Bruno Latour’s recent analysis of Spinoza’s asymmetric treatment of religion and science was anticipated by fellow ontological pluralist Paul Feyerabend:

“I cannot stand it when so-called thinkers not only presume to know things better than
their fellow human beings – that would be simple conceit, and conceit I don’t fmd at all objectionable – but put them on a lower level of existence. Here philosophers led the way – at least in the West; just read Heraclitus, Parmenides, Xenophanes and, of course, Plato. Spinoza, gentle, modest, lovable Spinoza argues somewhat as follows: god spoke to the prophets in images because they were not sufficiently intelligent to understand His True Message. Philosophers, having concepts, are. They are therefore entitled to remove the incoherent muttering and shouting of the prophets. I find such an attitude …

A: Where does Spinoza say that?

B: In his theological-political treatise. Well, I find such an attitude contemptible”.

From “Concluding Unphilosophical Conversation” in BEYOND REASON, page 496)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. In my PhD thesis (Vroomheid, Vrede, Vrijheid, 1996) I tried to show that it is somewhat more complicated – there are remarks in the TTP that claim the two roads to bliss (religion and philosophy) to be equal with respect to their aim. The attitude has been very present in most ‘authoritative’ commentaries on Spinoza though 😉


    • terenceblake says:

      True. To be fair, Charles Rémond remarks that Spinoza admits that the faithful have a way to beatitude that the philosopher cannot explain by reason, and that is not necessarily inferior. Latour agrees, but then continues with the asymmetries present in Spinoza’s texts.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s