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Power, conflict and freedom: Spinoza and the ways of Modern and Contemporary Political Philosophy about democracy

Grant number: 18/19880-4
Support type:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: August 01, 2019 - July 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Marilena de Souza Chauí
Grantee:Marilena de Souza Chauí
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Co-Principal Investigators:Alberto Ribeiro Gonçalves de Barros ; Luís César Guimarães Oliva ; Maria das Graças de Souza
Assoc. researchers: Andre Scoralick ; Celi Hirata ; Douglas Ferreira Barros ; Fernando Dias Andrade ; Homero Silveira Santiago ; Patricia Fontoura Aranovich ; Silvana de Souza Ramos ; Tessa Moura Lacerda


Three moments are decisive in the constitution of Political Philosophy: the one that Moses Finley called "the invention of politics" to refer to the birth of Greek democracy and Roman republic; the one defined by Machiavelli through the original division of society between the desire of the Great to oppress and command and that of the People to be neither oppressed nor commanded; and that one which, with Spinoza, introduced the modern idea of democracy as an immanent power in the multitudo or collective power of creation and expression of rights. These three moments open the field of the history of the invention of the republic and democracy as an exercise of freedom and invention of rights, politics being effected as a passage from the logic of force to the logic of power, that is, from war to legitimacy of conflict under laws. Of these three founding moments, we will take as axis the modern conception of Spinozistic origin. By means of this it will be examined, on the one hand, the political significance of the emergence of modern ideas of individual and natural/civil right, and, on the other hand, the continuities and ruptures in political thought brought by Contemporary Philosophy - that is, the development of ideas of class struggle, of state, of power and of violence. We believe that it is possible to find there a tradition within which Spinoza's political thought gains a new light, a tradition designed by contemporary authors who, like Spinoza, in so far as we’re concerned to mark the legitimate instance of the conflict, searched support in Ancients and Machiavelli in order to understand the political participation of the citizens under the aegis of the struggle for guarantee and conquest of new rights, having as reference the defense of freedom of dissent. (AU)

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