Workshop: The Body in Spinoza’s Philosophy

18 March 2016

Institute of Philosophy, Room N
3000 Leuven


10:00a – 10:30a: Greetings

10:30a – 12:30p: Panel 1 – The Physics and Metaphysics of the Body

“Galileo’s Influence on Spinoza’s Concepts of the Body,” Filip Buyse (Université Paris 1 Panthéon – Sorbonne)

“The Problem of the Persistence of Identity in Spinoza’s Account of the Body,” Sean Winkler (KU Leuven)

“The Dual Aspect of Finite Bodies in Spinoza’s Metaphysics,” Noa Shein (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)

12:30p – 1:30p: Lunch

1:30p – 2:50p: Panel 2 – The Experience of the Body

“Corporeality and Subjectivity in Spinoza’s Ethics: The Role of Imagination in Historical Perspective,” Olivér István Tóth (Eötvös Loránd University)

“Spinoza’s Phenomenology of Bodily Affections,” Rudolf Bernet (KU Leuven)

2:50p – 3:00p: Short Break

3:00p – 4:20p: Panel 3 – The Politics of the Body

“The Body’s Capabilities, in Ethics 5p39,” Keith Green (East Tennessee State University)

“Political Suicide: The Body of Spinoza’s Sovereign Has No Self-Preserving Conatus,” Christopher Davidson (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)

4:20p – 4:40p: Long Break

4:40p – 6:10p: Keynote

“Spinoza’s Account of Agreement in Nature: From Physics to Politics,” Andrea Sangiacomo (University of Groningen)

Response to Keynote, Herman De Dijn (KU Leuven)

6:30p – 7:30p: Drinks

7:30p – 9:00p: Dinner



Sean Winkler (KU Leuven), Cody Staton (KU Leuven), Jo Van Cauter (Ghent University), Karin de Boer (KU Leuven), Roland Breeur (KU Leuven) // Centre for Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Culture at KU Leuven

Additional Information

The aim of this workshop is to facilitate a dialogue between researchers working in different areas of Spinoza’s philosophy by examining, comparing and assessing Spinoza’s different accounts of the body in his metaphysical, physical, ethical and political writings. Registration for the workshop is free, but we ask that you fill out a registration form, which can be found on our website at Please fill it out and return it to us by email at by 11 March 2016. The workshop dinner is €25 for speakers and €45 for non-speakers. Payment for the dinner is to be made in person on the day of the workshop. For any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at the aforementioned email address.

Research School in the Historiography of Philosophy (Lyon)


École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 7-9 June 2016


Keynote speakers:

Gregorio Piaia (University of Padua)

Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins University)

Pierre-François Moreau (École Normale Supérieure de Lyon)


Call for applications: Partial funding (10 bursaries) available for both French and non-French graduate students, postdocs or young academics who wish to take part in the school and contribute to the discussions.

This research school is dedicated to the study of the relations between the history, methods and practices in the historiography of philosophy. The aim is to submit the historiography of philosophy itself to historical study by asking how the reading of past philosophical texts has been adapted to the institutional and intellectual context of historiography of philosophy itself. Throughout the three days it lasts, the school will thus follow a double itinerary: on the one hand, we put into perspective the evolution of the historiography of philosophy from the early the seventeenth century onward; on the other hand, we focus on the ways in which, historically, different methodological orientations have concretely shaped the interpretation of philosophical texts. At the same time, we will question the ways in which the historiography of philosophy can be, and has been, put into dialogue with other disciplines, in particular sociology and the history and philosophy of science.

Each morning session will include two “lessons” each focusing on a major orientation or figure in the historiography of philosophy. The afternoon will be dedicated to one-hour “workshops,” which are discussions moderated by specialists about key texts. Each day will end with a plenary conference presented by a major figure in the field.

The school grants up to 10 bursaries to finance the participation of graduate students, post-doctoral students or young researchers. The recipients will not be asked to present a paper but are expected to participate actively in the discussions. Bursaries will cover accommodation on site (up to 4 nights) and part of the meals. Travel expenses are not covered.

Graduate students, post-docs and young researchers from all countries are invited to apply. It should however be noted all lessons and discussions will be in French (with the exception of one conference in English). For non-French applicants, proficiency in French is thus indispensable.

Those who wish to apply should send a letter of motivation of two pages maximum (word or pdf), explaining how participation the research school can contribute to their current research, to Mogens Lærke ( or Raphaële Andrault ( Please include all contact information in the letter and entitle your email HISTOPHIL. The deadline for submissions is 10 March 2016.

The Research School is organized by the Institut d’histoire des representations et des idées dans les modernités (IHRIM, UMR 5317) in collaboration with the LabEx COMOD (University of Lyon) and the Doctoral School of the University of Lyon (ED 487)

Organizing committee:

Raphaële Andrault (CNRS, UMR 5317, ENS de Lyon) Mogens Lærke (CNRS, UMR 5317, ENS de Lyon) Pierre-François Moreau (ENS de Lyon).

Summer Institute on Spinoza and German Idealism

Department of Philosophy and Centre for Jewish Studies
​University of Toronto, May 16-20, 2016

Eckart Förster (Johns Hopkins University)
Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins University)

Nick Stang (University of Toronto)
G. Anthony Bruno (University of Toronto Scarborough)

Call for applications:

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the deep influence of Spinoza on German philosophy. From controversies over freedom and determinism in the time of Christian Wolff, through the Pantheismusstreit and the threat of nihilism in the time of Kant, to the reappraisal of Spinoza’s monism by the post-Kantian idealists, Spinoza and Spinozism—sometimes an enemy, sometimes a guiding light—have been intimately connected to major currents in modern German thought.

The Department of Philosophy and the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto are pleased to host a one-week intensive summer institute that will take place May 16-20, 2016 and whose theme will be Spinoza and German Idealism. Our keynote presenters will be Eckart Förster (Johns Hopkins University) and Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins University). To foster an interdisciplinary atmosphere, we invite applications from PhD students in philosophy, German studies, religion, history, and Judaic studies.

The format of the institute will be a series of seminar-style discussions of primary texts, led by our keynote speakers. Readings will be distributed by PDF in advance of the meeting in Toronto.

Topics to be studied may include:

– Spinoza, Jacobi, and the Pantheismusstreit
– Kant’s Critique of Spinoza
– Spinoza, Biblical Faith, and the ‘Religion of Reason’
– Maimon and the Rise of Spinozism in German Idealism
– Spinoza and Mendelssohn’s Morgenstunden
– Spinozistic Monism and Hegel’s Logic
– Spinoza’s Amor Dei Intellectualis and Intellectual Intuition
– The Jewish and Lutheran Background to German Reception of Spinoza
– The Influence Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise on 19th C. German Philosophy of Right

PhD students writing their dissertations on these or related topics are encouraged to apply by sending: (1) a 1-page (double-spaced) letter of interest explaining their research and how it fits with the theme of the institute, (2) a CV and (3) a sample of academic writing (no longer than 15 pages). Applications should be emailed to by 28 February 2016; decisions will be returned by 15 March 2016. Some funding for travel and accommodation may be available for accepted participants.

Puzzling about Spinoza on expression (part 2)

From the Mod Squad blog.

The Mod Squad

My previous post asked some questions about Spinoza’s notion of expression. I’m particularly interested in – puzzled by, really – the expression done by attributes and modes.

In that post, I asked whether it helped to think of Spinoza’s talk of expression using the model provided by Leibniz’s claim that “every effect expresses its cause” (Discourse on Metaphysics 28). Though this might make some sense of the expression done by modes, it seems less helpful when we look at the expression done by attributes. So here I turn to a different model of expression, one suggested by the Ethics itself. Spinoza says that definitions express, that words express, and that people express using words. Can we understand the expression done by attributes and modes using this more or less linguistic model? As with the causal model, there are problems and puzzles, but there also seem to be some possibilities.

In this linguistic sense of expression, expression is representation…

View original post 392 more words

Jonathan Lear, Spinoza Chair lectures

Jonathan Lear will hold the Spinoza Chair at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Amsterdam in the spring of 2016 and will be delivering the accompanying two Spinoza Lectures on ‘Ironic Anthropos’ and ‘The Unconscious and the Meaning of Life’.

Lear’s first Spinoza Lecture is entitled ‘Ironic Anthropos’.

Does the very attempt to give an account of ourselves get in the way of understanding ourselves? We tend to understand ourselves through concepts we apply to ourselves, but these concepts are vulnerable – both to history and to irony. I may understand myself, say, as Crow Indian or as American, as Dutch or as European, but what happens to the concept when, for instance, the form of life in which I participate is devastated, or there is such a disparity of wealth that the idea of representative democracy is threatened, the promise of free speech is turned upside down, or there are massive immigrations of peoples with no desire to adopt a new way of life? And then, as Socrates showed, even concepts that seem impervious to historical shifts – such as teacher or student or doctor – have an uncanny instability built into them. There is always the possibility of an anxious fluctuation between how these concepts are realized in social formations and what they might call one to. How is one to account for that?

Jonathan Lear is the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought and in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago.  He currently serves as Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, a new research institute within the University. Lear trained in philosophy at Cambridge University and The Rockefeller University. He later trained as a psychoanalyst and has been working with low-fee patients for thirty years.  He is a recent recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award.

His books include: Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (2006), Aristotle and Logical Theory (1980), Aristotle: the desire to understand (1988); Love and its place in nature: a philosophical interpretation of Freudian psychoanalysis (1990), Open minded: working out the logic of the soul (1998), Happiness, death and the remainder of life (2000), Therapeutic action: an earnest plea for irony (2003), and Freud (2005). His most recent books is A Case for Irony (Harvard University Press, 2011).

Date and time: Thursday, March 10, 2016, at 20:15. The Aula will open at 19:30.

Location: Aula of the University of Amsterdam, Oude Lutherse kerk, Singel 411, Amsterdam

Admission is free (no reservation required).

On Thursday, Thursday, March 24, 2016, at 20:15 Jonathan Lear will give the second Spinoza Lecture entitled ‘The Unconscious and the Meaning of Life’.

see also:


Puzzling about Spinoza on expression (part 1)

From The Mod Squad Blog.

The Mod Squad

Writing about Leibniz on expression got me thinking about other early modern talk about expression, and in particular about Spinoza, who talks several times in his Ethics about things expressing others. Some of this expressing involves language, but other cases seem not to. Thus both attributes and modes are said to express things. For example, 1p6 talks of the infinite attributes of God, “each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence”. Modes, meanwhile, are also said to express God’s essence (though in a certain way, related to a certain attribute). Thus, Spinoza says in 2d1 that “By ‘body’ I understand a mode that expresses in a definite and determinate way God’s essence in so far as he is considered as an extended thing”, and in 2p1d that “Individual thoughts, or this and that thought, are modes expressing the nature of God in a definite and determinate way”. There is also related language in which attributes are said…

View original post 531 more words

Spinoza Colloquium Leipzig

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Whoever happens to be in the area: At Leipzig University there will be a third session of the Spinoza Colloquium. This activity is a cooperative project between the political science department at Leipzig and the philosophy department at Halle-Wittenberg (with support from the German Spinoza Society).

This event will take place on Thursday, February 11th, 2016, from 1 to 7 pm, at the Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum (GWZ) Beethovenstraße 15, 04107 Leipzig, room 4.1.16. (first floor)

There will be three talks:

Roland Braun (Düsseldorf): “Die Substanz als imaginärer Wert. Spinoza im Licht von Luhmann und Whitehead” [in German]

Prof. Dr. Martin Lenz (Groningen): “Spinoza on Intentionality” [in English]

Prof. Omri Boehm, PhD (New York/Berlin): “Prophet and Genius: The Critique of Judgment vs. the Tractatus theologico-politicus” [in English]

For more info go to:
Contact: Martin Saar

Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy (SSEMP) VII

5-6 May 2016

University of St. Andrews

Key Note Speakers: Sylvana Tomaselli (Cambridge), Matthew Daniel Eddy (Durham)

The SSEMP IV is the seventh edition of a yearly event that brings together established scholars, young researchers and advanced graduate students working in the field of early modern philosophy. The aim is to foster scholarly exchange among the different generations of academics in the UK and to strengthen international collaboration. We welcome abstracts on any topic in pre-Kantian early modern philosophy (broadly defined, ranging from late Renaissance philosophy to the Enlightenment.) We particularly encourage proposals that consider early modern philosophy in relation to other related disciplines, such as theology, politics, intellectual history and/or the history of science. Presentations should be in English and approximately 45 minutes in reading length. We make an effort to assure a reasonable gender balance.

The SSEMP awards a Graduate Student Essay Prize which this year, as in previous years, is funded by the British Society for the History of Philosophy. The prize includes an invitation to present the essay at the SSEMP and a bursary of £200 towards travel and accommodation. The bursary cannot be used for any other purpose. Submissions to the essay competition should include: (1) name, affiliation, name and email of supervisor, and personal contact information; (2) the complete essay (max. 6000 words, including notes). Everything should be gathered in a single pdf or word file. Deadline for submissions is 15 January 2016. They should be sent by email to Mogens Lærke on Those who wish to submit a proposal both as a complete text for the essay competition and as a short abstract for the regular programme are free to do so.

Abstracts for the regular programme (approx. 300 words, abstract and contact information in a single pdf or word file) should be sent by email to Mogens Lærke on Graduate students submitting to the regular program should include contact information for one referee (typically the supervisor.)

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 January 2016. Due to very high numbers of submissions we can no longer undertake to respond individually to all of them. Applicants who have not been contacted by 15 February should consider their submission declined.

Please note that the SSEMP cannot provide funding for travel or accommodation for speakers.


Dr. James Harris (University of St Andrews) Dr. Mogens Lærke (CNRS, ENS de Lyon)


The Scots Philosophical Association

Philosophy Department, St. Andrews

Institute of Intellectual History, St Andrews Institut d’histoire de la pensée classique, ENS de Lyon


Ethica – a multimedia project

NB: this is a previously published post, which is being re-posted to adapt to the new website format.

Patrick Fontana, a multimedia artist based in Paris, is working on a digital installation around Spinoza’s Ethics. He describes the project as follows:

“As part of this installation, I would make a video of Ethics, read and commented on by a united international community of philosophers who work on Spinoza, sharing their knowledge of Spinoza, for the first time, on a video. The recordings will be in the language of each participant. This manual video will be available, both in the installation itself and the internet, available to researchers, students, public interest in Spinoza’s Ethics.”

The project has the support of ENS and CERPHI, and has received funding from the National Centre for French Cinema. 75 international Spinozists have already agreed to participate. Each participant chooses up to five passages (propositions, axioms, etc.) from the Ethics to read and comment on.

Further information about the project (in French) can be found here.

To see other examples of Patrick Fontana’s philosophical multimedia work, visit