Yitzhak Y. Melamed bespreekt boek Joseph Almog


Vandaag heeft NDPR het review door Yitzhak Y. Melamed van
Joseph Almog, Everything in Its Right Place: Spinoza and Life by the Light of Nature, Oxford University Press, 2014, 143pp., $45.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199314393. [cf. signalement op eerst dit blog en dan dit blog]

Melamed heeft gemengde indrukken bij het boek: ""The book is marked by the freshness of an independently thinking mind, a mind which appears at some moments to be celebrating a quasi-religious "new-birth." Maar hij proeft ook een "New Age" attitude.

"There are plenty of insightful moments. Almog's explication of Spinoza's view of men as completely imbedded in nature — just as the wave is "part of" the sea — as well as his attempt to spell out an ethical foundation free from the metaphysical fairy-tales of humanism (such as Kant's "homo noumenon") are, to my mind, the most valuable and deep contributions of the book. But since it is clear that Almog does not even attempt to engage considerable parts of Spinoza's metaphysics, I think it would be proper to see the book as a certain kind of contemporary Spinozism. Still, I have to admit that I am far more impressed by Spinoza's Spinozism. Why? Because it is far bolder. Almog domesticates many of Spinoza's most daring and innovative theses, such as the absolute infinity of God/Nature and the nature of eternity and time. Almog is averse to the existence of Platonic atemporal realms (132, n. 9), but a close reading of Spinoza's discussion of eternity would show that it has very little to do with such Platonism. Similarly, Almog's view of Spinoza's Nature as limited to the kind of entities that are accessible to the human mind — bodies and minds (or modes of the attributes of extension and thought, in Spinoza's terminology) — asserts precisely the kind of anthropocentrism that Almog (rightly) takes Spinoza to challenge. "Nature is as rich as anything could ever be," Almog aptly writes (7). But why should we limit the richness of nature to the capacities of our mental glasses (especially if we have strong reasons/arguments to ascribe an absolute infinity of attributes to God/Nature)?"