This post will be illustrated by pictures of my
dog, Bento. *
(This picture was not staged. He stole this book)
"The concept of the dog doesn't bark" --Spinoza
Idit Dobbs-Weinstein's Spinoza's Critique of Religion and its Heirs: Marx, Benjamin, and Adorno
is a book that challenges many commonly held conceptions. The first is in the title itself, which suggests a strong relation where many, myself included saw at best a non-relation and at worst a repudiation of Spinoza by the Frankfurt School. Spinoza often appears less as a precursor for the Frankfurt School than as part of what the latter consider to be the dark side of the Enlightenment. I am thinking specifically of the passage of the Dialectic of the Enlightenment
which states, "Spinoza's proposition: 'the endeavor of preserving oneself is the first and only basis of virtue," contains the true maxim of all Western civilization, in which the religious and philosophical differences of the bourgeoisie are laid to rest." It is thus somewhat surprising to see Dobbs-Weinstein recast a line of descent moving from Spinoza through Marx to Benjamin and Adorno. This reordering of the various philosophical precursors follows Dobbs-Weinstein's argument larger argument for the repressed materialist (islamic and judaic) Aristoltean tradition.