1st Dec. 2016
Catherine Malabou, Spinoza and Symbolic Necessity
In Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza, Gilles Deleuze contrasts philosophy and revelation. Expressionism is the privileged modality of immanence and intelligibility, opposed to ‘knowledge by signs’ that characterizes the domain of revelation and is supposedly meant to foster faith in ignorant people. The ontological dimension of revelation – its necessity – is dismissed by Deleuze’s reading. Emmanuel Lévinas, following an apparently inverted logic, reproaches Spinoza for having subjected revelation to an overly rigid ontological necessity, thus missing its ‘signifying’ value.
Do we find too many or too few signs in Spinoza? By focusing on Spinoza’s method of interpretation, I challenge these approaches, showing how the issue of the symbolic inscribes itself in Spinoza’s project, and offering my own account of the symbolic.