Breve indagine sugli affetti nel primo genere di conoscenza

Sofia Sandreschi

This paper proposes a brief survey of the relationship between passions, knowledge and imagination in Baruch Spinoza’s Ethica and in Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu. Starting from the conviction that man is an immediately affective being, the analysis will focus on passions as basic coordinates for the human being in the world. Notably, the loving passion is of central importance, since it seems to represent, in its various nuances, the mode of existence configured by the imaginative knowledge and ruled by the deceitful belief in the subject-object relationship. The feeling of love stigmatises indeed the birth of a world made of things to possess or to avoid, according to which the figure of subject is also composed. However, the passive state of man — when he’s dominated by passions — does not represent an entirely negative
moment. There is not simply the risk of failure. Conversely, passions show that they are also a wealth to be explored and understood as a complex functioning. As passions unfold their intensity within the first kind of knowledge, some decisive and typical aspects of confused knowledge are analysed: the specific role of imagination and its relationship with cupiditas, the link between memory and habit, the role of admiratio, the general passive state.

Spinoza e Proust
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