About Spinoza in Twenty-First-Century American and French Philosophy

Over recent decades, Spinoza scholarship has significantly developed in both France and the United States, shedding new light on the work of this major philosopher. Spinoza in Twenty-First-Century American and French Philosophy systematically unites for the first time American and French Spinoza specialists in conversation with each other, illustrating the fecundity of bringing together diverse approaches to the study of Early Modern philosophy.

Spinoza in Twenty-First-Century American and French Philosophy gives readers a unique opportunity to discover the most consequential and sophisticated aspects of American and French Spinoza research today. Featuring chapters by American scholars with French experts responding to these, the book is structured according to the themes of Spinoza's philosophy, including metaphysics, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy and political philosophy. The contributions consider the full range of Spinoza's philosophy, with chapters addressing not only the Ethics but his lesser-known early works and political works as well. Issues covered include Spinoza's views on substance and mode, his conception of number, his account of generosity as freedom, and many other topics.

Table of contents

About this Book
About the Authors
Abbreviations and Citations
General Introduction

1. Spinoza's Metaphysics Revisited, Edwin Curley (University of Michigan Ann Arbor, USA)
A Response: On Spinoza, Possible Worlds, and Pantheism, Pierre-François Moreau (ENS Lyon, France)

2. The Elusiveness of the One and the Many in Spinoza: Substance, Attribute, and Mode, Michael Della Rocca (Yale University, USA)
A Response: In What Way It Exists, Pascal Sévérac (Université Paris-Est Créteil, France)

3. The Earliest Draft of Spinoza's Ethics, Yitzhak Y. Melamed (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
A Response: Accidents and Modifications: An Additional Note on Axioms 1 and 2 in Appendix 1 of the Short Treatise, Mogens Lærke (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France)

4. Metaphysical Rationalism, Martin Lin (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA)
A Response: Leibniz's Principle of (Sufficient) Reason and Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles, Valérie Debuiche (Université d'Aix-Marseille, France)

5. The Transformation of Relations in Spinoza's Metaphysics, Simon B. Duffy (Yale-NUS College, Singapore)
A Response: Essence, Variations in Power, and “Becoming Other” in Spinoza, Céline Hervet (Université de Picardie Jules Verne, France)

6. Spinoza's Two Claims About the Mind-Body Relation, Alison Peterman (University of Rochester, USA)
A Response: A Puzzle in Spinoza's Views on the Mind-Body Problem, Jack Stetter (Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, France)

7. Spinoza's True Ideas: Suggestive Convergences, Knox Peden (Australian National University, Australia)
A Response: Althusser, Spinoza, and the Specter of the Cartesian Subject, Pascale Gillot (Université de Tours François Rabelais, France)

8. Spinoza on Beings of Reason [Entia Rationis] and the Analogical Imagination, Michael A. Rosenthal (University of Washington, USA)
A Response: Analogia and Ens Rationis, Jacqueline Lagrée (Université de Rennes, France)

9. Spinoza on Good and Bad, Steven Nadler (University of Wisconsin Madison, USA)
A Response: The Knowledge of Good and Bad, Lorenzo Vinciguerra (Université de Picardie Jules Verne, USA)

10. Generosity as Freedom in Spinoza's Ethics, Hasana Sharp (McGill University, Canada)
A Response: A Generous Reading, Ariel Suhamy (Collège de France, France)

11. Anthropomorphism, Teleology and Superstition: The Politics of Obedience in Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, Daniel Garber (Princeton University, USA)
A Response: Logic of the Pious, Logic of the Superstitious, Chantal Jaquet (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France)

12. Individual and Community and Its American Legacy, Steve Barbone (San Diego State University, USA)
A Response: Between Matheron and Spinoza, Something Happens…, Laurent Bove (Université de Picardie Jules Verne, France)

13. Spinoza's Formulation of the Radical Enlightenment's Two Foundational Concepts: How Much Did He Owe to the Dutch Golden Age Political-Theological Context?, Jonathan Israel (Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, USA)
A Response: Spinoza's Paradoxical Radicalism, Charles Ramond (Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, France)

Index Locorum
Index Nominum


“No early modern philosopher proves as vital today as Spinoza. He is an indispensable figure for contemporary philosophers working in very different traditions on very different questions. The papers brought together in this volume show, clearly and excitingly, why Spinoza continues to matter. Jack Stetter and Charles Ramond have, like Spinoza himself, deftly bridged the gap between different philosophical worlds to bring together the very best scholars of the present day who not only interpret Spinoza, but also live out his legacy. This is an eye-opening and a rare volume, whose contributions have the collective power to show us much about the meaning of Spinoza's contribution to philosophy in the broadest sense.” – Justin E. H. Smith, Professor of Philosophy, Paris Diderot University, France

“This is an extraordinary volume in both aim and execution. Designed to deepen the engagement between American and French approaches to Spinoza, it comprises thirteen essays by leading English-speaking scholars paired with probing responses by leading French-speaking scholars. The essays are rewardingly distributed across a broad range of important and fascinating topics in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and political philosophy. The contributions are of very high quality and consistently advance our understanding of the issues under discussion. It is essential reading for anyone who wants a better understanding of Spinoza's philosophy.” – Don Garrett, Silver Professor of Philosophy, New York University, USA