Events in Canada

Online talk: Michael Rosenthal, Spinoza on Prophecy

Spinoza on Prophecy
a talk with Prof. Michael A. Rosenthal (University of Toronto)     Date: Thursday, October 22, 2020 Time: 3-5pm EST Via Zoom          
The neo-Kantian philosopher Hermann Cohen famously claimed that “[t]he great scholar of the Bible [Spinoza] never attained an understanding of prophecy.” Spinoza, Cohen argued, reduces the transcendent event of revelation to an immanent and epistemically inferior kind of knowledge based on the imagination rather than on reason. Spinoza misunderstands the prophets as legislators of particular laws that only have limited temporal and utilitarian value. Consequently, Spinoza misses the moral content of prophecy, which ought to serve as a normative standard for all of humanity. Like those who expelled Spinoza from the synagogue in Amsterdam, Cohen urges us to see Spinoza as a danger to Judaism. In this talk, I shall argue that Cohen misinterprets Spinoza on each of these points. I want to reconsider Spinoza’s account of prophecy and defend its relevance to modern Jewish thought. I shall argue that the imagination is what makes prophecy effective; that the emphasis on the political dimension of prophecy is what makes it relevant to the modern condition of the Jews; and that the prophets do provide a model of moral discourse that claims universality and puts Jews and Judaism in a productive conversation with other religious traditions.   

Michael A. Rosenthal holds the Grafstein Chair in Jewish Philosophy at the University of Toronto, with appointments in the Department of Philosophy and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies. He was formerly Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at the University of Washington at Seattle. His current research focus is Spinoza’s political philosophy and theory of the imagination. He is also interested in the reception of Spinoza in subsequent Jewish philosophy, including the work of Moses Mendelssohn and Hermann Cohen. He was recently a Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, where he gave the Martin Buber Lecture in Intellectual History and Philosophy.    
Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies | 763 Kaneff Tower, York University, 4700 Keele St, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3 Canada

Spinoza’s Political Psychology Workshop

Spinoza’s Political Psychology: A Workshop

University of Toronto

22 April 2017

Featuring Steven Nadler, Alan Nelson, Hasana Sharp, Justin Steinberg, Andrew Youpa

Organized by Karolina Hubner:

“Spinoza et ses amis” Workshop

Spinoza et ses amis:

A Workshop organized by the Spinoza Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’études sur Spinoza

Mc Gill University, Room LEA 927

June 17, 2016


Participants and affiliations:

Rodolfo Garau (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)

Syliane Malinowski-Charles (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)

Jon Miller (Queen’s University)

Andrea Sangiacomo (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

Hasana Sharp (McGill University)



Oberto Marrama (UQTR) and Torin Doppelt (Queen’s University)



9:40 – 10:00: Coffee and welcome

10:00 – 11:00: Rodolfo Garau: “Spinoza’s Theory of Self-Preservation in its Historical Context”

11:10 – 12:10: Andrea Sangiacomo: “A Spinozistic Approach to Relational Autonomy: The Case of Prostitution”

14:00 – 15:00: Syliane Malinowski-Charles: “On the Difference Between Consciousness and Idea Ideae in Spinoza”

15:10 – 16:10: Hasana Sharp: “Generosity as Freedom in Spinoza’s Ethics”

16:20 – 17:20: Jon Miller: “”Cosmopolitanism in Spinoza’s Ethics”


Quebec Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy

7th Quebec Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy / 7e Séminaire québécois en philosophie moderne

October 13-15, 2016 – Trois-Rivières, Quebec

Deadline for submissions: August 15, 2016

Anglophone keynote speaker: Donald Rutherford (University of California, San Diego)

Francophone keynote speaker: Mogens Laerke (ENS Lyon – CNRS)


Organizers: Syliane Malinowski-Charles (UQTR) and Rodolfo Garau (UQTR / Max Planck Institut Berlin)

Conference Website:

The Quebec seminar in early modern philosophy is a bilingual annual conference in the history of early modern philosophy (roughly, the period from Montaigne to Kant). Its specific aim is to foster the exchange of ideas among scholars of early modern philosophy from French and English language, particularly from Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Papers on any topic in the history of early modern philosophy are welcome for presentation at the Quebec Seminar. The reading time should be approximately 45 minutes. In addition, those having presented a paper at the Seminar will be able to publish their contribution (or another) in a new online journal dedicated to EMP, the Working Papers of the Quebec Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy:

Please submit an abstract of 500 to 750 words (1 to 1.5 page, single-spaced) no later than August 15, 2016 to Syliane Malinowski-Charles ( and Rodolfo Garau ( All proposals will be evaluated by an ad hoc committee.  Travel expenses are at participant’s charge.

NB: People submitting an abstract in English are expected to be able to follow the papers that will be presented in French (and reversely).

Spinoza Society of Canada meeting

First Meeting of the Spinoza Society of Canada: Current Debates and Ongoing Research

CPA Congress 2016, University of Calgary

Scurfield Hall, Room 268

June 1, 2016


Recent scholarly interest in Spinoza has been increasing in both volume and notoriety. As a result of this increased interest, we have founded the Canadian Spinoza Society to promote and connect Canadian English and French-language research and scholars with each other and the rest of the world. In this spirit, the symposium will present papers in both languages, from both Canadian and American scholars. These papers will cover topics in Spinoza’s ethics, method, metaphysics, physics, politics, and psychology, as well the interrelations between these domains, which are a key characteristic of Spinoza’s unique contribution to the history of philosophy, and which help highlight his continuing value today.


Participants and affiliations:

Ericka Tucker (Marquette University)

Karolina Hübner (University of Toronto)

Torin Doppelt (Queen’s University)

Alexandre Rouette (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)

Sarah Kizuk (Marquette University)

Oberto Marrama (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)



14:00 – 14:40: Ericka Tucker: Power and Freedom in Spinoza’s Democratic Theory

14:40 – 15:20: Karolina Hübner: Spinoza on Expression

15:30 – 16:00: Torin Doppelt: Spinoza’s Seemingly Absurd Love of God

16:00 – 16:30: Alexandre Rouette: Le concept de « corpora simplicissima » dans la physique spinoziste

16:30 – 17:00: Sarah Kizuk: Bodies in Spinoza’s Metaphysical Theory of Individuation: Fixed Movement and the Drive to Persevere in Being

17:00 – 17:30: Oberto Marrama: Common notions and common properties in Spinoza’s theory of knowledge

Please see attached document for full information: First Meeting of the Spinoza Society of Canada (Schedule)

Spinoza Society of Canada

There is a new Spinoza Society of Canada/Societe Canadienne d’etudes sur Spinoza. Further information is on their Facebook page.

Their first meeting takes place 1 June 2016 at the University of Calgary, and features contributions by Ericka Tucker, Karolina Hubner, Torin Doppelt, Sarah Kizuk, Oberto Marrama, and Alexandre Rouette.

For this and other events, see the Facebook page linked above.

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.