Transindividuality: The affective continuity of the social in Spinoza

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Spinoza’s metaphysical system precedes the division of philosophical thought into empirical and transcendental premises. In this respect, it is not surprising to see that he has become an important reference in overcoming dualistic aporias and proclaiming a new materialism that promises to place the human individual into the constitutive relations of the material world.

For Spinoza, the question of man is associated with the metaphysical explanation of immanent self-causation of the one and only substance the world is. From this presupposition, he deduces an immanent causality by which things are connected in causal relations and through causal effects. The continuity of immanent effects gives rise to differential structures and transitions of activity and passivity, that is, potentiality and depotentiality, through which every individual is connected with its environment.
The principle of affection is already crucial on an ontological level where Spinoza identifies the infinite modes as affections of the substance. In an affective continuity the power of the material world becomes visible, which means that the affective and transindividual constitution among individuals can be made comprehensible and the material premises of the social world can be identified. The emancipatory and critical horizon of such an approach is to describe the social world in terms of relations and transitions between individuals who strive to realize their potential. In order to give such an explanation, I connect Spinoza’s metaphysical premises with its interpretations by Deleuze and Balibar.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical theory and New Materialism
EditorsHartmut Rosa, Christoph Henning, Arthur Bueno
Number of pages11
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-25704-0, 978-1-03-202051-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-28926-2, 978-1-00-040012-0, 978-1-00-040013-7
Publication statusPublished - 2021