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La gratitudine in Descartes e in Spinoza

digital La gratitudine in Descartes e in Spinoza
issue RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA NEO-SCOLASTICA - 2020 - 2. Ethica e Passions de l’âme Spinoza con e contro Descartes
title La gratitudine in Descartes e in Spinoza
Gratitude in Descartes and Spinoza
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 07-2020
doi 10.26350/001050_000199
issn 00356247 (print) | 18277926 (digital)
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Descartes and Spinoza define gratitude in similar ways but they differ on its appreciation. For Descartes, gratitude is always a virtue. For Spinoza, in Short Treatise, this feeling cannot be proved by a perfect man. The paper analyses first the reasons why, in Short Treatise, Spinoza posits such a paradoxical thesis. Then it examines the suprising change about the valuation of Gratitude in the Ethics and the distinction between its active and passive aspect. Spinoza distinguishes the true thankfulness belonging to the free men guided by raison from the tricky gratitude of the ignorants that is nothing but a business transaction or an entrapment. Therefore it is necessary to define a good use of gratitude and a way of living among ignorants to avoid corrupted links and poisoned gifts.


Descartes, Spinoza, Thankfulness, Business Transaction (mercatura), Entrapment (aucupium)

Author biography

Université Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne. Email: