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Spinoza and the General Will

The general will has traditionally been associated with the early modern Platonists, such as Malebranche and Leibniz. Yet careful examination of Benedict Spinoza’s works reveals a prototype of the general will predating the constructions of his famous successors. This is significant not only in reordering the narrative of the general will’s history, but also in revealing an entirely different and original strain that anticipates twentieth-century attempts to forge a post-metaphysical general will.