Centre for Ethics and Humanism
Centrum voor Ethiek en Humanisme

Guest lecture: Winfried Schröder, ‘Spinozism in the Late Enlightenment: The Pantheism Controversy’ – 24 November 2016

October 4th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Events | News

Pantheism is the view that God is identical with the universe. The term, a composition of the Greek words πᾶν pān “all”/“the cosmos” and θεός theós “God”, was coined only in the late 17th century, but pantheistic views have a longstanding tradition going back to ancient and Renaissance philosophy. After the Irish freethinker John Toland  (Pantheisticon, 1720) advocated it in the early 18th century, it became a major current in the metaphysics of the Enlightenment and a heatedly discussed alternative to Christian theism. From the 1780s onwards Spinozism was usually labeled as ‘pantheism’.

The lecture will give special emphasis to the following topics: pantheism in the pre-Enlightenment philosophy; John Toland’s pantheism; Lessing and the ‘Pantheism Controversy’; the relationship of pantheism and atheism; the question whether Spinozism is correctly understood as pantheism.

When: Thursday 24 November 2016 – 16.00-18.00

Where: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussel, room D.2.15

Winfried Schröder is professor of philosophy at the Philipps-Universität Marburg. He is the author of Spinoza in der deutschen Frühaufklärung (1987) and a leading specialist on the clandestine philosophical literature of early modernity. He delivered a translation into German and critical edition of the Traité des trois imposteurs, Traktat über die drei Betrüger (1992). His Ursprünge des Atheismus (1998/2012) is a standard work and held to be the most authoritative treatment of the genre. He published i.a. Moralischer Nihilismus (2002/2005), Gestalten des Deismus (2010), Athen und Jerusalem. Die philosophische Kritik am Christentum in Antike und Neuzeit (2011), and Reading between the lines. Leo Strauss and the history of early modern philosophy (2015). Most recently he edited, with Sonja Lavaert, The Dutch Legacy. Radical Thinkers of the 17th Century and the Enlightenment (2016).

The lecture is free and open to all interested.

For more information, please contact: sonja.lavaert@vub.ac.be.