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Spinoza’s project is a philosophy of freedom: personal freedom, as the life of reason that he describes in the Ethics is supposed to liberate us from bondage to our irrational passions and the superstitions that they nourish; and political freedom, in so far as the Theological-Political Treatise offers an extended case for a secular and tolerant polity where religious authorities are kept from interfering in civic affairs, and for the freedom of thought and expression. As Spinoza says, in a truly free society “everyone may think what he likes and say what he thinks”. It is a lesson no less relevant now than it was in the seventeenth century.

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