Article

King Philip II of Spain as a symbol of ‘Tyranny’ in Spinoza’s Political Writings

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Abstract

The highly abstract style of Spinoza’s philosophy has encouraged some interpretations of him as a thinker with little immediate connection with the whirl of social and cultural affairs around him. This article shows that all three major Western revolts - those of the Netherlands, Portugal and Aragon - against Philip II (his principal symbol and embodiment of tyranny, arbitrary and illicit governance, intolerance and repression of basic liberties) became in some sense internationally entwined and were intensely present in his life, which helps to understand that Spinoza was indeed a revolutionary.

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