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BOOK REVIEWS a37 the author this method of interpretation is justified by Spinoza's intention that the Ethics be sufficient to itself, and by her view that "the Ethic does, indeed, generate the intelligibilityof its own terms. ''3 The result of this approach, however, is a book which is quite difficult to read, particularly in those chapters which are intended to expound the general metaphysical framework within which Spinoza's theory of human nature is set. The chapters which address the theory of human nature itself, and others which the author sees as closely related, are better (especially Chapters ~o and 11), probably because in them the author has assumed at least a semicritical stance, posing questions from outside the text for which the text must provide answers. For Lermond, the primary question regarding the human essence is whether or not it is real (an ens reale). Since the term 'essence' in Spinoza can refer either to an abstract shared property (an ens rationis) or to "the singular meaning of a unique thing" (an ens reale), Lermond sees three possible alternatives for the reality status of the human essence in Spinoza: (l) the essence of individual human beings is real, but the human essence (as common or universal) is an ens rationis; (~) the human essence is real, "a true eternal individual," and individual human beings are "privative expressions" of that essence; (3) both the essences of individuals and the (eternal) human essence are real (59). Lermond argues for the third alternative, on direct textual and exegetical grounds. There is a lack of darity in this account. Lermond seems to have reasoned that since for Spinoza only individuals are real, if the human essence is real it must be an individual. Yet, her characterization of the (real) human essence as "a specific range of community [ability to interact], a unity that is a configuration of common properties" (66), does not sound like that of an individual. Are essences supposed to be identical with the actual individuals of which they are the essences? What is the relation between the eternal individual which is the human essence and humankind? Is humankind an individual? These questions are not answered, although Lermond has addressed certain aspects of the relation between individual human essences and the human essence. Individuals become more themselves (more differentiated individuals) and more human through their ability to grasp their community with the whole (67). Despite any problems with her interpretation, it seems to me that Lermond has made a good case for taking the essence which all humans share as real. DIANE STEINBERG Cleveland State University Howard R. Cell and James I. MacAdam. Rousseau's Response to Hobbes. American University Studies, Series 5, Vol. 37. New York: Peter Lang, i988. Pp. xii + 27I. $38.oo. This book is divided into four parts: Part l, "Origins of the Relationship to Hobbes," compares Rousseau and Hobbes on substantive issues such as sovereignty; Part 2, "Development of the Response to Hobbes," traces the development of Rousseau's 3 These remarks occur in the preface to Lermond's book. 138 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 29:1 JANUARY 1991 works prior to The Social Contract; Part 3, "Structural Concepts," accounts for their disagreements in terms of the two thinkers' views of human nature; Part 4, "For Further Cogitation," discusses the logical structure of Hobbes's and Rousseau's moral theory and the relation between religion and morality. The authors see a unity and a development here that I do not. It is not clear why a topic discussed in one section could not be discussed in at least one other. Why, for example, isn't sovereignty a structural concept? Each essay seems to cluster around a topic rather than advance an argument of the entire book. A partial explanation for the seeming lack of unity and pace is the fact that some of the chapters were previously published as articles. This is only a partial explanation because sometimes the argument is becalmed in sections not previously published. In the latter case, progress is inhibited because a discussion of secondary literature dominates the section and dictates its structure. For example, the section "The Social Contract...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 137-139
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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