Summer Institute on Spinoza and German Idealism

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

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

Organizers
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 spinozagermanidealism2016@gmail.com by 28 February 2016; decisions will be returned by 15 March 2016. Some funding for travel and accommodation may be available for accepted participants.

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