Author: spinozaresearchnetwork

Alexandre Matheron

Alexandre Matheron died on January 7, 2020.

His two great books, Individu et communauté chez Spinoza (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1969) and Le Christ et le salut des ignorants chez Spinoza (Paris: Éditions Aubier-Montaigne, 1971), plus his many articles, recently gathered in Études sur Spinoza et les philosophies à l’âge classique (Lyon: ENS Éditions, 2011), earned him a reputation as a master of seventeenth-century studies in France and internationally. He was, after Martial Gueroult, one of the best representatives of the structural method in the history of philosophy. His seminars gathered both French and foreign undergraduate and graduate students desiring to learn this method. Through his teaching at the École Normale Supérieure de Fontenay/Saint-Cloud he formed, directly and indirectly, a great number of Spinozists. He always encouraged young researchers and was always ready to listen to suggestions different from his own.

In 1977, he was among the founders of the Association des Amis de Spinoza of which he became the chair after the death of Jean-Toussaint Desanti. These last years, illness kept him away from active participation, but he always continued to support, through his reading and comments, the forthcoming new edition of the complete works of Spinoza.

  • Pierre-François Moreau, via Mogens Laerke

CFP: Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy XI

7-8 May 2020, French Institute/Institut Français, Edinburgh.


Keynote speakers:

Alix Cohen (University of Edinburgh)

Philip​pe Hamou (University of Paris X-Nanterre)


SSEMP XI is the eleventh edition of a yearly international workshop that brings together established scholars, young researchers and advanced graduate students working in the field of Early Modern Philosophy. SSEMP welcomes papers on any topic in early modern philosophy (broadly defined to mean pre-Kantian philosophy ranging from late Renaissance philosophy to the early Enlightenment). We encourage proposals which consider early modern philosophy in relation to related disciplines, such as theology, the history of literature, intellectual history and the history of science. Since the 2020 edition of the SSEMP takes place at the Institut Français at St. Giles, this year we welcome in particular contributions concerned with relations between Scottish and French philosophy. The SSEMP makes an effort to ensure a reasonable gender balance.

Submissions for the regular program should include a 300-word abstract + contact information gathered in A SINGLE PDF-FILE named: “your-surname.your-brief-title.abstract.pdf” (e.g. “smith.spinoza-and-essences.abstract.pdf’). Do not blind submissions. Graduate students submitting to the regular program should include contact information for one referee (typically the supervisor.) NB: BLINDED OR INCORRECTLY NAMED SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE REGISTERED. Deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 January 2020. They should be sent by email to Mogens Lærke on Due to very high numbers of submissions we cannot undertake to provide individual answers to all of them. Applicants who have not been contacted by 15 February should consider their submission declined.

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 (BSHP). The prize includes an invitation to present the essay at the SSEMP and a bursary of £300 toward 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, including contact information should be gathered in a single pdf-file entitled as follows: “your-surname.your-brief-title.essay.pdf” (e.g “jones.hume-on-habit.essay.pdf”). Do not blind submissions. NB: BLINDED OR INCORRECTLY NAMED SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE REGISTERED. Deadline for submissions is 15 January 2020. 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 program are free to do so.

Please note that the SSEMP cannot provide funding for travel or accommodation for speakers. We do, however, hope to be able to offer sandwich lunches and a conference dinner. Participants should expect two full conference days on 7-8 May.



Jonathan Cottrell (University of Edinburgh):

Mogens Lærke (Maison Française d’Oxford):



Institut Français, Edinburgh

Philosophy Department, Edinburgh University

Maison Française d’Oxford (MFO)

Scottish Philosophical Association (SPA)

British Society for the History of Philosophy (BSHP)


Symposium: Spinoza and the arts: passionate reason

A 2-day international symposium, 4-5 October 2019
At West Den Haag art gallery, the Hague, the Netherlands

Featuring papers and discussion from Moira Gatens, Beth Lord, Katja Diefenbach, Mogens Laerke, Andrea Sangiacomo, and Torkild Thanem, moderated by Baruch Gottlieb.

Full information and registration available here

PDF with programme, paper abstracts, and further information here: Spinoza-Symposium-2019-final

CFP: Journal special issue on “Spinoza today”

The editorial committee of the Italian philosophical Journal INCIRCOLO – RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA E CULTURE ( kindly invites authors to submit their papers to the upcoming issue 8/2019, which will be dedicated to:



Our times seem to owe much to Spinoza’s thought. Several traces of such debt can be found in the contemporary philosophical debate, where words, concepts and objects typical of Spinoza’s philosophy are constantly reused and further examined. The well-known sentence by Bergson, according to which every philosopher has in truth two systems, her own and that of Spinoza, may shed an interesting light on the current philosophical debate indeed. This is why we propose to reflect on “Spinoza today”.

If it is possible to depict Spinoza’s thought as a sphinx sitting at the entrance of the main road that led to modernity, its critical reprise on the threshold of a new modernity which has to face profound and disquieting technological, environmental, social and political issues requires to be deeply analysed.

Authors interested in presenting a contribution to this issue may discuss, among others, the following questions:

–   may a critical reprise of the Spinozian approach help contemporary philosophy to overcome the general disorientation deriving from nihilistic positions, relativistic views and the feeble suggestions of so-called post-modernism?

–   How the several versions of immanentism recently elaborated can be fruitfully confronted with the classical position of Spinozism?

–   Is there, in the current philosophical scenario, a particular approach that may be considered the rightful heir of Spinozism? Is contemporary materialism a suitable candidate for this title or does it fail to meet the necessary requirements, so that it needs to be adequately integrated, perhaps with elements that belong to this same philosophical tradition?

–   May contemporary political philosophy benefit from an approach that strives to balance the respect of individual freedom and the necessary constraints of political institutions, as Spinoza suggested?

–   From the perspective of philosophy of history, may Spinoza’s rational understanding of historical events as rings of a chain held together by necessary joints represent a valuable and still insightful position?


Contributions should not exceed the maximum length of 9000 WORDS (references, notes, 250-words abstract and 4-5 keywords included) and should be written in ENGLISH or ITALIAN. All submissions will undergo blind peer-review.

Please send your paper by e-mail to


Fabio Fossa, Ph.D.

Dipartimento di Filosofia e Scienze dell’Educazione Università di Torino

Dipartimento di Informatica

Università di Pisa

Washington Spinoza Society

The 19th season of the Washington Spinoza Society will officially begin on Monday, September 9th at 6:30 p.m at the BCC Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD, Conference Room Norfolk (C).

The presenter will be Professor Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins University), speaking on “Spinoza’s ‘Atheism.’”  In this paper, Professor Melamed will attempt to show that the only sense in which Spinoza can be genuinely considered an atheist is one that is not particularly informative.

All welcome.

6th Finnish-Hungarian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy

6th Finnish-Hungarian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy<>

6–7 June 2019

University of Helsinki

Main building, hall 8


Thursday June 6


9:30:Jack Stetter (Paris 8) Spinoza on Stupidity: The Power of False Ideas and Persistent Ignorance

11:00:Ericka Tucker (Marquette University) Hobbes and Spinoza on Conatus

13:30:Jessica Tizzard (University of Connecticut) Why does Kant Think We Must Believe in the Immortal Soul?

15:00:Jen Nguyen (Harvard) Leibniz on Distance

16:15:Zachary Agoff (San Francisco State University) A Metaphysical Method for Moral Development: Descartes and Elisabeth on Morally Relevant Knowledge


Friday June 7

9:30:Kevin R. Busch (Davidson College) Hume on the Origin and Limits of Thought

11:00:Timo Kaitaro (University of Helsinki) Hume and the Artificial Structures of the Human Mind

13:30:Nicholas Vallone (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Locke’s Theory of Memory

15:00:Matthew Leisinger (Cambridge) Cudworth on Freewill

16:30:Invited speaker Alison Simmons (Harvard) New Narratives in Early Modern Philosophy: The Road Ahead



Attendance is free and everyone is warmly welcome. Please write us so we can take your participation into consideration with practicalities:<>

The venue is the main building of University of Helsinki, lecture hall 8 on the third floor (Fabianinkatu 33, 00100 Helsinki).Professor Simmons’s talk will take place at Tiedekulma(Think Corner at Yliopistonkatu 4) right next to the main building.


Vili Lähteenmäki

Academy of Finland Research Fellow

University of Helsinki


Edwin Curley lecture, London

Edwin Curley on “Spinoza, the Enlightenment, and Religious Liberty”
Monday 29 April 2019
Conway Hall, London
World-renowned philosopher, Edwin Curley, brings Baruch Spinoza’s ideas on religious toleration to life.
Details and booking on Eventbrite.


What can Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) teach us about how to manage the ferocious divisions of identity, culture, ideology, and faith that riddle our politics today?

Come join us this April 29th to hear distinguished Professor, Edwin Curley’s answer. Curley is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, and one of the world’s foremost experts on the life and thought of Spinoza. He has just recently published the second volume of a complete translation of Spinoza’s works with Princeton University Press.

This is a public lecture, with free entrance, supported by the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs (CEPPA), at the University of St Andrews, as well as by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Spaces are limited so do book a ticket in advance.

This event is organized by Alexander Douglas (Philosophy, St Andrews) & Adam Etinson (Philosophy, St Andrews).

Note: the lecture will take place in the Brockway Room.

Ethica as a demonstrative network

Ethica, work without obstacle, is a free internet application for internet and smartphones which proposes a digital and augmented edition of the Ethics by Spinoza (1632-1677). The project was developed by Patrick Fontana.

Thanks to an unprecedented visualization of the text, Ethica makes visible the demonstrative network of the work. The user can see and read the text, and explore it in a innovative and intuitive way, through networked text, audio commentaries, video, and more.

The website is available here:

Ethica, work without obstacle, is funded by Conseil régional des Hauts de France, and FEDER, a thematic and structuring project 2015-2018 of the University of Picardy Jules Verne. Patrick Fontana received in 2013 the grant Brouillon d’un Rêve Pierre Schaeffer from Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia (French multimedia publishing rights society) (SCAM), and the grant aide à l’écriture et au développement aux nouveaux médias from Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée, France, (CNC), with the unanimous decision of the jury. Patrick Fontana and TYGRYZ Compagny, received in 2016, the grant aide à la production DICREAM from Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée, France, (CNC). Ethica has been hosted and supported (2015-2016) by the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’homme, Paris. The Social and Political Thought Research Group, Brunel University of London participated in the financing of Ethica’s teaser in 2015.

Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy X

University of St. Andrews: Senate Room, St. Mary’s, South Street

8-10 May 2019




Wednesday 8 May

11.00-11.15. Welcome

11.15-12.15. Key Note Speaker: Udo Thiel (University of Graz), “Christian Wolff on Animal Souls, Human Souls, and Personhood.”

12.15-1.00. Peter D. Larsen (Trinity College Dublin), “Berkeley, Plato, and the primary-secondary quality distinction”

1.00-2.15. Lunch

2.15-3.00. Adi Efal (University of Lille III, Charles De Gaulle), “The place of synthesis in methodical proceedings: Ramus and Zabarella’s Ccriticisms of Galen”

3.00-3.45. Lauren Slater (Birkbeck College, London), “Signs established by nature: Representation in Cartesian sensory ideas and the language analogy”

3.45-4.15. Coffee

4.15-5.00. Pedro Faria (Cambridge University), “Hume and the Académie des Inscriptions: the nature of historical evidence in the early eighteenth-century”

*Winner of the 2019 SSEMP Essay Prize, sponsored by the BSHP.


Thursday 9 May

10.00-10.45. Jonathan Shaheen (Ghent University), “Notions of substance in Cavendish’s metaphysics”

10.45-11.30. Sebastian Bender (Humboldt University, Berlin), “Conway on species and essences”

11.30-12.15. Qiu Lin (Duke University, Durham, NC), “Émilie du Châtelet’s views on space”

12.15-1.30. Lunch

1.30-2.15. Stefan Leicht (University of Tübingen), “Grotius and Locke on the political effectiveness of Christianity”

2.15-3.00. Adrián Canal (Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, Rome): “The soul and mortalism in the writings of Faustus Socinius and its influence on Locke”

3.00-3.30. Coffee

3.30-4.15. Nabeel Hamid (Concordia University, Montreal), “Machine and mechanistic explanation in Wolff’s cosmology”

4.15-5.15. Key Note Speaker: Teresa Bejan (Oxford University), “Equality Before Egalitarianism”


Friday 10 May

10.00-10.45. Jonathan Cottrell (Wayne State University), “What s Humean reasoning?”

10.45-11.30. Brian Ball (Oxford University), “Reid on the nature of judgment”

11.30-12.30. Key Note Speaker: Craig Smith (University of Glasgow), “Re-evaluating Adam Ferguson on Commercial Society: from republican outlier to consummate Moderate”

12.30-1.45 Lunch

1.45-2.30. Adrian Guyot (IHRIM-ENS de Lyon), “The Machiavellian challenge: The reason of state debate in the Spanish Golden Age and the ubiquitous yet problematic presence of Machiavelli in baroque political literature”

2.30-3.15. Sarah Meier (Xavier University of Louisiana), “The political psychology of the Hobbesian Subject”

3.15-4.00. Akos Sivado (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest), “Numbers made certain by the sovereign power: Rhetoric and arithmetic in Sir William Petty’s science of the state”


Organisation: James Harris (University of St. Andrews); Mogens Lærke (CNRS, IHRIM, ENS de Lyon)

Funding: University of St. Andrews; Scottish Philosophical Association (SPA); British Society for the History of Philosophy (BSHP); IHRIM (CNRS-UMR 5317), ENS de Lyon.