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Secular PowersHumility in Modern Political Thought$
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Julie E. Cooper

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226081298

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226081328.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 June 2021

Humility

Humility

Spinoza on the Joys of Finitude

Chapter:
(p.70) Chapter 3 Humility
Source:
Secular Powers
Author(s):

Julie E. Cooper

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226081328.003.0004

This chapter examines Spinoza’s declaration that “humility is not a virtue.” Contrary to the claims of the seventeenth-century anti-Spinoza polemic, this declaration does not rehabilitate pride. Indeed, Spinoza is a fierce critic of pride, as demonstrated by his analysis of the affect opposed to humility, acquiescentia in se ipso. As a critic of humility, Spinoza recasts finitude’s emotional valence, making finitude a source of strength, rather than an occasion for self-reproach. As Spinoza demonstrates, reservations about humility need not express delusions of omnipotence. Spinoza is not persuasively cast as a modernist revolutionary, or as a partisan of robust self-esteem.

Keywords:   Baruch Spinoza, Humility, Anti-Spinoza polemic, Affect, virtue, Acquiescentia in se ipso, Finitude, Self-esteem

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