, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 465-469
Date: 11 Oct 2012

Wittgenstein and Spinoza on the logic of immanence

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The main goal of this book is to argue that Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (from now on, TLP) and Spinoza’s Ethics share what Baltas calls the perspective of “radical immanence”: in his own words, they aim “to establish that there cannot be any position outside the world, thought, and language, that there can be no overarching standpoint from which anyone or anything can encompass the world, thought, and language as wholes, can act on them, regiment them, know them, or make meaningful pronouncements on them.” (1) The project depends strongly on a reading of both Spinoza and Wittgenstein that distances itself in several ways from accepted interpretations. Because of my own area of expertise, I will focus my review on Baltas’ reading of Spinoza.

The prima facie plausible thesis of radical immanentism presents a paradox. The claim of radical immanence seems to be exactly the kind of claim about the world that the perspective rules out: that “there is no overarching standpoin