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The model of human nature in Spinoza's philosophy: perfection and improvement

Grant number: 24/02787-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 02, 2024
Effective date (End): September 01, 2025
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Luís César Guimarães Oliva
Grantee:Gabriel Frizzarin Ramalhães de Souza
Supervisor: Binoche Bertrand
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France  
Associated to the scholarship:22/16875-5 - The meaning and role of the model of human nature in Spinoza's philosophy., BP.DR


In the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, the Short Treatise and the Ethics, the notions of perfect and perfection are constantly referred in the context of the model of human nature. On the one hand, they are part of the strategy of conserving certain concepts after Spinoza demonstrated their absence of ontological foundation and their relativity. On the other hand, they do not stand on the same level as other concepts that are also part of this conservation, since perfect and perfection directly qualify the concept of model and allow to outline the discussion on the supreme good, the well-being and blessedness. Furthermore, in the semantic and conceptual fields correlated with the terms perfect and perfection, it can be seen that the term improvement refers to the knowledge and the actions required to progressively achieve the perfection postulated in the model of human nature, fixing a direction for reaching it. From these observations, the following questions arise: what is the meaning of these terms in qualifying the model of human nature? Why can they set the direction for human action? What are the conditions that determine the functioning of these notions, which, on one side, appear to be the point of departure for the human perfection, but which, on the other, are the point of arrival for the action to which they serve as a motive? In analyzing these questions, our aim is to develop a detailed study of the notions of perfect, perfection and improvement in Spinoza's philosophy, and especially of their particularization in the context of the model of human nature. Our goal is to elucidate the meaning, validity, scope and application of these notions in the definition of a model of human nature.

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