Where is Spinoza’s Free Multitude Now?

  • Aurelio Sainz Pezonaga
Keywords: Spinoza, free multitude, social movements, heterogeneity, common desire for understanding


Is Spinoza’s notion of a free multitude of any use today? In discussion with the theories of Étienne Balibar on citizenship and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri on the multitude, I propose the notion of a free multitude to think about current social movements’ potential from a non-teleological and non-essentialist perspective. Balibar and Hardt and Negri support the idea that heterogeneity can itself produce collective action, showing Spinoza’s influence on thinkers who are also scholars of his philosophy. The philosophical problem is then to think about how heterogeneity could be active or rational, since without rationality a free multitude cannot exist. My response to this problem works on the complex nature of the common desire for understanding, which is both positive impulse and realistic determination. Social movements can be free multitudes, common desires for understanding, singular things, and, therefore, impure events determined by cooperation and conflict. Insofar as social movements rationally desire cooperation prevail over conflict, they will work with other free multitudes for the freedom of the entire multitude, attending to the material conditions of life in common and the real processes of social transformation.

Author Biography

Aurelio Sainz Pezonaga

Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
University of Castilla-La Mancha,
Department of Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, and Aesthetics; Faculty of Education Sciences and Humanities,
Avenida de los Alfares, 44, 16071, Cuenca, Spain
E-mail: Aurelio.Sainz@uclm.es


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How to Cite
Pezonaga, A. S. (2022). Where is Spinoza’s Free Multitude Now?. Stasis, 12(2). Retrieved from https://stasisjournal.net/index.php/journal/article/view/204