• Democracy and the Multitude: Spinoza against Negri

    Author(s):
    Sandra Field (see profile)
    Date:
    2012
    Group(s):
    Philosophy
    Subject(s):
    History of modern philosophy, Political philosophy
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Democracy, Multitude, Negri, Radical Democracy, Spinoza
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M65T0Z
    Abstract:
    Negri celebrates a conception of democracy in which the concrete powers of individual humans are not alienated away, but rather are added together: this is a democracy of the multitude. But how can the multitude act without alienating anyone’s power? To answer this difficulty, Negri explicitly appeals to Spinoza. Nonetheless, in this paper, I argue that Spinoza’s philosophy does not support Negri’s project. I argue that the Spinozist multitude avoids internal hierarchy through the mediation of political institutions and not in spite of them; nor do these institutions merely emanate from the multitude as it is, but rather they structure, restrain and channel its passions. In particular, the required institutions are not those of a simple direct democracy. There may be other non-Spinozist arguments on which Negri can ground his theory, but he cannot legitimately defend his conception of the democratic multitude by appeal to Spinoza.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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