This article reviews the influence of Stoic thought on the development of Spinoza's and Nietzsche's ethics and suggests that although both philosophers follow the Stoics in conceiving of ethics as a therapeutic enterprise that aims at human freedom and flourishing, they part company with Stoicism in refusing to identify flourishing with freedom from the passions. In making this claim, I take issue with the standard view of Spinoza's ethics, according to which the passions figure exclusively as a source of unhappiness and bondage from which we must be liberated. I argue that, in fact, Spinoza anticipates Nietzsche and breaks with the Stoics in offering a more positive assessment of the role of passion in a flourishing life. The reading pursued here takes Spinoza's divergence from the Stoic account of the passions to be a consequence of his insistence on the immanence of human being in nature. I outline Spinoza's and Nietzsche's conception of immanence and suggest that it entails a common understanding of our nature as dynamic power or desire, which is simultaneously expressed as a capacity to act and be acted on, to affect and to be affected. The recognition of the complex relationship between passive and active power requires a revaluation of our vulnerability and openness to what can affect us and leads each philosopher to a consideration of the ways in which the passions might be made to support our striving to increase our power and to realize an essentially limited freedom and precarious flourishing.

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