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Constitution: a constitution is the supreme law of a state. It sets out the fundamental principles by which the state is governed, such as the powers of the government, the rights of the citizens, and the relationship between the government and the citizens.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Baruch Spinoza on Constitution - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 235
Constitution/Spinoza/Höffe: Spinoza(1) starts with the foundations of law and state, shows that it is neither possible nor necessary to transfer everything to the highest authorities, and draws some political doctrines from the state constitution and history of the Hebrews. He declares that the law in spiritual matters, including the decision on external religious worship, is the exclusive prerogative of the highest authorities, and ends with the argumentation goal of the entire treatise: that in a free state not everyone is allowed to act as one wants, but that one is allowed to think what one wants and say what one thinks. >Natural Justice/Spinoza
, >State/Spinoza, >Freedom/Spinoza.
Chapter 16(1), which is fundamental for the philosophy of law and state, breaks with the traditional Aristotelian Stoic-Thomist theory of natural law, which extends into the Spanish late scholasticism.
>Natural justice, >Aristotle, >Stoa, >Thomas Aquinas.
Natural Law/SpinozaVsThomas Aquinas/SpinozaVsAristotle: Spinoza retains the traditional expression of natural law, but gives it a fundamentally new, exclusively naturalistic meaning. According to its principle of self-preservation, natural law does not contain any moral or otherwise normative claim.
>Validity claims.
SpinozaVsMachiavelli: On the contrary, every human being, not just the prince as in Machiavelli's case, may do what morality tends to forbid, he may act with force or cunning.
>N. Machiavelli.
Defined without any sense of duty, pre-state law consists in nothing other than its own natural power (potentia). With this, a subjective right - the legitimate claim of a person - coincides with one’s ability to enforce one’s right.
>Law, >Rights, >Freedom, >Society.
SpinozaVsRationalism: Spinoza, a rationalist who is methodologically uncompromising in ethics, surprisingly rejects any recourse to ratio here. Thus,
Höffe I 236
within his metaphysics he gives priority to content-related naturalism over methodical rationalism.
The state treaty necessary for overcoming the state of nature is only valid under considerations of usefulness.
>Contract Theory/Spinoza.

1. B. Spinoza, Tractatus theologico-politicus
2. Ibid., Chap. 16

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Spinoza I
B. Spinoza
Spinoza: Complete Works Indianapolis 2002

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016

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