Eve’s Perfection: Spinoza on Sexual (In)Equality

Journal of the History of Philosophy 50 (4):559-580 (2012)
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Abstract

Through an examination of his remarks on Genesis, chapters 2–3, I will demonstrate that Spinoza’s argument for sexual inequality is not only an aberration,but a symmetrical inversion of a view he propounds, albeit implicitly, in his Ethics. In particular, “the black page” of his Political Treatise ignores, along with the intellectual capacities of women, the immeasurable benefits of affectionate partnership between a man and a woman that he extols in his retelling of the Genesis narrative. If the doctrine of the black page maintains that it is the dependency of wives upon their husbands that explains their weakness and justifies their exclusion from formal roles in politics, his unusual narrative of the Fall illustrates that it is precisely Adam's lack of appreciation of his need for his wife that accounts for his imbecility.

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Hasana Sharp
McGill University

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