Doing research for an article about democracy, aesthetics and pedagogy, I searched for stuff on relationalism and Spinoza, and stumbled upon this article… It confirms my idea that 1) it makes sense to go back to Spinoza because his work was done in a transitional period after which a certain world view (cartesian) has become so strong that we can’t imagine an alternative, and 2) that there are currents in early islamic philosophy that might represent an alternative world view, which has been opressed, and which is resurfacing in different forms, now (here and there…)
No-one, it seems, is more contemporary than Spinoza. The flurry of books on Spinoza in the past few years is starting to reach tidal proportions. And Leibniz, another long ago forgotten rationalist, is also making a comeback. The reason why seems to be that Cartesianism, with its mind-body split, is being called into question by everything from artificial intelligence research to the post-human and transvidual forms of subjectivity which are the result of various forms of global capital.
Add to this the fact that Leibniz and Spinoza were there at the birth of capitalism, and can be retooled with minor effort as media-theorists, and you’ve got something quite powerful. In fact, I believe that Leibniz and Spinoza are, in many ways, the guides we need today to help understand our capitalist mediascape.
I read these figures as two sides of the same. Leibniz’s theory of monads seems perfectly designed for…
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