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Single Idea 19935

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / c. A unified people]

Full Idea

Nature certainly does not create peoples, individuals do, and individuals are only separated into nations by differences of language, law and morality.

Gist of Idea

Peoples are created by individuals, not by nature, and only distinguished by language and law


Baruch de Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus [1670], 17.26)

A Reaction

Quite wrong, I think. How did languages evolve if there were not already distinct peoples? Do ants and bees only form into colonies by individual choice? All social contract theories seem to make Spinoza's assumption.

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Theological-Political Treatise', ed/tr. Israel,Jonathan [CUP 2007], p.225