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Additional resources for The Philosophy of Antonio Negri - Volume Two: Revolution in Theory (v. 2)
Negri 1997b: 230)6 Thus, this political critique has as a precondition the development of an immanent ontological organization that is directly opposed to transcendent order. As Negri writes; Potentia as the dynamic and constitutive inherence of the single in the multiplicity, of mind in the body, of freedom in necessity—power against Power—where potestas is presented as the subordination of the multiplicity, of the mind, of freedom and of potentia. (Negri 1991b: 190) The denial of any speculative priority to potestas (or power) opens the possibility of a new ground of ontology.
The paradox is the tension between two grounds of ontology: two ways of conceiving the relation between unity and multiplicity, or between substance and the modes. ‘In Spinoza a decision is never made between two perspectives: the dynamic one, for which substance is a force, and the static one, for which substance is pure linear coordination’ (Negri 1991b: 79). This paradox is at once the central question of any reading of Spinoza, in that it poses all of the old questions of the relation between the infinite and the finite, the substance and the modes, or of what Negri calls the organization of the infinite; and also, at least in Negri’s reading, the question of the very grounds of thought and practice.
In Part II of the Ethics Spinoza distinguishes between God’s power as potentia, inseparable from its actuality, and the legislative power of potestas, which is predicated on the separation between will and intellect (Spinoza 1985: E II P3 S, 449). As Gilles Deleuze writes, Spinoza’s development of the concept of power is immediately a political critique. A deconstruction of potestas as the analogy of divine and legislative power is interwoven throughout the appendices and scholia of the Ethics: ‘One of the basic points of the Ethics consists in denying that God has any power (potestas) analogous to that of a tyrant, or even an enlightened prince’ (Deleuze 1988a: 97).