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Audience and People between Illusion and Virtue. The Passions on Stage from Descartes to Spinoza

digital Audience and People between Illusion and Virtue.
The Passions on Stage from Descartes to Spinoza
Article
journal RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA NEO-SCOLASTICA
issue RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA NEO-SCOLASTICA - 2020 - 2. Ethica e Passions de l’âme Spinoza con e contro Descartes
title Audience and People between Illusion and Virtue. The Passions on Stage from Descartes to Spinoza
author
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 07-2020
doi 10.26350/001050_000200
issn 00356247 (print) | 18277926 (digital)
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My aim is to point out the way in which the theories of passions are the roots from which the rising modern subject develops. This is particularly clear in drama and in politics: both audience and people are stimulated by scenic actions and by government promises or deeds. Conflicting affects relating to outward display or to the heart cause an increase or a lowering of virtue in the subject. I consider Descartes and Spinoza, and the members of the Nil volentibus arduum society – Spinoza’s friends like Lodewijk Meyer and Johannes Bouwmeester. Unlike Descartes, the latter examine the use of the passions at both an artistic and political level. This brings out their homology based on the identity of the processes that engender the passions on the stage and in society. On one side, a passion can be dispelled only by a stronger passion; on the other, this determines a prevalence of appearance over reality. Creating illusions is the secret of both the theatre and of government. The issue for the philosopher is that these illusions should lead to virtue and what the truth of virtue is.

keywords

Spinoza, Descartes, Lodewijk Meyer, Theatre, Politics

Author biography

Università degli Studi di Urbino “Carlo Bo”. Email: roberto.bordoli@uniurb.it

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