Spinoza «protobiologo»? Conatus e teoria dell’organismo


The purpose of this article is, in the first place, to make use of the works of Hans Jonas and Antonio Damasio in order to demonstrate how Spinoza developed a “theory of the organism” that distanced itself from the mechanistic Cartesian model, and that continues to offer a theoretical framework for current reflections on life. Despite differences in general structure and objectives, Jonas and Damasio converge on a critical point: in their interpretation of Spinozian philosophy, based essentially on sections II and III of his Ethics, they extract, more or less consciously, the “theory of the organism” from his general system. Above all, they sever its connections with his reconceptualisation of the problem of intuitive knowledge. In light of this, it is intended, in the second place, to illustrate how the “theory of the organism” is located within the wider metaphysics of Spinoza and to highlight the difficulties that arise for those wishing to consider it in isolation.