• Spinoza's Ethics: A Critical Guide (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2017.
    Spinoza's Ethics, published in 1677, is considered his greatest work and one of history's most influential philosophical treatises. This volume brings established scholars together with new voices to engage with the complex system of philosophy proposed by Spinoza in his masterpiece. Topics including identity, thought, free will, metaphysics, and reason are all addressed, as individual chapters investigate the key themes of the Ethics and combine to offer readers a fresh and thought-provoking vi…Read more
  •  137
    Teleology in Jewish Philosophy: Early Talmudists till Spinoza
    In Jeffrey McDonough (ed.), Teleology: A History, Oxford University Press. pp. 123-149. 2020.
    Medieval and early modern Jewish philosophers developed their thinking in conversation with various bodies of literature. The influence of ancient Greek – primarily Aristotle (and pseudo-Aristotle) – and Arabic sources was fundamental for the very constitution of medieval Jewish philosophical discourse. Toward the late Middle Ages Jewish philosophers also established a critical dialogue with Christian scholastics. Next to these philosophical corpora, Jewish philosophers drew significantly upon R…Read more
  •  19
    Nature and Necessity in Spinoza’s Philosophy
    Philosophical Review 129 (3): 469-473. 2020.
  •  81
    ‘Spinoza’s ‘Atheism’, the Ethics and the TTP
    In Spinoza: Reason, Religion, Politics: The Relation Between the Ethics and the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, . forthcoming.
    The impermanence of human affairs is a major theme in Spinoza’s discussions of political histories, and from our present-day perspective it is both intriguing and ironic to see how this very theme has played out in the evolving fate of Spinoza’s association with atheism. While Spinoza’s contemporaries charged him with atheism in order to impugn his philosophy (and sometimes his character), in our times many lay readers and some scholars portray Spinoza as an atheist in order to commemorate his …Read more
  •  61
    This is an Italian translation of Spinoza's Metaphysics: Substance and Thought (Oxford UP, 2013).
  •  153
    Spinoza on Causa Sui
    In Blackwell Companion to Spinoza, Blackwell. pp. 116-125. 2021.
    The very first line of Spinoza’s magnum opus, the Ethics, states the following surprising definition: By cause of itself I understand that whose essence involves existence, or that whose nature cannot be conceived except as existing [Per causam sui intelligo id, cujus essentia involvit existentiam, sive id, cujus natura non potest concipi, nisi existens]. As we shall shortly see, for many of Spinoza’s contemporaries and predecessors the very notion of causa sui was utterly absurd, akin to a Ba…Read more
  •  69
    Spinoza and the Election of the Hebrews
    In Michael A. Rosenthal (ed.), Spinoza & Modern Jewish Philosophy, Palgrave. forthcoming.
    Spinoza’s interpretation of the election of the Hebrews in the third chapter of the Theological Political Treatise enraged quite a few Jewish readers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The rise of nationalism, and the demand of loyalty to one’s own genos brought about a certain style of patriotic writing aimed at Spinoza’s “betrayal.” In a series of lectures on the eve of the Great War, Hermann Cohen portrayed Spinoza as a person of “demonic spirt” and as “the great enemy who emerged fro…Read more
  •  160
    Maimon’s ‘Law of Determinability’ and the Impossibility of Shared Attributes
    Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 109 49-62. 2021.
    Apart from his critique of Kant, Maimon’s significance for the history of philosophy lies in his crucial role in the rediscovery of Spinoza by the German Idealists. Specifically, Maimon initiated a change from the common eighteenth-century view of Spinoza as the great ‘atheist’ to the view of Spinoza as an ‘acosmist’, i.e., a thinker who propounded a deep, though unorthodox, religious view denying the reality of the world and taking God to be the only real being. I have discussed this aspect of…Read more
  •  150
    In his groundbreaking work of 1969, Spinoza's Metaphysics: An Essay in Interpretation, Edwin Curley attacked the traditional understanding of the substance-mode relation in Spinoza, which makes modes inhere in the substance. Curley argued that such an interpretation generates insurmountable problems, as had been already claimed by Pierre Bayle in his famous entry on Spinoza. Instead of having the modes inhere in the substance Curley suggested that the modes’ dependence upon the substance should…Read more
  •  324
    In the first part of this paper we will consider the likely extent of Spinoza’s exposure to Kabbalistic literature as he was growing up in Amsterdam. In the second part we will closely study several texts in which Spinoza seems to engage with Kabbalistic doctrines. In the third and final part we will study the role of the two crucial doctrines of emanation and pantheism (or panentheism), in Spinoza’s system and in the Kabbalistic literature.
  •  95
    Spinoza is a hardcore realist about the nature of human beings and their desires, ambitions, and delusions. But he is neither a misanthrope nor in the business of glorifying the notion of a primal and innocent non-human nature. As he writes: Let the Satirists laugh as much as they like at human affairs, let the Theologians curse them, let Melancholics praise as much as they can a life that is uncultivated and wild, let them disdain men and admire the lower animals. Men still find from experie…Read more
  •  453
    The Autobiography of Solomon Maimon
    with Solomon Maimon and Abraham Socher
    Princeton University Press. 2018.
  •  128
    Spinoza's Political Treatise: A Critical Guide (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2017.
    Spinoza's Political Treatise constitutes the very last stage in the development of his thought, as he left the manuscript incomplete at the time of his death in 1677. On several crucial issues - for example, the new conception of the 'free multitude' - the work goes well beyond his Theological Political Treatise, and arguably presents ideas that were not fully developed even in his Ethics. This volume of newly commissioned essays on the Political Treatise is the first collection in English to be…Read more
  •  215
    Does Eternity Have A Future?
    The Philosophers' Magazine 81 40-44. 2018.
    Metaphysics as an independent discipline has a surprisingly short history. Until the early eighteenth century, many, perhaps even most, writers on “metaphysics” primarily had the eponymous work of Aristotle in mind. In the writings of the early eighteenth-century German rationalists—Christian Wolff and Alexander Baumgarten—we find a conception of metaphysics that is no longer necessarily tied to Aristotle’s great work. But metaphysics as a discipline was not blessed with longevity, as a dozen ye…Read more
  •  10
    The Influence of Abraham Cohen de Herrera's Kabbalah on Spinoza's Metaphysics by Miquel Beltràn
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (3): 544-545. 2017.
    Addressing the alleged "great secrets" contained in Scripture, Spinoza wrote in the Theological Political Treatise : "I have also read, and for that matter, known personally, certain Kabbalistic triflers. I've never been able to be sufficiently amazed by their madness". Were these words Spinoza's only reference to the Kabbalah, we would hardly have any reason to believe that his attitude toward the Kabbalistic literature was anything but dismissive. However, in a 1675 letter to Henry Oldenburg, …Read more
  •  185
    _ Spinoza and Dutch Cartesianism: Philosophy and Theology _, by DouglasAlexander X.. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Pp. viii + 184.
  •  127
    ‘Substance’ (substantia, zelfstandigheid) is a key term of Spinoza’s philosophy. Like almost all of Spinoza’s philosophical vocabulary, Spinoza did not invent this term, which has a long history that can be traced back at least to Aristotle. Yet, Spinoza radicalized the traditional notion of substance and made a very powerful use of it by demonstrating – or at least attempting to demonstrate -- that there is only one, unique substance -- God (or Nature) -- and that all other things are merely mo…Read more
  •  15
    Inherence and the Immanent Cause in Spinoza
    The Leibniz Review 16 43-52. 2006.
  •  404
    Hegel, Spinoza, and McTaggart on the Reality of Time
    Internationales Jahrbuch des Deutschen Idealismus / International Yearbook of German Idealism 14 211-234. 2016.
    In this paper, I study one aspect of the philosophical encounter between Spinoza and Hegel: the question of the reality of time. The precise reconstruction of the debate will require a close examination of Spinoza's concept of tempus (time) and duratio (duration), and Hegel's understanding of these notions. Following a presentation of Hegel's perception of Spinoza as a modern Eleatic, who denies the reality of time, change and plurality, I turn, in the second part, to look closely at Spinoza's …Read more
  •  196
    The First Draft of Spinoza's Ethics
    In Charles Ramond and Jack Stetter (ed.), Spinoza in 21st-Century French and American Philosophy, Bloomsbury. pp. 93-112. 2019.
    The two manuscripts of the Korte Verhanedling that were discovered in the mid-nineteenth century contain two appendices. These appendices are even more enigmatic than the KV itself, and it is the first appendix that is the subject of this study. Unfortunately, there are very few studies of this text, and its precise nature seems to be still in question after more than a century and a half of scholarship. It is commonly assumed that the appendices were written after the body of the KV and I am…Read more
  •  521
    Cohen, Spinoza, and the Nature of Pantheism
    Jewish Studies Quarterly 171-180. 2018.
    The German text of Cohen’s Spinoza on State & Religion, Judaism & Christianity (Spinoza über Staat und Religion, Judentum und Christentum) first appeared in 1915 in the Jahrbuch für jüdische Geschichte und Literatur. Two years before, in the winter of 1913, Cohen taught a class and a seminar on Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums. This was Cohen’s first semester at the Hochschule, after retiring from more than thirty years of teaching at …Read more