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Benedict (Baruch) de Spinoza (1632–1677) was one of the most systematic, inspiring, and influential philosophers of the early modern period. From a pantheistic starting point that identified God with Nature as all of reality, he sought to demonstrate an ethics of reason, virtue, and freedom while unifying religion with science and mind with body. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, ethics, politics, and the analysis of religion remain vital to the present day. Yet his writings initially appear forbidding to contemporary readers, and his ideas have often been misunderstood. This second edition of The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza includes new chapters on Spinoza's life and his metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and biblical scholarship, as well as extensive updates to the previous chapters and bibliography. A thorough, reliable, and accessible guide to this extraordinary philosopher, it will be invaluable to anyone who wants to understand what Spinoza has to teach.
Which language should philosophers use: technical or common language? In a book as important for intellectual historians as it is for philosophers, Lodi Nauta addresses a vital question which still has resonance today: is the discipline of philosophy assisted or disadvantaged by employing a special vocabulary? By the Middle Ages philosophy had become a highly technical discipline, with its own lexicon and methods. The Renaissance humanist critique of this specialised language has been dismissed as philosophically superficial, but the author demonstrates that it makes a crucial point: it is through the misuse of language that philosophical problems arise. He charts the influence of this critique on early modern philosophers, including Hobbes and Locke, and shows how it led to the downfall of medieval Aristotelianism and the gradual democratization of language and knowledge. His book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the transition from medieval to modern philosophy.
This ambitious account of skepticism's effects on major authors of England's Golden Age shows how key philosophical problems inspired literary innovations in poetry and prose. When figures like Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert of Cherbury, Cavendish, Marvell and Milton question theories of language, degrees of knowledge and belief, and dwell on the uncertainties of perception, they forever change English literature, ushering it into a secular mode. While tracing a narrative arc from medieval nominalism to late seventeenth-century taste, the book explores the aesthetic pleasures and political quandaries induced by skeptical doubt. It also incorporates modern philosophical views of skepticism: those of Stanley Cavell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Roland Barthes, and Hans Blumenberg, among others. The book thus contributes to interdisciplinary studies of philosophy and literature as well as to current debates about skepticism as a secularizing force, fostering civil liberties and religious freedoms.
John Locke's religious interests and concerns permeate his philosophical production and are best expressed in his later writings on religion, which represent the culmination of his studies. In this volume, Diego Lucci offers a thorough analysis and reassessment of Locke's unique, heterodox, internally coherent version of Protestant Christianity, which emerges from The Reasonableness of Christianity and other public as well as private texts. In order to clarify Locke's views on morality, salvation, and the afterlife, Lucci critically examines Locke's theistic ethics, biblical hermeneutics, reflection on natural and revealed law, mortalism, theory of personal identity, Christology, and tolerationism. While emphasizing the originality of Locke's scripture-based religion, this book calls attention to his influences and explores the reception of his unorthodox theological ideas. Moreover, the book highlights the impact of Locke's natural and biblical theology on other areas of his thought, thus enabling a better understanding of the unity of his work.
This is the first book-length study in English of Thomas Hobbes's On the Citizen. It aims to show that On the Citizen is a valuable and distinctive philosophical work in its own right, and not merely a stepping-stone toward the more famous Leviathan. The volume comprises twelve original essays, written by leading Hobbes scholars, which explore the most important themes of the text: Hobbes's accounts of human nature, moral motivation, and political obligation; his theories of property, sovereignty, and the state; and, finally, his ideas on the relation between secular and ecclesiastical authority, and the politics behind his religious ideas. Taken together, the essays bring to light many distinctive aspects of Hobbes's thought that are often concealed by the prevailing focus on Leviathan, making for a richer and more nuanced picture of his moral, legal, and political philosophy.
The Late Scholastics, writing in Europe in the Baroque and Early Modern periods, discussed a wide variety of moral questions relating to political life in times of both peace and war. Is it ever permissible to bribe voters? Can tax evasion be morally justified? What are the moral duties of artists? Is it acceptable to fight in a war one believes to be unjust? May we surrender innocents to the enemy if it is necessary to save the state? These questions are no less relevant for philosophers and politicians today than they were for late scholastic thinkers. By bringing into play the opinions and arguments of numerous authors, many of them little known or entirely forgotten, this book is the first to provide an in-depth treatment of the dynamic and controversial nature of late scholastic applied moral thinking which demonstrates its richness and diversity.
The essays in this volume provide a state-of-the-art overview of the central elements of Hobbes's political philosophy and the ways in which they can be interpreted. The volume's contributors offer their own interpretations of Hobbes's philosophical method, his materialism, his psychological theory and moral theory, and his views on benevolence, law and civil liberties, religion, and women. Hobbes's ideas of authorization and representation, his use of the 'state of nature', and his reply to the unjust 'Foole' are also critically analyzed. The essays will help readers to orient themselves in the complex scholarly literature while also offering groundbreaking arguments and innovative interpretations. The volume as a whole will facilitate new insights into Hobbes's political theory, enabling readers to consider key elements of his thought from multiple perspectives and to select and combine them to form their own interpretations of his political philosophy.
Spinoza's Political Psychology advances a novel, comprehensive interpretation of Spinoza's political writings, exploring how his analysis of psychology informs his arguments for democracy and toleration. Justin Steinberg shows how Spinoza's political method resembles the Renaissance civic humanism in its view of governance as an adaptive craft that requires psychological attunement. He examines the ways that Spinoza deploys this realist method in the service of empowerment, suggesting that the state can affectively reorient and thereby liberate its citizens, but only if it attends to their actual motivational and epistemic capacities. His book will interest a range of readers in Spinoza studies and the history of political thought, as well as readers working in contemporary political theory.
Reading Hobbes in light of both the history of ethics and the conceptual apparatus developed in recent work on normativity, this book challenges received interpretations of Hobbes and his historical significance. Arash Abizadeh uncovers the fundamental distinction underwriting Hobbes's ethics: between prudential reasons of the good, articulated via natural laws prescribing the means of self-preservation, and reasons of the right or justice, comprising contractual obligations for which we are accountable to others. He shows how Hobbes's distinction marks a watershed in the transition from the ancient Greek to the modern conception of ethics, and demonstrates the relevance of Hobbes's thought to current debates about normativity, reasons, and responsibility. His book will interest Hobbes scholars, historians of ethics, moral philosophers, and political theorists.
Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) was one of the most important philosophers of all time; he was also one of the most radical and controversial. The story of Spinoza's life takes the reader into the heart of Jewish Amsterdam in the seventeenth century and, with Spinoza's exile from Judaism, into the midst of the tumultuous political, social, intellectual, and religious world of the young Dutch Republic. This new edition of Steven Nadler's biography, winner of the Koret Jewish Book Award for biography and translated into a dozen languages, is enhanced by exciting new archival discoveries about his family background, his youth, and the various philosophical, political, and religious contexts of his life and works. There is more detail about his family's business and communal activities, about his relationships with friends and correspondents, and about the development of his writings, which were so scandalous to his contemporaries.
Spinoza's Political Treatise constitutes the very last stage in the development of his thought, as he left the manuscript incomplete at the time of his death in 1677. On several crucial issues - for example, the new conception of the 'free multitude' - the work goes well beyond his Theological Political Treatise (1670), and arguably presents ideas that were not fully developed even in his Ethics. This volume of newly commissioned essays on the Political Treatise is the first collection in English to be dedicated specifically to the work, ranging over topics including political explanation, national religion, the civil state, vengeance, aristocratic government, and political luck. It will be a major resource for scholars who are interested in this important but still neglected work, and in Spinoza's political philosophy more generally.
The work of women philosophers in the early modern period has traditionally been overlooked, yet their writing on topics such as reality, time, mind and matter holds valuable lessons for our understanding of metaphysics and its history. This volume of new essays explores the work of nine key female figures: Bathsua Makin, Anna Maria van Schurman, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, Damaris Cudworth Masham, Mary Astell, Catharine Trotter Cockburn, and Émilie Du Châtelet. Investigating issues from eternity to free will and from body to natural laws, the essays uncover long-neglected perspectives and demonstrate their importance for philosophical debates, both then and now. Combining careful philosophical analysis with discussion of the intellectual and historical context of each thinker, they will set the agenda for future enquiry and will appeal to scholars and students of the history of metaphysics, science, religion and feminism.
This book presents a comprehensive examination of Gottfried Leibniz's views on the nature of agents and their actions. Julia Jorati offers a fresh look at controversial topics including Leibniz's doctrines of teleology, the causation of spontaneous changes within substances, divine concurrence, freedom, and contingency, and also discusses widely neglected issues such as his theories of moral responsibility, control, attributability, and compulsion. Rather than focusing exclusively on human agency, she explores the activities of non-rational substances and the differences between distinctive types of actions, showing how the will, appetitions, and teleology are key to Leibniz's discussions of agency. Her book reveals that Leibniz has a nuanced and compelling philosophy of action which has relevance for present-day discussions of agency. It will be of interest to scholars and students of early modern philosophy as well as to metaphysicians and philosophers of action.
Spinoza's Ethics, published in 1677, is considered his greatest work and one of history's most influential philosophical treatises. This volume brings established scholars together with new voices to engage with the complex system of philosophy proposed by Spinoza in his masterpiece. Topics including identity, thought, free will, metaphysics, and reason are all addressed, as individual chapters investigate the key themes of the Ethics and combine to offer readers a fresh and thought-provoking view of the work as a whole. Written in a clear and accessible style, the volume sets out cutting-edge research that reflects, challenges, and promotes the most recent scholarly advances in the field of Spinoza studies, tackling old issues and bringing to light new subjects for debate.
The Contemporary British Novel Since 2000 is in five parts, with the first part examining the work of four particularly well-known and highly regarded twenty-first century writers: Ian McEwan, David Mitchell, Hilary Mantel and Zadie Smith. It is with reference to each of these novelists in turn that the terms ‘realist’, ‘postmodernist’, ‘historical’ and ‘postcolonialist’ fiction are introduced, while in the remaining four parts, other novelists are discussed and the meaning of the terms amplified. From the start it is emphasised that these terms and others often mean different things to different novelists, and that the complexity of their novels often obliges us to discuss their work with reference to more than one of the terms. Also discusses the works of: Maggie O’Farrell, Sarah Hall, A.L. Kennedy, Alan Warner, Ali Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Kate Atkinson, Salman Rushdie, Adam Foulds, Sarah Waters, James Robertson, Mohsin Hamid, Andrea Levy, and Aminatta Forna.
Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) was one of the greatest scientists of all time, a thinker of extraordinary range and creativity who has left enduring legacies in mathematics and physics. While most famous for his Principia, his work on light and colour, and his discovery of the calculus, Newton devoted much more time to research in chemistry and alchemy, and to studying prophecy, church history and ancient chronology. This new edition of The Cambridge Companion to Newton provides authoritative introductions to these further dimensions of his endeavours as well as to many aspects of his physics. It includes a revised bibliography, a new introduction and six new chapters: three updating previous chapters on Newton's mathematics, his chemistry and alchemy and the reception of his religious views; and three entirely new, on his religion, his ancient chronology and the treatment of continuous and discontinuous forces in his second law of motion.
Creative Involution: Bergson, Beckett Deleuze focuses on a philosophical trajectory that not only had a profound impact on critical thought of the 20th and now 21s centuries, but on cosmopolitan, contemporary culture more broadly and on artistic experiment and expression in particular.
For many years, philosophers and other scholars have commented on the remarkable similarity between Spinoza and the Stoics, with some even going so far as to speak of 'Spinoza the Stoic'. Until now, however, no one has systematically examined the relationship between the two systems. In Spinoza and the Stoics Jon Miller takes on this task, showing how key elements of Spinoza's metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical psychology, and ethics relate to their Stoic counterparts. Drawing on a wide range of secondary literature including the most up-to-date scholarship and a close examination of the textual evidence, Jon Miller not only reveals the sense in which Spinoza was, and was not, a Stoic, but also offers new insights into how each system should be understood in itself. His book will be of great interest to scholars and students of ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, Spinoza, and the philosophy of the Stoics.
This book analyzes three often-debated questions of Spinoza's legacy: was Spinoza a religious thinker? How should we understand Spinoza's mind-body doctrine? What meaning can be given to Spinoza's notions - such as salvation, beatitude, and freedom - which are seemingly incompatible with his determinism, his secularism, and his critique of religion. Through a close reading of often-overlooked sections from Spinoza's Ethics, Elhanan Yakira argues that these seemingly conflicting elements are indeed compatible, despite Spinoza's iconoclastic meanings. Yakira argues that Ethics is an attempt at providing a purely philosophical - as opposed to theological - foundation for the theory of value and normativity.