Love and essence in spinoza's ethics



Amor, Essências, Spinoza, Afetividade


Several questions regarding Spinoza's concept of essence have been the topic of recent scholarly debate. In this paper, I show that the connection between love, desire and essence is ubiquitous in the Ethics, as well as metaphysically and psychologically coherent; moreover, it provides the key to answer unresolved questions. Analyzing the notion of essence through Spinoza's theory of love shows that essence can be expressed in different ways, and be reflected through different objects of love. These objects of love, in turn, signify the extent to which the affected mind understands itself, God and things in the world. Each object is a different expression of the same single, unique essence of the individual, and therefore of the desire which defines them. This interpretation allows to solve some puzzles about essence, and also to establish the importance of love in Spinoza's philosophy as a whole-especially his epistemology and ethics.


Não há dados estatísticos.

Biografia do Autor

Noa Lahav Ayalon, Universidade de Haifa

Membro do Departamento de Filosofia da Universidade de Haifa, Israel.


BENNETT, J. A Study of Spinoza's Ethics. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1984.

BICKNELL, J. "An Overlooked Aspect of Love in Spinoza's Ethics", Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly 47, 41-55, 1998.

CURLEY, E. Behind the Geometrical Method. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988.

CURLEY, E. The Complete Works of Spinoza. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

DELEUZE, G. Spinoza: Pracitcal Philosophy, translated by Robert Hurley, San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1988.

DELLA ROCCA, M. Spinoza. New York: Routledge, 2008.

DELLA ROCCA, M. “Spinoza’s Metaphysical Psychology,” in The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza, Don Garrett (Ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996(a).

DELLA ROCCA, M. Representation and the Mind-Body Problem in Spinoza, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996(b).

GARBER, D. "Dr. Fischelson's Dilemma: Spinoza on Freedom and Sociability", in Spinoza on Reason and the “Free Man,” ed. Yirmiyahu Yovel and Gideon Segal, New York: Little Room Press, 1994.

GARRETT, D. "Spinoza's Theory of Scientia Intuitiva", in Necessity and Nature in Spinoza's Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2018.

GARRETT, D. (2009). "Spinoza on the Essence of the Human Body and the Part of the Mind That is Eternal", in A Cambridge Companion to Spinoza’s Ethics, ed. by Olli Koistinen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

HÜBNER, K. "Spinoza on Essences, Universals, and Beings of Reason". Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 97(1), 58-88, 2015.

JAMES, S. “Spinoza the Stoic,” in The Rise of Modern Philosophy, Tom Sorell (Ed.), Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.

JARRETT, C. “Spinoza’s Distinction between Essence and Existence”, Iyyun 50, 2001.

KISNER, M. "Reconsidering Spinoza's Free Man: The Model of Human Nature", Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy (5), 2010.

KRAUT, R. Aristotle on the Human Good, Princeton: Princeton University Press , 1991.

LÆRKE, M. "Aspects of Spinoza’s Theory of Essence: Formal essence, non-existence, and two types of actuality". In The Actual and the Possible : Modality and Metaphysics in Modern Philosophy , ed. by Mark Sinclair. Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2017.

LEBUFFE, M. “The Anatomy of the Passions,” in The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza’s, Ethics, Olli Koistinen (Ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2009.

LUCASH, F. "Spinoza on Friendship", Philosophia 40 (2), 2012.

MARSHALL, C. “Spinoza on Destroying Passions with Reason.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1), 139-60, 2012.

MARSHALL, E. The Spiritual Automaton: Spinoza's Science of the Mind. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2013.

MARTIN, C.P. The Framework of Essences in Spinoza’s Ethics. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 16 (3), 489-509, 2008.

NADLER, S. "On Spinoza's 'Free Man'", Journal of the American Philosophical Association, vol 1 (1), 2015.

RORTY, A. O. "Spinoza on the Pathos of Idolatrous Love and the Hilarity of True Love" in Feminist Interpretations of Benedict Spinoza, edited by Moira Gatens, 65-85. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009.

SHARP, H. "Love and Possession: Towards a Political Economy of Ethics 5", NASS Monograph 14 (2009): 1-19.

SOYARSLAN, S. “The Distinction between Reason and Intuitive Knowledge in Spinoza’s Ethics.” European Journal of Philosophy 24 (1), 27-54, 2016.

VILJANEN, V. "Spinoza’s Essentialist Model of Causation". Inquiry, 51(4), 412-437, 2008.

YAKIRA, E. Spinoza: The Case for Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2015.

YOUPA, A. The Ethics of Joy: Spinoza on the Empowered Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2020.

YOUPA, A. "Spinoza’s Model of Human Nature", Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 48 (1), 2010.




Como Citar

Ayalon, N. L. . (2021). Love and essence in spinoza’s ethics. Manuscrito: Revista Internacional De Filosofia, 44(3), 1–41. Recuperado de