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Hegel or Spinoza

2011
Author:

Pierre Macherey
Translated by Susan M. Ruddick

Hegel or Spinoza

The first English-language translation of a classic work of French philosophy

Hegel or Spinoza is the first English-language translation of the modern classic Hegel ou Spinoza. Pierre Macherey provides a surgically precise interrogation of the points of misreading of Spinoza by Hegel and initiates an encounter that produces a new understanding, a common truth that emerges in the interval that separates the two.

Pierre Macherey not only demonstrates how Hegel misread Spinoza, but also offers against the backdrop of the Hegelian dialectic an exciting and original interpretation of Spinoza’s thought. The alternative—Hegel or Spinoza—thus becomes a powerful and significant dividing line for politics and thought. And Macherey forces you to choose which side you are on.

Michael Hardt, coauthor of Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth

Hegel or Spinoza is the first English-language translation of the modern classic Hegel ou Spinoza. Published in French in 1979, it has been widely influential, particularly in the work of the philosophers Alain Badiou, Antonio Negri, and Gilles Deleuze.

Hegel or Spinoza is a surgically precise interrogation of the points of misreading of Spinoza by Hegel. Pierre Macherey explains the necessity of Hegel’s misreading in the kernel of thought that is “indigestible” for Hegel, which makes the Spinozist system move in a way that Hegel cannot grasp. In doing so, Macherey exposes the limited and situated truth of Hegel’s perspective—which reveals more about Hegel himself than about his object of analysis. Against Hegel’s characterization of Spinoza’s work as immobile, Macherey offers a lively alternative that upsets the accepted historical progression of philosophical knowledge. He finds in Spinoza an immanent philosophy that is not subordinated to the guarantee of an a priori truth.

Not simply authorizing a particular reading—a “good” Spinoza against a “bad” Hegel—Hegel or Spinoza initiates an encounter that produces a new understanding, a common truth that emerges in the interval that separates the two.

Hegel or Spinoza

Pierre Macherey is professor emeritus at Université Lille Nord de France.

Susan M. Ruddick is associate professor of geography at the University of Toronto.

Hegel or Spinoza

Pierre Macherey not only demonstrates how Hegel misread Spinoza, but also offers against the backdrop of the Hegelian dialectic an exciting and original interpretation of Spinoza’s thought. The alternative—Hegel or Spinoza—thus becomes a powerful and significant dividing line for politics and thought. And Macherey forces you to choose which side you are on.

Michael Hardt, coauthor of Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth

Hegel or Spinoza is a classic. Both Spinoza and Hegel emerge from Macherey’s work in nearly unrecognizable forms, allowing us to read them in unprecedented ways.

Warren Montag, author of Bodies, Masses, Power: Spinoza and His Contemporaries

The translation of Hegel or Spinoza is... not only the publication of an important text, but a restoration of a bit of intellectual history, and thereby the precondition for new futures. Macherey’s book has the merit of demonstrating how important this project is and how integral the work of Spinoza and Hegel is to it.

New Apps: Art, Politics, Philosophy, Science

Macherey's meticulous undoing of Hegel's reading of Spinoza, in order to expose a deeper connection between the two philosophies, nicely accentuates some of the tensions framing recent discussions within contemporary continental political philosophy, where the perceived merits, and precise political utility, of Hegel and Spinoza's philosophy continue to be debated.

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Hegel or Spinoza

Contents

Translator’s Introduction: A Dialectics of Encounter
Translator’s Note and Acknowledgments

Preface to the Second Edition
The Alternative

1. Hegel Reads Spinoza
2. More Geometrico
3. The Problem of the Attributes
4. Omnis Determinatio est Negatio

Abbreviations
Notes
Index