By Kerstin Andermann
Author: Andermann, Kerstin (PD Dr. habil., University of Leipzig)
Reference: Die Macht der Affekte. Spinozas Theorie immanenter Individuation. Hamburg: Meiner, 2020, 356 p. ISBN 978-3-7873-3924-2
Spinoza’s ethics offers a metaphysical model of reality explaining the position of human beings in the relational conditions of the surrounding world. We are not, however, only proposing an anthropological theory of human beings, but moreover an ontological theory of immanent individuation. Spinoza subjects his basic ontological concepts to an immanent operation and demonstrates a continuity of affections through which every individual is constituted. Affections are to be understood as heteronomous effects of power that determine the activity and passivity of every human individual. Understanding these immanent causal conditions enables them to be their own reason and cause the affections they experience. From this, it becomes clear that Spinoza’s ethics is not about a deterministic definition of human beings, but rather about cognition and knowledge as a basis of individual freedom, which I present in my book as an ability to deal with affections and affects.