Baruch Spinoza on Freedom - Dictionary of Arguments
Höffe I 233
Freedom/Spinoza/Höffe: [Hobbes shares with Spinoza] the view that the state is not only authorized to decide on genuinely secular matters, but also on matters of religion.
1) On the one hand, [Spinoza] seeks even more consistently a naturalistic theory of the state, free of all normative remnants, which provocatively equates law and power.
2) Liberalism/SpinozaVsHobbes: On the other hand [Spinoza] takes an uncompromisingly liberal turn. [Thus] it says in the Theological and Political Tractatus(1): "The purpose of the state is in truth freedom.”
3) SpinozaVsHobbes: In the name of the freedom of citizens, Spinoza rejects Hobbes' treaty of submission and denies the secular sovereign the jurisdiction over religious matters. Once again he advocates a restriction of public power: In a free state, everyone is free to think what one wants and can say what one thinks. In terms of institutional theory, Spinoza argues for a mutually controlling network of bodies in which as many individuals as possible should be involved.
Höffe I 235
Because (...) theology or faith and philosophy are both clearly different and complement each other without any problems, "the freedom to philosophize", as already the extended book title of the tract (1) explains, can be admitted without impairment of faith.
Höffe I 236
In overcoming theological and political prejudices Spinoza pursues two goals. He wants to fend off the then life-threatening accusation of atheism, but above all he wants to defend "the freedom to philosophize" against the two then most powerful authorities, the religious community and the state. >Prejudices/Spinoza.
Spinoza: (...) "not only can freedom be granted without harm to piety and peace in the State, but it cannot be abolished without at the same time abolishing peace in the State and piety"(3).
Höffe: One could continue: The freedom of philosophy even allows openly professing atheism. However, there is no question that the time was not ripe for this continuation.
Distinction between freedom of action and freedom of philosophy: the sovereign has the right to decide on all actions, because in obedience to reason everyone has "decided once and for all to transfer the right to exercise one’s live according to his own judgement, to the sovereign"(1). To act differently at one’s own discretion is considered nefarious; Spinoza does not provide for a right of resistance. On the other hand, one was not obliged to "judge and think in this way" (ibid.).
1. Spinoza, Tractatus theologico-politicus, Chap. 20
2. Spinoza, Tractatus politicus
3. Tractatus theologico-politicus_____________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 [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Spinoza: Complete Works Indianapolis 2002
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016