Stephen Connelly

Catastrophe at Warwick

A catastrophe is only violent in its uncalled for appearing, and its coming is all around us in the smallest things. This year’s Critical Legal Conference takes place at Warwick under the title Catastrophe.  This is not without reason, for it sees the notion of catastrophe returning to one of its theoretical homes.  It was…

The foodbank dilemma (part 2 of 2)

Read Part 1 here. A Last Resort While there are endless subtle varieties in the way different foodbanks operate, there is one fundamental similarity in the reasons why people use them. Professor Dowler and her colleagues, in their report to DEFRA, found that people turned to food aid as “a strategy of last resort”, when…

The Foodbank Dilemma (part 1 of 2)

When I think1 about foodbanks now, more than anything else, I think about Louise.2 Louise was the first person I ever met who talked to me about her experiences of using a foodbank. Six months later, it is still my meeting with Louise I return to time and again. As if making sense of that…

Conatus: political being and Spinoza

Key Concept Part I – The nature and significance of the conatus Spinoza’s ‘conatus’ is a signal concept of his thought and one which appears as an axiom of modern treatments, particularly those of a political nature. Famously, the conatus doctrine provides: Each thing insofar as it is in itself, endeavours to persevere in its…

Critical Finance Law

Key Concept: An outline of a critical approach to conceiving and teaching finance law.Finance and teleology Critical finance law is the study of one of the most significant teloi of the modern era: the settlement of debt. Why is the settlement of debt a telos? Well it is perhaps no surprise that just as the…

Interpretation: notes on the thought of Spinoza

Key Concept A surfeit of sense Interpretation might initially be defined as the art of finding the situs of that which refuses to be localisable. One may slice up the commodity into its tiniest parts and never find its value, for the value is intermixed totally. So the sense of the word, which is a…

Imperium: notes on the thought of Spinoza

Cartesian cosmology

Key Concept Note: readers should first study the key concepts Power (potentia) and Natural Right before proceeding. A practical comprehension of Spinoza’s theory of natural right allows us to begin to use this conceptual tool to construct our world.  This is the essence of Spinoza’s ethico-political project: how to use the doctrine of natural right to…

Natural right: notes on the thought of Spinoza

From Diderot's Encyclopaedie

Key Concept Note: readers should first study the key concept Power (potentia) before proceeding. When students (res)trained in law approach Spinoza’s theory of natural right (ius naturale) they face precisely the formidable terminological barrier which Spinoza endeavours to teach us how to break through.  It is the same barrier which the student of mathematics encounters when…

Power (potentia): notes on the thought of Spinoza

Key ConceptIn this article I will focus exclusively on Spinoza’s theory of power (potentia) which forms a key element of his theories of natural right and imperium. For the legal theoretical importance of potentia in the areas, see the forthcoming articles NATURAL RIGHT and IMPERIUM, and for the relation to capacity (power) see the forthcoming…

Jakob Böhme: The Tragedy of Free­dom and the Curse of the Law

The following text is the first study of a two-part monograph  written by Nikolai Berdyaev1, the former Marxist militant turned autodidact and Christian existentialist, and was published in the journal Put’ in Febraury 1930.  It seems to have been written as a tangential reaction to a reading of Koyré’s La Philosophie de Jacob Boehme, which…

De Gandillac’s Cusanus: Order of Justice and Nexus of Love

As Nicolaus Cusanus’ thought developed from the ground-breaking Docta Ignorantia one can detect that movement that each thinker must make as they pass to the limit, and pass right through.  In the following selection, Maurice de Gandillac shows us how Cusanus (here de Cusa) carries out his deep meditation on the synthesis of justice and…

Cusanus on the Just at the Limit

To see the debt of Nikolaus von Kues (Nicolas Cusanus, Nicolaus de Cusa) to Meister Eckhart, it perhaps suffices for the casual reader to compare yesterday’s post here to the selection translated below, this being the primary purpose of presenting the two texts together.  Nevertheless, we propose to point out one significant technical distinction between…

Eckhart on the univocity of justice and equivocity of the just

The following selected extracts from Meister Eckhart’s extremely fecund Expositio sancti Evangelii secundum Iohannem have been picked because, while ostensibly working through the difference between justice and the just, they do so using theoretical tools of additional interest – notably ideas of univocity and equivocity, of the causal relation of principals to beings-in-act in the…

Frankfurt as protest-free city? – hunger strike begins

With the swift decision to evict the Occupy camp that has spent nine months at the foot of the European Central Bank’s Eurotower, the peaceful protest appears to be entering another juncture of resistance against the city authorities, who have once again shown themselves to be nothing other than the banks’ militant wing, led by…

“Wendland am Main” – Blockupy to return

One week after the Blockupy protests the Blockupy Alliance has concluded that the event was on balance a success – despite the ban. So much so, that the activists have announced their return to Frankfurt, and to turn it into what the German left call a “Wendland”, referring to the Free Republic of Wendland, a protest camp established in Gorleben, Germany on 3 May 1980 to protest against the establishment of a radioactive waste dump there.
Although almost all Blockupy actions were recently banned by the authorities – the organisers will not be discouraged: “We have decided in the alliance that this goes on,” said the regional chairman of the Left Party (Die Linke), Ulrich Wilken, on Thursday in Wiesbaden. In the autumn, a congress critical of capitalism in Frankfurt is being planned.