julie R. Klein

Oxford University Press

This essay considers the philosophical and historical range of Spinoza interpretation and appropriation and looks in Spinoza’s own writings for a cogent formulation of the task of reading the history of philosophy. It discusses philosophical reading as an amalgam of (1) intellectual acumen, (2) technical skill, and (3) the desire to know (as distinct from its opposite, the desire to persevere in prejudices). It focuses on the challenges of working with historical texts and contexts, the interrelation of reason and affect in intellectual life, and the complex interaction between readers and texts. It rejects historicism and argues that careful attention to Spinoza’s own principles underscores the need for an ongoing critique of our own practices of reading and interpretation.

Keywords:   Spinoza, interpretation, appropriation, historicism, philosophical reading

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