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Renaturalizing Ideology: Spinoza’s Ecosystem of Ideas

Renaturalizing Ideology: Spinoza’s Ecosystem of Ideas

(p.55) 2 Renaturalizing Ideology: Spinoza’s Ecosystem of Ideas
Spinoza and the Politics of Renaturalization
Hasana Sharp
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents the argument that in Spinoza can be found an alternative “renaturalization” of ideology whereby social critics and political activists can grasp how ideas grow, survive, and thrive, or shrink and die, like any other natural being. Rather than uncovering the synthetic basis of ostensibly natural facts, the politics of renaturalization seeks to identify the “ecological” factors that contribute to the vitality of oppressive ideas. “Renaturalization” is not a direct antonym to the critical tradition of denaturalization. It does, however, resist the notion that beneath any idea of nature, we will find only human agency. It is important here to uncover the nature of truth claims as “truth effects,” but it should not be thought that humans are the sole authors of such effects.

Keywords:   ideology, renaturalization, oppressive ideas, denaturalization, human agency, truth effects

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