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Hilarity and the Goods of Mind and Body

Hilarity and the Goods of Mind and Body

(p.163) Chapter 6 Hilarity and the Goods of Mind and Body
Spinoza and the Cunning of Imagination
Eugene Garver
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 6 explores another anomaly in Spinoza’s argument, the existence of pleasures that are passive but which increase the power of the whole body. These cheerful or, to use the Latin word for shock value, hilarious pleasures are neither a parody of the intellectual love of God, like romantic love, nor an imitation and tracking of adequate ideas, like the model of human nature in the preface to Part 4. They are hard to account for because according to Spinoza, all emotions are rooted in the conatus, the desire for self-maintenance, and these pleasures look disinterested. They don’t lead to wisdom, but on the contrary are only enjoyed by the wise person.

Keywords:   pleasure, body, adequate ideas, human nature, conatus, wisdom

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