The factor Spinoza. Interview to Vicente Hernández Pedrero

By Javier Prieto

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Spinoza makes this clear: the reason he did not ask for anything against the nature

Hernández Pedrero

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The professor attached to the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Education and the Language of the University of la Laguna, Vicente Hernández Pedrero, has recently published with the editorial services of such an academic center in a work entitled The ethics of immanence, the factor Spinoza. This volume aims to illuminate the presence of the thought of the philosopher, rationalist in the middle of the plot philosophical of the current period. Hernandez has shared with this media on the importance in the current philosophy of the ideas spinozistas, on the religion and ethics of the human being illustrated.

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Sitúenos in a historical context to understand in depth the work of Espinoza.

In the SEVENTEENTH century there was not even the idea of democracy. Had to reinvent from a remote notion of athenian democracy and republicanism roman. But that was a matter of philosophical that you were not aware of the popular classes. When Spinoza published in 1670 the Treaty’s theological-political aim to instruct, illustrate about democratic tolerance against intolerance and religious dogmatism.

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And to locate even more, how were the relationships between the individuals with a certain degree of knowledge?

There is an interesting anecdote associated in addition with the Canary islands, after their expulsion from the Synagogue of Amsterdam in 1656, Spinoza was going for a few years, at least until 1661, to the gatherings in the underground of a group of exiled spaniards -Spinoza spoke and wrote fluently in Spanish-. These gatherings were held at the home of “a gentleman canario” named Joseph of War. So it was documented following a series of allegations in the files of the Spanish Inquisition. Let us remember that at that time was exported wine from the Canary islands to the Netherlands. For all we know, this noble landowner’s family of the War of The Pond kept the connection secret with the Spanish exile in Amsterdam and ended up fixing his residence in that city. This is without a doubt one of those precursors of the Enlightenment in the islands that would have to rescue, host of Spinoza and direct witness of the same origin to the enlightened reason european.

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El factor Spinoza. Entrevista a Vicente Hernández Pedrero

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His book on Spinoza entitled The ethics of immanence, Could you give us some clues as to this title?

The ethics of immanence is the source of all moral conduct within our own material reality. What is good morally not transcend our natural condition and at the same time social. (We are a social species by nature). There is therefore no basis in spiritual or metaphysical behind the human reason. “The reason does not ask for anything against the nature”, left said Spinoza.

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In that, say, Europe, of sovereign states, is accounted for Spinoza the new thinking that was aimed at breaking the hegemony of thought absolute?

The publication in 1670 of the Treaty’s theological-political was part of a project of greater depth. Ten years earlier he had begun the writing of the Ethics, which continues until 1675, and still, at the time of his death, in 1677, leaving unfinished the political arrangement where he intended to culminate his reflection on the democratic state. Spinoza is the first author of modern democracy, ahead of a century, Kant, Rousseau, Voltaire… despite the fact that their model of democracy is much richer and more complex by come linked to the project of self-realization ethics, as I wanted to show in my book.

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What was because their idea of State and the form of government that is “ideal”?

Democracy in Spinoza is non-liberal in the sense of a covenant or contract of defense of the various individual interests, from the right to private property. That is a bourgeois concept of democracy, which involved all the picture, from Hobbes, a contemporary of Spinoza and that this is distance in the Treaty’s theological-political, up to Kant or Montesquieu, except perhaps to Rousseau and his notion of “general will”. Democracy spinozista, however, is not the product of a contract among individuals who want to save their private interests, but an agreement between parties that seek to add wills, “increase your power” in a collective manner.

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What was Spinoza the precursor of the new way of thinking, the liberal and republican than later adapt to other authors?

It is therefore a participatory and direct democracy, a dynamic concept of democracy. The subject of ethics seeks the political agreement with the others to improve their own subjective reality. In Spinoza, the political agreement is a democratic product of a second kind of knowledge, of reason, which leaves behind a first gender, the imaginary, theological or dogmatic, but that still must have a third party towards which it is moving: that of the self-realization ethics of the self in the world.It is not casual, on the other hand, that the spinozismo serve as an inspiration to Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, authors of works such as Empire or Multitude, in search of alternatives to the current capitalist order.

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What innovations did Spinoza, that freedom democratic contextualized in a stage marked by a political power totalitarian?

In contemporary terms, democracy spinozista would be something like the ideal of participatory democracy, not subject to the interests of the capitalist markets and that allows for moral progress and cultural development of the citizens, not only safeguard your well-being individualized.

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From the influence of the kind of cartesian rationalism and from his philosophical system pantheistic, how ordering Spinoza the linkage of political power religious?

Spinoza is not a pantheist. Pantheism implies a dimension of general spirituality in the world and, especially, of depotenciación of the subjectivity that house very badly with the spinozismo. What makes Spinoza with his philosophy of nature is to “deconstruct” the idea of God as being transitive and creator of the universe, but he does it to rescue the power of subjectivity, the power of the self by overcoming the false idea of life after death and reunion with the god transitive.

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El factor Spinoza. Entrevista a Vicente Hernández Pedrero

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In this relationship between politics and religion, Spinoza applied his method in a rationalist and critic of the biblical texts. Concerned in the look laws which they administer morality and religion, how their distrust was not so much by their own religion but of those who handled them? how do you “comulgaba” their secularism with a State subjected to the dogmas?

As I show in my book, looking for Spinoza, with its three genres of knowledge that run through all the ethical is the greater power of the subject in his step material for this world, without false expectations of another world, metaphysical or supernatural. To Spinoza, however, he disliked the name of atheist by their connotation of conduct is irreverent or obfuscation iconoclast. Spinoza was a proponent of a serenity of intellectual that is compatible with respect and tolerance to all kinds of beliefs, although, of course, he defended an ethic of materialism.

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The most important work of Spinoza was “Ethics”, where it applies the mathematical method to explain the human nature could be this an empirical approach and positive philosophy?

The Ethics of Spinoza is inseparable from the modern science and the new view is not anthropocentric in the universe. Despite being designed in the SEVENTEENTH century is much more radical in this sense that all the philosophical thought later. That is why it is now being claimed by neuroscience (for example, the book by Antonio Damasio: looking for Spinoza) as before it was by Einstein or Freud, in their different coordinates of thought. The reason is to be sought in the condition of “anomalous” of Spinoza as a thinker free of all kinds of conditioners are religious to move existentially in that territory that Yirmiyahu Yovel has called the “marranismo of reason”, that is to say, the particular way of thinking of those hispanics that they disbelieve both of the christian religion as jewish. From the astronomical observation of a single infinite universe and in motion, Spinoza draws the conclusion, in front of Descartes, of a single substance with infinite attributes, the substance of which human beings are part by means of the attributes of extension and thought, that is to say, the body and the mind. This last, the mind, which Spinoza called in Latin, mens, not to be confused with the soul, anima, a concept which is itself of Descartes, and is connected with the body on an equal footing, there is no prevalence of one element over another because they both involved the unique substance, of the general subject matter of the universe, body and mind, mind and body to maintain between them a relationship by means of affections, or emotions of the body and of ideas in the mind. There is No affection, no idea, no idea without affection.

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The reason and the moral in contemporary ethics, a necessary reflection about human nature and its relationship with the current scenarios globalizing, how it should be conceived of ethics today?

Today it is claimed the role of emotions in human intelligence and the rational behavior of individuals. It is the end of the dualism of the theoretical and the beginning of a new stage of thought. Well, the Ethics of Spinoza is at the origin of this rotation of the current philosophy.

I spoke earlier of the third kind of knowledge. Contained in the party’s fifth and final of the Ethics. With him culminates philosophically to Spinoza a life attitude, which led in 1656 to be expelled from the jewish Synagogue of Amsterdam: the claim that there is no eternal life after death, and that therefore we need to maximize the content of our material life on earth. To do this the value of another human being is crucial. The ethics of Spinoza affirms the relationship I-the other, the internal links of the human species, to move towards “a higher power”, which we could translate in higher equilibrium psychosomatic of each human being as a member of the species.

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What do you think is the function of religion within human culture?Do they satisfy needs that can’t satisfy none of the other socio-cultural factors?

In front of the domain of religion, which tends to divide and confront the species – in fact it has been doing throughout the history of mankind – the third kind of knowledge involves the overcoming of the religion, as wrong thinking and imagination of a first gender, and the self-recognition of the species as such.

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The human being is determined not to face up to the nothing after death, we are organic beings and social; we are born, we are socializing and we die. The religion we “accompanied” on the road and assures us of eternity. is it impossible not to believe? what is the attitude of the self to eternity and death?

The problem is our weakness metaphysics in the face of death, which gives way to all sorts of beliefs, religious or mystical salvation out of this world. That is why the Ethics of Spinoza remains a challenge for the humanist thought and, at the same time, a goal increasingly based on scientific knowledge and natural of our time.

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Interview conducted by:
Thomas Javier Prieto Gonzalez
www.creativacanaria.com
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, march 24th, 2012

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