Tag Archives: Spinoza

so this is my first post as one of SZ’s contributors–now that i’m done with my MA program and thesis, i hope to be able to do many more of these!  the link below shows the PDF version of my MA submitted last friday, “alien alliances: becoming-subject in spinoza’s ethics”

metaphysical inhumanism and alien constitution (or: chapter 1)

the first chapter deals with my development of an implicit metaphysical inhumanism in spinoza’s ethics and what that means for the individuation or constitution of individuals-aliens-modes-systems

immunological ethics (or: ch 2)

the second deals with the immunological ethics responding to this general inhumanism, specifically from the “human” perspective

immunology of the commons and prometheanism (or: ch 3)

the third deals with how this immunology spreads to the commons to extend the range of processual freedom for humans, and how this translates into a promethean political project (also: iconoclasm + immunography)

i’d love to hear comments, critiques, challenges, and all other sorts of things–i finished this one rather last minute, and am sure many spinozists, naturalists, marxists, accelerationists/xenofeminists/neo-rationalists, etc. could help me strengthen it…esp for the last part, and how this could lend itself towards conceptualizing agency in posthuman times, or anything dealing with its concrete application, as “post-nihil praxis”… or anything else, really.


-felix navarrete, kingston uni crmep



This thesis concerns the problem of a human agency facing the dissolution of “the human” resulting from the sciences and hegemonic neoliberalism, as well as the perils of ecological crisis for the human species. Following Spinoza’s insistence that the human results from a process of development, we find the human has always been alien to us at the same time that we have always been subject to its composition. Spinoza exploits this production to shift the problem of what the human is away from any pre-given foundation or pre-determined goal, and towards how its open identity can better enhance ethico-political projects of freedom. To effectuate this transition, this thesis begins exploring the implicit inhumanism of Spinoza’s Ethics revealing the unexceptional, precarious status of the human within reality. Humans lack unconditioned freedom or transcendence, and submit to the necessity of God’s activity that produces all that is without purpose or will. This activity constitutes humans as inhuman aliens through myriad causal relations with each other that actuate their continual transformations. We explore how humans ethically respond to these situations without any intrinsic identity or pre-determined ends to guide them. The characteristics of immune systems reveal an immunological ethics, consistent with inhumanism, which reformulates freedom for third person reflexive pronouns. Certain encounters with other natures prove to beget greater agency for the human, enabling it to realize its true advantage as the adequate cause of itself. Active humans seek to empower others and to join for greater true advantage, forming collectives that rationally act for maximal collective human freedom. Prometheans’ collective agency more capably faces contemporary challenges.

by Susan James

Published on 8 Nov 2014

During the twentieth century, Spinoza was allotted a minor role in Anglophone histories of philosophy. Dwarfed by Descartes, Hobbes, Locke and Leibniz, he was widely regarded as an eccentric loner. Recently, however, he has come to be seen as a philosopher of broad contemporary relevance. He has been read as a religious pluralist, a radical democrat, an early defender of dual aspect monism, a metaphysical holist whose ideas anticipate the concerns of contemporary ecologists, and as nothing less than the founder of the Enlightenment. In this lecture I shall ask what this interpretative turnaround tells us about the way we do the history of philosophy. What are we looking for when we study philosophy’s past? And why should we read Spinoza?