Eerder verschenen: Spinoza on the Body Politic

In het tijdschrift Early Science and Medicine (jaargang 25, nummer 1, blzn.46-71) verscheen mijn artikel ‘From the King’s Two Bodies to the People’s Two Bodies: Spinoza on the Body Politic‘, als bijdrage aan een special issue onder redactie van Vasileios Syros: ‘The Body Politic from Medieval Lombardy to the Dutch Republic’.


In this article, using Spinoza’s treatment of the image of the political body, I aim to show what happens to the concept of a healthy commonwealth linked to a monarchist model of political order when transformed into a new context: the emergence of a democratic political order. The traditional representation of the body politic becomes problematic when people, understood as individual natural bodies, are taken as the starting point in political theory. Spinoza’s understanding of the composite body, and the assumption that each body is composed, raises the question of the stability or instability of this composition. This has implications for the way one looks at the political order’s conditions of possibility, I argue, and at the same time reveals the imaginary nature of the political body.