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Single Idea 19914

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 4. Natural Rights / a. Natural rights]

Full Idea

Since the universal power of nature is only the power of all individual things together, it follows that each individual thing has the sovereign right to do everything it can do, or the right of each thing extends as far as its determined power extends.

Gist of Idea

In nature everything has an absolute right to do anything it is capable of doing


Baruch de Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus [1670], 16.01)

A Reaction

A typically ruthless Spinoza idea, very different from the rather ill-founded claims of Locke and Rousseau about the state of nature.

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Theological-Political Treatise', ed/tr. Israel,Jonathan [CUP 2007], p.195