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Becoming PoliticalSpinoza's Vital Republicanism and the Democratic Power of Judgment$
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Christopher Skeaff

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226555478

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226555508.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 02 June 2020

Judging Democracy

Judging Democracy

(p.1) Introduction Judging Democracy
Becoming Political

Christopher Skeaff

University of Chicago Press

This chapter previews the book’s main theme: Spinoza’s conception of judgment and its democratic implications. Current news media and scholarship take a dim view of popular judgment, presuming it to be a threat or at best an auxiliary to good government. In Spinoza’s thought, the chapter suggests, one finds a more radically democratic vision of judgment as the defining activity of a people’s power and vehicle of their self-organization. The chapter introduces “vital republicanism” as the organizing idea for the interpretation offered in the book. Given that Spinoza has no express theory or ready-made account of the democratic power of judgment, the book uses the paradigm of vital republicanism to analyze the conditions and components of that power and synthesize them into a whole.

Keywords:   democracy, judgment, power, republicanism, Spinoza

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