upcoming events

Edwin Curley at the London Spinoza Circle: 2nd May 2019

At the meeting of the London Spinoza Circle on Thursday 2nd May, 3.00 – 5.00pm, Prof. curleyEdwin Curley (University of Michigan) will speak on:

Making Sense of Spinoza’s Metaphysics

Birkbeck, University of London, Dreyfus Room, 26 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ


In this talk I shall revisit number of central themes in Spinoza’s metaphysics including the principle of charity, the difficulties associated with predicative interpretations of the mode-substance relation, the reason for adopting an interpretation that emphasises the laws of nature, and the roots of Spinoza’s theory of laws in Cartesian philosophy of science. My presentation will draw on two recent papers, ‘Spinoza’s Metaphysics Revisited’ and ‘Laws of Nature in Spinoza’.


A presentation of the paper ‘Spinoza’s Metaphysics Revisited’ is available here.


All welcome and no registration is required.


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.

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.

Colloque “Spinoza, politique et religion”

Jeudi 28 et Vendredi 29 mars 2019,

Espace Oscar Niemeyer

2 place Colonel Fabien (entrée 6 av. Mathurin Moreau),

75019 Paris (Métro Colonel-Fabien, ligne 2).
Entrée libre sur inscription nominative préalable : inscription@gabrielperi.fr

Le Traité théologico-politique tient une place essentielle, aujourd’hui encore, quand on cherche à comprendre les liens qui unissent religion et politique. Il est, pour Spinoza, pratiquement impossible de penser l’État indépendamment d’une enquête sur la religion. Mais ce n’est envisageable qu’à la condition de distinguer en même temps religion et superstition.

Les travaux du colloque interrogeront cette conjonction dans la pensée du philosophe hollandais, en supposant qu’elle ne va pas de soi, ceci afin de contribuer à une compréhension du statut de la religion dans le cadre des politiques modernes.

Accueil des participants dès 13h30

1ère séance, jeudi 28 mars 2019, 14h-18h

14h00 : ouverture du colloque, Claude Gindin, directeur de La Pensée

Présidence : Chantal Jaquet

14h15-15h, Pierre-François Moreau, professeur à l’ENS de Lyon, directeur de La lettre clandestine : Les origines du christianisme.

15h-15h45, Henri Laux, Professeur de philosophie au Centre Sèvres, Facultés jésuites de Paris : Dimensions politiques du Christ de Spinoza.

16h-16h45, Nicolas Léma, Doctorant à l’Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne : Le parti des apôtres : Matheron et le problème de la subversion, entre Mao et le Christ.

16h45-17h30, Jacqueline Lagrée, Professeure émérite, Université de Rennes : La paix de l’âme et les fruits de l’Esprit

2e séance, vendredi 29 mars 2019, 10h-13h

Présidence : Jacqueline Lagrée

10h -10h 45, Gérard Bras, professeur (honoraire) en classes préparatoires, GEMR : La constitution du peuple israélite et de la république des Hébreux. 

10 h 45-11h 30, Nicolas Israël, professeur en classes préparatoires à Paris : La résistance tribale dans le Traité théologico-politique.

11h45-12h 30, Laurent Bove, Professeur émérite, Université de Picardie Jules Vernes : Le théologico-politique et la question de la liberté chez Spinoza.

3e séance, vendredi 29 mars 2019, 14h-30-18h

Présidence : Pierre-François Moreau

14h30-15h15 Sophie Laveran, Professeure de philosophie à Calais, Centre d’histoire des philosophies modernes de la Sorbonne : Amour, dévotion et piété envers la patrie.

15h15-16h Chantal Jaquet, Professeure à l’Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne : Religion et politique chez Spinoza : une logique de l’accommodement.

16h30- 17h15 Etienne Balibar, Professeur émérite, Université de Paris-Nanterre : Il y a conscience et conscience, Locke et Spinoza.

17h45-18h00 Clôture des travaux, Gérard Bras, membre du GEMR.

Organisé par La Pensée  et le Groupe d’étude du matérialisme rationnel (GEMR), sous l’égide de la Fondation Gabriel Péri

Fondation Gabriel Péri 

14 rue Scandicci 
93500 Pantin 
Mél : fondation@gabrielperi.fr

Michael A. Rosenthal at the London Spinoza Circle: 21st March 2019

michael_rosenthal_new_headshot_3-15At the next meeting of the London Spinoza Circle on Thursday 21st March, 3:00 – 5:00pm,  Prof. Michael A. Rosenthal (University of Washington) will speak on:

“Life as a Marionette:  The Role of the Imagination in Spinoza’s Ethics, Part V”

Birkbeck, University of London, Dreyfus Room, 26 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ


The goal of Part V of the Ethics is to show that humans possess the power to be free.  It must be a conception in which freedom is thoroughly compatible with necessity.  It is difficult for us as finite beings to understand this idea and to act in accordance with it.  Spinoza thinks that the main obstacle is the false idea of the free will, i.e., the power to act independently of any system of determinate causes.  Spinoza does not think that we can overcome this prejudice, rooted in our ignorance, so easily. One of the most interesting features of his system is that at key points of his arguments Spinoza has recourse to the very images and passions that he finds problematic in order to produce effects that ultimately make us more reasonable.  It may seem that when we arrive at Part V of the Ethics, the very last part in which he shows us that human freedom is tied to the power of the intellect, we should be able to dispense with these inadequate ideas and proceed solely according to reason.  In this paper, however, I want to argue that perhaps the most important idea—the definition of freedom as acting according to the necessity of our own nature within a determined system—is so difficult to grasp that Spinoza still has to have recourse to the imagination to make sense of it.  In the first propositions of Part V, Spinoza uses reason to sketch an imaginative picture of the self as a kind of marionette. It is not yet what it would be to live according to reason, but what it would be like to live—or as if we are living—according to reason.  Even though, strictly speaking, this image is false, it nonetheless useful.  This thought-image serves as a kind of aid to the individual to become free.

All welcome and no registration is required.

The following meeting on Thursday 2nd May, 3 – 5pm will be Prof. Edwin Curley (University of Michigan), title to be confirmed.


Moira Gatens at the London Spinoza Circle, 7th February 2019

At the next meeting of the London Spinoza Circle on Thursday 7th February 2019, 3:00 – 5:00pm, resourceProf. Moira Gatens (University of Sydney) will present her paper:

“Spinoza’s free citizen meets Wollstonecraft‘s feminist republican”

Dreyfus Room, Birkbeck, University of London, 26 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ


I offer an account of Spinoza’s free man as exemplifying the affective as well as rational capacities needed for autonomous self-realization, relationally conceived. But his account contains a sad flaw, namely, Spinoza’s inability to recognize women as co-entitled to political freedom and equality. I relate this limitation to his failure to realize the full potential of his relational ontology and the true scope of a virtue that he values highly: fortitudo (or strength of mind). Fortitudo has a double aspect: it embodies the virtue of self-care (animositas) and the correlative virtue of care for others (generositas). I then turn to Mary Wollstonecraft’s understanding of the co-constitution of self and other and the role such understanding plays in her conception of the attainment of genuine autonomy. For her, the exercise of virtue depends upon freedom in both one’s personal and one’s political life. Her vision of an inclusive commonwealth – one that recognises the need for all to develop fortitudo – stands as a corrective to Spinoza’s error. We cannot achieve a virtuous republic if the relationship between the sexes lacks virtue. When combined, Spinoza’s and Wollstonecraft’s republican views tell a rich story about individuals, affect, autonomy, and the institutional practices that constrain or enable the flourishing of important republican virtues.

All welcome and no registration required.


CFA: Australasian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy


 Australasian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy (2019)

 Call for Abstracts

The University of Queensland (UQ) is delighted to host the second Australasian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy (ASEMP), in Brisbane, Australia, from November 25th to 27th, 2019.

An optional extended stay from November 28th through to the 31st is planned for the island of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island or colloquially, “Straddie”).

For this conference, we seek papers on those early modern concepts, theories, or figures that transformed standard ways of thinking in the period, or that changed the form and nature of philosophy itself.

The panel themes are (1) *Women and Power*; (2)* Metaphysics, Science and Religion; and *(3) *State and Secularism, *and papers fitting those themes are encouraged. Papers on other topics relating to the broad theme of *Transformations in Early Modern Philosophy* are also welcome.

Deadline for Abstracts: March 1, 2019. Successful participants will be notified by April 1, 2019.

Abstract length: 500 words.

Abstracts may be submitted through the conference website 

https://critical-thinking.project.uq.edu.au/asemp2019 or to the conference assistant, Ms Laura Pham, (laur.pham@gmail.com).

Invited Speakers:

Professor Lilli Alanen (Uppsala University)

Professor Marguerite Deslauriers (McGill University)

Professor John Carriero (University of California, Los Angeles)

Professor Calvin Normore (University of California, Los Angeles)

Professor Margaret Schabas (University of British Columbia)




CFA:6th Finnish-Hungarian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy

Call for Abstracts 

The Sixth Finnish-Hungarian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy

University of Helsinki

6–7 June 2019


Submission deadline: March 1

In a joint effort by philosophers in Finland and Hungary, the Seminar was founded to promote international cooperation among scholars of seventeenth and eighteenth-century philosophy. The previous meeting was held in 2018 in Budapest at the Central European University. This will be the sixth meeting in a continuing series of seminars; for more information, please see the website https://fhsemp.wordpress.com/

We invite prospective participants to send an anonymized abstract of about 500 words in .pdf format on any topic in early modern philosophy to fhsemp2019@gmail.com<mailto:fhsemp2019@gmail.com> no later than the 1st of March. Please, indicate your name, university affiliation, and the title of your paper in the body of your email message.

Completed papers should aim at a reading time of 40 minutes or less. Please note that FHSEMP cannot provide funding for travel or accommodation.

Invited speaker:

Alison Simmons (Harvard)

For further information, please contact Vili Lähteenmäki at fhsemp2019@gmail.com<mailto:fhsemp2019@gmail.com>.

Organizing and program committee:

Vili Lähteenmäki (Helsinki), Mike Griffin (CEU), Judit Szalai (ELTE), and Valtteri Viljanen (Turku)



Reminder: Dutch Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy VI

The Dutch Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy VI <https://www.rug.nl/filosofie/news/events/dutch-seminar-in-early-modern-philosophy-6> (DSEMP) will take place on *29–30 May 2019*, at the *Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen*, Groningen, Netherlands.

The DSEMP brings together advanced students and established scholars to discuss the latest work in early modern philosophy, broadly conceived. Building on the success of the previous 2014–2018 editions, which gathered philosophers from all over the world, the Seminar offers workshop-style collaborations in order to stimulate scholarly exchange. The language of presentation and discussion is English.

Keynote speakers:

Katherine Brading (Duke University)

Marleen Rozemond (University of Toronto)


Submission guidelines: We welcome abstracts prepared for peer review onany topic related to early modern philosophy, broadly understood (roughly the period 1500–1800 CE). We are especially interested in presentations that discuss philosophical issues or works that have received less sustained scholarly attention, including, but not limited to: non-canonical authors and traditions, anonymous texts, and methodological reflections on doing Early Modern philosophy.

Please submit abstracts (400 words max.) to our EasyChair page <https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=dsemp2019> (first time users will be asked to register with EasyChair).

Deadline for abstract submission: *10 January 2019* (11.59 pm – Amsterdam time). Decisions will follow by the *end of March.* We will send reviewers’ reports with useful feedback on abstracts to all who wish to receive this.

Attendance is free and all are welcome, especially students. No financial assistance can be provided to support travel expenses and accommodation.

Contact: If you have questions, please send an email to Laura Georgescu <https://www.rug.nl/staff/l.georgescu/> (l.georgescu@rug.nl).


Laura Georgescu (University of Groningen)

Andrea Sangiacomo (University of Groningen)

The Dutch Seminar is part of the Activities of the Groningen Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Thought (www.rug.nl/gcmemt) and it is supported by Lodi Nauta’s Spinoza Prize Project <https://www.rug.nl/about-us/where-do-we-stand/facts-and-figures/prizes-and-awards/spinoza/lodi-nauta—laureaat-nwo-spinozapremie-2016?lang=en>