Jacob Perlow Series
 

Three lectures on Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)

His life, his philosophy, and the relation of both to Judaism

 

Spinoza’s ‘Atheism'

Yitzhak Y Melamed Headshot

A public lecture to be delivered by Yitzhak Y. Melamed Professor of Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University with an introduction by William Lewis Professor of Philosophy, Skidmore College

Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 7:30 PM
Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall • Free and open to the public

The charge of atheism was brought against Spinoza by both his Christian contemporaries, and many of his eighteenth century readers (such as, F.H. Jacobi). In our times, Spinoza became a cult figure in certain circles due to his alleged atheism. In my paper, I will argue that Spinoza deserves neither the praises nor the condemnations bestowed upon him, and that the view of Spinoza as an atheist relies on a narrow minded conception of the divine in anthropomorphic terms.

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One is the Loneliest Number: Monism in Spinoza

Michael Della Rocca headshot

A lecture to be delivered by Michael Della Rocca Professor of Philosophy, Yale University with an introduction by Larry M. Jorgensen Associate Professor of Philosophy, Skidmore College

Thursday, March 9, 2017, 7:30 PM
Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall • Free and open to the public

Is Spinoza a monist?  It might seem obvious that he is.  After all, he says explicitly that "there is only one substance", God or Nature. However, Spinoza also says on at least two occasions that God is not properly called "one."  How are such reservations about applying numerical notions to God compatible with Spinoza's alleged monism? I address this question by exploring some well-motivated and philosophically insightful intricacies in Spinoza's conception of number.

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 Friendship as Freedom in Spinoza

Hasana Sharp Headshot

A lecture by Hasana Sharp Associate Professor of Philosophy, McGill University with an introduction by William Lewis Professor of Philosophy, Skidmore College

Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 7:30 PM
Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall • Free and open to the public

It may be obvious that humans could not hope to be free without social support. A newborn could not live a day without a caregiver, no one could provide for herself without a social division of labor that satisfies our basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter, and we could not think well without the collective production of language and knowledge. What may be less obvious is that the power to produce social relations, or the capacity to make friends, is one of the greatest skills that human beings exercise. 

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About the Jacob Perlow Series: A generous grant from the estate of Jacob Perlow - an immigrant to the United States in the 1920s, a successful business man deeply interested in religion and philosophy, and a man who was committed to furthering Jewish education - supports annual lectures and presentations to the College and Capital District community on issues broadly related to Jews and Judaism.

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